We'll start with the most unlikely trade target of the group, David Price. The Indians need help in the rotation, desperately. What bigger way is there to fix the rotation than to add Price?
Despite what his 3.42 ERA might tell you, the 28-year-old is having one of the best seasons of his career. Over 19 starts, Price's stat line includes a 1.09 WHIP and season averages of 10.2 K/9, 1.3 BB/9, 7.95 K/BB and 8.5 H/9.
Price made the All-Star team for the fourth time this season and has been one of the American League's best pitchers through the first half of the year. Price is an unlikely target for the most obvious of reasons—he's expensive.
The seven-year-veteran is under club control next year, but his salary is sure to take a substantial hike through arbitration. After that, the Indians would have to shift their focus toward signing Price to a massive multiyear deal.
Maybe, just maybe, the money could be there though if they decide to let the struggling Justin Masterson walk in free agency, though.
The Indians lack of bench depth is deplorable. One way they could look to address that is through the addition of Kansas Royals outfielder Norichika Aoki.
The Royals are one team that is in grave need of a right fielder—Michael Cuddyer or Josh Willingham, maybe—and Aoki, or even Jarrod Dyson could become expendable.
Aoki looks to be the most likely trade candidate. Dyson is a home-grown talent and is outproducing Aoki by a slight margin. A contending, savvy team like Kansas City isn't likely to give up a player like Dyson, but Aoki could be a nice consolation prize.
Though he's currently on the 15-day disabled list, Aoki is on a rehab assignment and should be expected back in the very near future.
Aoki isn't lighting the world on fire, but neither are any of the Indians' bench options. Aoki would be a great fourth outfielder for the Tribe.
With names like Price, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee floating around the rumor mill, A.J. Burnett isn't the sexiest option on the open market. However, when you're unwilling to give up top prospects, this is the kind of pitcher you're relegated to chasing.
That sounds like a knock on Burnett, but it's not. The 37-year-old is having a decent season, but he's not in the same class as the three names mentioned above.
In any event, the 16-year veteran would surely be an upgrade for the Indians. Over 19 starts, Burnett boasts a 3.92 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP, with season averages of 7.4 K/9, 3.8 BB/9 and 1.92 K/BB.
Through his 19 starts, Burnett carries a 1.1 WAR, per Baseball-Reference, higher than every Indians starter not named Corey Kluber.
Another option for the bench is Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra. Parra, like Aoki, hasn't been spectacular, but he's been serviceable and would be more than enough for the Indians in a fourth-outfielder role.
Through 90 games played, the 27-year-old carries a .252/.302/.352 batting line, 23 extra-base hits—five home runs—25 RBI, 45 runs scored, five stolen bases and a 64:23 K/BB ratio.
Parra is a two-time Gold Glove Award winner and would provide the Indians with a decent bat, as well as a top-flight defensive replacement capable of playing all three outfield positions.
Even better, Parra is under club control through the 2015 season. When he finally does hit the free-agent market in the 2015-16 offseason, Parra will be just 29 and easily re-signed to play right field after David Murphy's contract runs out.
Wouldn't it be ironic if the pitcher that netted one of the more lopsided trade packages in recent memory returned to the club who traded him? Wouldn't it be even more ironic if he then helped that team make back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since he carried the starting rotation 15 years prior?
Well, the Indians could theoretically do all of that by grabbing Bartolo Colon from the floundering New York Mets.
The 41-year-old continues to defy age, pitching to a 3.99 ERA in his 17th season of play. In addition to his improving ERA—2.74 ERA over his last 10 starts—Colon boasts season averages of 6.6 K/9, 1.3 BB/9 and 5.24 K/BB with a 1.18 WHIP through 121.2 innings pitched.
Colon has been better of late, and his 3.99 ERA should be looked at more as the result of some early-season struggles, as opposed to an overall indictment of his abilities.