Indians GM seeking help for club as deadline nears
Indians general manager Chris Antonetti thinks the players likely to improve his third-place team already are on the roster.
Antonetti said Thursday he is involved in numerous talks to improve the club. He wouldn't categorize the Indians, four games out in the AL Central, as buyers or sellers as Tuesday's deadline approaches for trades without waivers.
''We're involved in a lot of discussions, which is typical for this time of year,'' Antonetti said. ''We want to improve, but continue to say that we have to play to our abilities. No one or two players we get are going to dictate our season. It is about the guys we have here.''
Not on the current roster but eligible to rejoin the Indians on Aug. 11 is right-hander Roberto Hernandez, their opening day starter in 2011. During the offseason it was discovered that Hernandez had been playing under the name of Fausto Carmona since signing with Cleveland in 2000. He was denied a visa to return to the United States until last week, then suspended three weeks by Major League Baseball.
Hernandez threw 66 pitches in his first rehab start at Class A Lake County on Thursday. He gave up six hits and three runs - one earned - over five innings. He struck out four without issuing a walk.
''We'll see how he does tonight and then again on Tuesday,'' Antonetti said before the game.
Hernandez went 19-8 in 2007 and a return to form would provide a boost. The right-hander has been inconsistent since then.
Antonetti said he considers a number of variables when talking trade, and fan reaction is on the list.
''We want the same thing the fans want and that is to win a World Series,'' he said.
A year ago, with Cleveland 2 1/2 games behind, Antonetti dealt four prospects for former NL All-Star pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. The GM said at the time that deal was not just for instant help, but for the future as Jimenez was already signed to a long-term contract.
This year, Antonetti said he is trying to construct a deal, perhaps not of that magnitude.
''It doesn't matter who we bring in, but the fact is that if (Travis) Hafner and Carlos (Santana) don't hit up to their capabilities, we're going to have some issues,'' manager Manny Acta said.
Santana, who led the team with 27 homers a year ago, is hitting .234 with seven homers. Hafner is at .230 and has hit only .196 in 16 games since returning July 3 after missing a month recovering from knee surgery. Overall, Hafner is hitting .129 (8 of 62) with runners in scoring position.
''We've talked about players on major league rosters, minor leaguers, top-level prospects and younger prospects lower down the line,'' Antonetti said. ''It is difficult to get all of the ingredients to align.''