MLB Trade Rumors: 9 Innings of Players the Cleveland Indians Should Pursue

John RozumCorrespondent IJune 3, 2011

MLB Trade Rumors: 9 Innings of Players the Cleveland Indians Should Pursue

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    Through 53 games, the Cleveland Indians own one of the best records in the majors at 33-20.

    For some, they have come as a blind surprise, but it's no secret now that the Tribe are AL favorites.

    That said, to really boost the ballclub, making a move or two before the trade deadline seems imperative.

    There's always room for improvement, so raising their play to the next level is crucial for a World Series run.

    Therefore, here are nine innings of players that they should pursue to enhance their chances.

    NOTE: All stats are current through Wednesday, June 1, 2011.

First Inning: Jim Thome, DH, Minnesota Twins

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    2011 SEASON STATISTICS

    BATTING AVERAGE: .237

    HOME RUNS: 4

    HITS: 18

    RBI: 12

    Despite having some pesky injuries thus far, Jim Thome is always a solid guy at the plate.

    And, after already bouncing around through the AL Central with Chicago and now Minnesota, why not taking a second go with the Tribe.

    Minnesota is struggling, Cleveland fans would love to have him back, and the Indians could use a veteran DH.

Second Inning: Vladimir Guerrero, DH, Baltimore Orioles

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    2011 SEASON STATISTICS

    BATTING AVERAGE: .289

    HOME RUNS: 5

    HITS: 61

    RBI: 23

    Personally, this is my favorite move because Vlad is my favorite player in the league.

    And he's also very consistent to boot.

    Much like Thome, Vladimir Guerrero is a seasoned vet, so adding him would only help the Tribe at DH with Travis Hafner currently down.

Third Inning: Michael Young: 3B/DH, Texas Rangers

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    2011 SEASON STATISTICS

    BATTING AVERAGE: .335

    HOME RUNS: 3

    HITS: 72

    RBI: 36

    The last DH on the list, Michael Young also can play third base.

    Also, the Rangers still may deal him since he costs so much, but they way he's playing right now, it may not happen.

    Nonetheless, if Cleveland can manage to bring in Mr. Young, it would only make them better.

Fourth Inning: Mark Buehrle, SP, Chicago White Sox

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    2011 SEASON STATISTICS

    RECORD: 4-4

    ERA: 3.91

    STRIKEOUTS: 35

    INNINGS: 73.2

    The Tribe does need another solid starting pitcher.

    Fausto Carmona has been struggling with a 3-6 record through 12 starts.

    Although it's unlikely since they're division rivals, but making a deal for Mark Buehrle would significantly help.

Fifth Inning: Scott Baker: SP, Minnesota Twins

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    2011 SEASON STATISTICS

    RECORD: 2-4

    ERA: 3.86

    STRIKEOUTS: 66

    INNINGS: 67.2

    Now, I know there was the aforementioned "division rivals" reason as to why Cleveland would have trouble dealing for the White Sox's Mark Buehrle.

    But, Minnesota has so many issues now with injuries and slumps, that 2011 is practically over for them.

    Therefore, they will be more willing to talk trades than Chicago.

    And, Scott Baker wouldn't be a bad addition to the Indians' rotation along with Justin Masterson and Josh Tomlin.

Sixth Inning: Anibal Sanchez: SP, Florida Marlins

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    2011 SEASON STATISTICS

    RECORD: 5-1

    ERA: 2.57

    STRIKEOUTS: 74

    INNINGS: 73.2

    For as great as Anibal Sanchez has been this season, the Marlins have already signed Ricky Nolasco and Josh Johnson to some pricey, long-term contracts.

    So, enter the Cleveland Indians and their need for another solid starting pitcher.

    Not to mention, this would (at the very least) slightly heal the 1997 World Series wound.

Seventh Inning: Jose Contreras, RP, Philadelphia Phillies

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    2011 SEASON STATISTICS

    SAVES/HOLDS: 5/2 

    ERA: 0.00

    STRIKEOUTS: 11

    INNINGS: 10.2

    Although Jose Contreras hasn't seen much playing time, the Phillies' starting rotation can be the reason.

    They rank first in the majors with 37 quality starts, third with a 3.21 ERA, and third with a 1.23 WHIP.

    Needless to say, the relievers aren't needed very much.

    Well, it certainly wouldn't hurt to add a seasoned vet like Contreras.

    The Tribe does have a solid bullpen, but he could only improve it, as well as provide an inning or two when needed. 

Eighth Inning: Taylor Buchholz, RP, New York Mets

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    2011 SEASON STATISTICS

    SAVES/HOLDS: 0/5

    ERA: 3.12

    STRIKEOUTS: 26

    INNINGS: 26.0

    The Mets have so much going on off the field that Taylor Buchholz being on a one-year contract is going overlooked.

    In addition, there's almost been trade speculation about David Wright.

    Well, it won't be a major acquisition, but if Cleveland pursues to grab Buchholz via trade, well, it could become a huge payoff.

    Combine the one strikeout per inning average with the 3.12 ERA, and he would do wonders for the Tribe.

Ninth Inning: Todd Coffey, RP, Washington Nationals

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    2011 SEASON STATISTICS

    SAVES/HOLDS: 0/1

    ERA: 1.69

    STRIKEOUTS: 21

    INNINGS: 21.1

    Since the Nationals have significantly improved this season, along with Todd Coffey being great on the mound, it's going to be that much harder to trade for him.

    However, he would make a solid impact for the Indians in the bullpen.

    A total of 21 strikeouts in 21 innings is worth noting, but that 1.69 ERA is outstanding.

    Vinny Pestano is the only Cleveland reliever with more strikeouts than Coffey, so adding him wouldn't be a bad idea.