CLEVELAND — According to general manager Chris Antonetti, the Indians’ success this season hinges on the players in the clubhouse now — not the ones that may or may not be added at the trading deadline.
“We continue to feel we have a very talented roster that is capable of competing within our division,” Antonetti said. “The important thing for us is to play to our ability. We’ll continue to look for ways to add to it or supplement that group. But no one or two players that come in, whether that’s now or in the offseason. is going to dictate our success. It’s going to be about the guys that are here.”
Antonetti said the Indians are searching for potential trades and estimated that he has had discussions regarding 50 players from his organization and the same amount from other teams.
Thus far, he has been unable to strike a deal.
“It’s difficult to get all of the ingredients in a trade to align,” Antonetti said. “There’s a possibility that that happens over the next five days, but I wouldn’t say that’s a certainty.”
Cleveland is reportedly in search of a right-handed bat and starting pitching help. But Antonetti said the team has not zeroed in on a priority.
“I think there are a number of ways we can potentially improve our situation,” Antonetti said. “We’ll be flexible in how we go about it, because maybe with the exception of the back of the bullpen, I don’t think there’s one area that’s continued to excel consistently throughout the course of the season.”
Antonetti said he is cognizant of the reaction from Indians fans, who will most likely not be pleased if the Indians fail to make a substantial move by Tuesday’s deadline.
“That’s always a consideration,” Antonetti said. “We want the same thing the fans want and that’s to win a World Series. We need to figure out and make decisions that are consistent with that objective.”
Right-hander Roberto Hernandez made his rehab assignment debut Wednesday, allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits (one homer), while striking out four without a walk over five innings (66 pitches) for Class A Lake County.
Antonetti anticipated that Hernandez would need two or three more rehab starts before joining the Indians. His three-week MLB suspension ends Aug. 11.
Antonetti was asked if Hernandez’s impending return would affect the team’s strategy at the trading deadline.
“To some extent it factors in, but I think it’s still a little bit premature to weight that too heavily,” he said.
The Pirates reportedly had a scout at Thursday’s series finale with Detroit, presumably to check out Indians right fielder Shin-Soo Choo. Pittsburgh is in contention in the National League Central Division and is in search of offense.
Choo, who entered Thursday batting .294 with 12 home runs and 39 RBIs, is under Cleveland’s control through 2013, but he and the Indians have been unable to reach an agreement on a multi-year contract.
The Indians are on the road for the next six games, traveling to Minnesota and Kansas City for three-game series.
Josh Tomlin (5-7, 5.34 ERA) starts for Cleveland tonight (8:10) in the series opener against the Twins, while Minnesota counters with LHP Scott Diamond (8-4, 3.16).
Justin Masterson (7-8, 4.12) goes for the Indians on Saturday (7:10 p.m.) against RHP Samuel Deduno (1-0, 3.94), while Ubaldo Jimenez (8-9, 4.97) starts the series finale for Cleveland on Sunday (2:10 p.m.) against LHP Francisco Liriano (3-10, 5.31).
Reliever Cody Allen is just the sixth player in the history of the MLB Draft (1965-2012) to be selected in the 20th round or later to make his big league debut the following year. … The Indians entered Thursday having scored three runs in each of their last four games — the fourth time in franchise history that it has taken place. … Tonight, 8:10, STO/WTAM 1100-AM.
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.