3 Biggest Team Needs for the Cleveland Indians Before the MLB Trade Deadline
After a sluggish start to the year, the Cleveland Indians have surged over the past two months and find themselves in a good position to make another run at the postseason.
With a 50-38 record at the All-Star Break, the Tribe owns a slim 1.5-game lead for the second AL Wild Card spot. If Cleveland wants to actually clinch a Wild Card spot or even catch the first-place Minnesota Twins in the AL Central, the front office may have to make a couple moves at the deadline to make it happen.
With that in mind, here are the Indians' three biggest team needs before the july 31 MLB Trade Deadline.
The Indians have the best bullpen in the majors at the All-Star break (3.45 ERA, No. 1 in MLB), but improving what's probably the club's biggest strength would definitely be a move worth considering. The relief market at the deadline should be flush with talent and adding a high-leverage pitcher, like Will Smith or Sergio Romo, would give manager Terry Francona a strong bridge to closer Brad Hand and one more lethal option to utilize out of the pen.
2. Designated Hitter
The Indians' struggles at the plate this season have been well documented (.739 OPS, No. 20 in MLB) and if they want to make the postseason, adding a fresh bat should be a top priority at the deadline. While Cleveland owns a talented lineup that should rebound down the stretch, getting consistent production out of the designated hitter spot has been a struggle for the club this season. Adding a DH to slot into the heart of the Tribe's batting order like Justin Smoak, for example, could be just enough to solidify their postseason chances.
1. Starting Pitcher
The baseball world received devastating news that Carlos Carrasco has been diagnosed with leukemia. Not to make light of his battle with the terrible disease, but the Indians now find themselves in need of another starting pitcher if they want to keep their postseason hopes alive. Corey Kluber is expected to return some time after the All-Star break, but grabbing a cost-effective, high-upside rental like Zack Wheeler at the deadline should do enough to completely solidify Cleveland's rotation for the rest of the year.
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