Asked yesterday if he thinks the Indians need to make a move prior to the July 31 trade deadline, manager Manny Acta replied: “That’s an understatement.”
And that was before they lost to the Twins on a walk-off hit after taking a 1-0 lead into the ninth inning.
Here’s what Acta told Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
We know that from top to bottom. We’re working on it. People need to understand that it takes two to tango. You can have your Christmas list and your wishes, but you need someone else to engage with who is also going to work. It’s very easy to say go grab such and such. Go grab such and such. But they belong to somebody. It’s not like you’re going to a grocery store and grabbing something.
Shin-Soo Choo and Grady Sizemore are both on the disabled list, leaving the Indians short-handed in the outfield, and Hoynes reports that their “focus is on a middle-of-the-order right-handed hitter” and “they could use a starting pitcher as well.”
However, don’t expect the Indians to make any blockbuster deals. They’re contending a year or two sooner than expected, thanks largely to how pathetic the AL Central is right now, but Cleveland is highly unlikely to give up one of their top prospects to add veteran help.
If they’re willing to settle for a mid-rotation starter and a platoon bat, Acta and company should be able to find some dance partners.
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.
Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”
On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”
Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.
Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.