Indians clubhouse unfazed as trade deadline approaches

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Justin Masterson (63) waits to be taken from the game during the seventh inning against the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field.

Ken Blaze/Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

CLEVELAND — Asdrubal Cabrera was trading jokes with Roberto Perez, Justin Masterson was discussing his next start and Terry Francona was on his usual even keel. If anyone in the Indians clubhouse was feeling stressed with the trade deadline two days away, they weren’t showing it.

"I’ve been on ballclubs where everyone takes a deep breath when the day is over whether it is good or bad," Francona said. "I don’t think there is a lot of uneasiness. What we need to be geared for is to play good baseball. If something happens, it happens. I don’t see a lot of nerves in there. If there was I would deal with it."

The Indians, who came into Tuesday’s game against the Mariners four games out of the Wild Card, are in need of upgrades to the rotation along with a right-handed bat that can provide some power.

But the Tribe could also be in a bit of a selling mode too. Asdrubal Cabrera and Justin Masterson are in the final year of their deals. Cabrera is the most likely to get dealt before Thursday with the Giants and Blue Jays being mentioned as the main suitors but speculation has also increased about Masterson, who isn’t likely to be activated off the disabled list until Friday.

Cabrera, who came into the game batting .249, is ranked second among American League shortstops in home runs (14) and fifth in RBI with 60. He is also tied in errors with 14.

Trading Cabrera would also present the Indians with an important decision — do you go the rest of the season platooning Mike Aviles and Jose Ramirez or do you call up Francisco Lindor, who was called up to Triple A Columbus last week?

"Even if you want to be a buyer it doesn’t mean you’re going to be because there are parameters in place for now and the future," Francona said. "Maybe a misperception is you have to have a veteran guy. One of the things that was appealing when I came here was the idea of helping younger players get better and compete. That’s something we don’t want to run away from."

Masterson, who is a disappointing 4-6 with a 5.51 ERA, figured that he would be part of trade rumors because of his contract status. The way the right-hander looks at it though is that most of the players in the clubhouse have been traded before, including him, and that he can’t control what happens.

"With the way things are many teams are still within it. It takes the management to figure out how we can be buyers and sellers at the same time," Masterson said. "What could we part with and what can we get that can help both now and in the future. It makes a difficult job all the more difficult."