The Cleveland Indians finished up a stellar first half atop the AL Central, where most people, including myself, did not expect them to be.
So far this season fans have had much to cheer about. Whether it be the starting rotation with Justin Masterson, Josh Tomlin and Carlos Carrasco. Or the Bullpen Mafia with the dominant arms of Pestano, Sipp, Smith and both Rafael and Chris Perez.
Bats have also come alive this year with breakthrough years for Michael Brantley and All-Star Asdrubal Cabrera. Plus the resurgence of Travis Hafner has been much appreciated.
The season has been full of ups, but the Indians are not quite where they need to be in order to stay legitimate contenders for the long run. They are still missing one more right-handed bat that can fill the void left when Shin-Soo Choo went down with a broken thumb.
A great place to start looking would be the Houston Astros. One man in particular that would make an immediate impact is Hunter Pence. Pence this year is batting .323 with 11 HRs and 60 RBI.
Pence would be able to come over and fit right into the center of the Indians lineup, adding and extra spark that could be the key to a successful playoff run.
The probability of this happening is slim. Pence may be a little too good and would cost the Indians more then they are willing to give up, also they could not compete with the resources of teams like Boston and Philadelphia.
Ryan Ludwick from the San Diego Padres is another name that was been swirling around. Ludwick this season is hitting a mere .242, but he does have 11 HRs and 55 RBI, so go along with it.
Ludwick would fit nicely into the middle of the order, around fifth sixth or seventh. He would also add another veteran presence to the young Indians lineup.
This is the more likely road the Indians will take. It would take one or two decent prospects, no one over the top like Kipnis or Pomeranz.
The starting rotation could still use one more man to help solidify the gaps left by the injured/ under-performing Fausto Carmona and Mitch Talbot.
On the pitching side of things Indians have two options. One is to test the water of the trade market and pursue a veteran starter. Or two, they could look within their farm system to try and add another arm.
Also the Indians could check into the Orioles Jeremy Guthrie. The Indians had him in the past, and it could be a time for the two to reunite. His stats though are not to appealing with a 4.45 ERA and a 3-13 record. But Guthrie has potential to help out the Indians.
Or, the Indians could look to bring up a guy like David Huff who has over a season worth of experience, and is tearing up Triple-A Columbus with a 3.86 ERA and an 8-3 record.
Down in Columbus you also have Zach McAllister with also an 8-3 record and a 2.97 ERA. Also Jeanmar Gomez having an outstanding year with a 9-3 record and a 2.40 ERA.
Indians have plenty of options to consider in order to intensify their playoff push. Roll Tribe!