By Sheldon Ocker
Beacon Journal sports writer
CLEVELAND: Nothing Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti said Friday indicated that he was optimistic about making a deal before the July 31 trading deadline.
“I think we will try,” he said. “Part of my responsibilities are to try and work to improve this team. … I’m neither optimistic nor pessimistic. If we can make the right deal, we’ll make it.”
One impediment to consummating a trade is that because of the extra wild-card team in each league, more clubs feel they have a chance to qualify for the postseason. Consequently, they aren’t willing to part with their players.
“That definitely has had an impact, at least in our view,” Antonetti said. “There are 24 or 25 teams that want to hold onto their players.”
That leaves only four or five clubs that are willing to deal. That might not be enough.
Antonetti feels that it might be easier to make a trade in August, even though players dealt during that month are required to clear waivers.
“I think August is another opportunity,” he said. “It might be a better opportunity, because teams will begin to separate by then.”
Antonetti didn’t seem frustrated by the state of the trading market, though there’s no doubt the Tribe could benefit by the addition of one or two players, the right players.
Mentioning the bullpen, he said, “We haven’t been as consistent as I would like.”
Antonetti talked about the lack of a reliable left-hander, but with closer Chris Perez and setup man Vinnie Pestano both having meltdown moments, acquiring a back-end reliever as insurance might be the club’s biggest need.
The rotation has become much less of a concern the past several weeks, complicating the case for making a trade for a starter.
“Which guy would come out of the rotation if we acquired a starter?” Antonetti said. “That would be a tough question.”
It’s doubtful that the Indians would trade away any of their prime prospects, including Francisco Lindor, who was promoted from Single-A Carolina to the Double-A Aeros two weeks ago and who might be a candidate to make the big-league club next spring.
Antonetti stressed that not all is lost if the Tribe does not obtain a player before the trading deadline.
“I feel good about the group of guys we have,” he said.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.