The Cleveland Indians’ chances for making the playoff this season are bleak. The Indians have lost 16 of their past 20 games to effectively end postseason hopes.
The Tribe are 11 1/2 games back in the AL Central and 10 games behind the wild card leaders (through Friday).
So, what’s next? The Indians can start to figure out how they’re going to contend in 2013. First, say goodbye to Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore. Re-signing either of the oft-injured, former star players would be a foolish move. Sure they might return to form some day, but hasn’t that been what the team has banked on for the past three-plus seasons?
Trading Shin-Soo Choo is an option. His agent is Scott Boras and the Tribe won’t be able to hold onto him — without paying above market value — after 2013 anyway, plus Choo could bring back a quality power bat or power arm in return.
Trading Chris Perez also is an option. The bullpen is the strength of this team and it’s the easiest thing to put together. With Vinnie Pestano, the Tribe have a ready-made closer in waiting. Perez could bring back new talent or some prospects to help re-stock the farm system.
The Indians have a decent core (Choo, Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis, Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana, Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Zach McAllister, Pestano and Perez), but there are still many unknowns.
Will Lonnie Chisenhall be the answer at third base? Can Casey Kotchman return to his 2011 form at first base? Will the front office make a move to add a substantial piece or two to the Indians’ core?
There still are more than 40 games left in this season, but Indians fans likely are more interested in next year’s team at this point.