Series Preview: Cleveland Indians @ Oakland Athletics


Indians Cash Out Before Heading to Oakland

Ladies and gentlemen, turn out the lights. The fat lady has sung. The party is over.

The Indians have officially begun trading off pieces parts in order to free up salary space and reload their farm system for the future. First it was David Murphy in a trade with the Angels. He was followed shortly thereafter by Brandon Moss. Moss is headed to St. Louis in exchange for the Cardinals’ third best prospect, lefty Rob Kaminsky.

While discouraging because the trades begin the process of waiving the white flag here in 2015, they do have some positives that must be taken into account. This is especially true of the Moss deal, which can best be described as highway robbery. The Indians have put themselves in a much better position to evaluate their younger talents while also setting up the possibility for a bigger better trade.

So, that begs the question. Are the Indians done making deals before Friday’s deadline?

Jul 5, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona (17) looks on from the dugout prior to playing the Pittsburgh Pirates in an inter-league game at PNC Park. The Pirates won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

I can maybe or maybe not confirm nor deny the possibility that the Indians are or aren’t talking to a handful of teams about any number of players on big league or minor league rosters.

Ok, moving on.

The Indians are on their way to Oakland to take on the Athletics in a four game weekend series. Please, try to contain your excitement. It’s not everyday you get to see a battle between two last place teams. I can’t think of a better way to spend four nights in late July/early August than by watching two teams that won’t factor into the playoff discussion.

Now, I can hear the arguments being raised as I type this – “The Indians are only six games back in the wild card standings.” “There are still two months left to go. That’s a lot of games.”

All true. All valid points. I’m not buying it. Not only that, I shouldn’t have to be OK with the idea that the Indians can get back into this thing if they can somehow “figure things out” and “go on a hot streak.” Great, I hope they do. I would love that. But I’m doubtful that it can or will happen. Not only that, there is a bigger issue here that I have yet to see addressed anywhere.


And here we are, on July 30th, trading away pieces that we thought would be major contributors in 2015…


No one should be OK with this. No one should be sitting back and rationalizing how we can get back into this thing. I’m sorry, I refuse to do it anymore. This was supposed to be the year in which the Indians made the leap. Instead, the Royals are flipping balls behind their backs and having fun running away with the central while we watch the Indians struggle with the most basic concepts and look like a clubhouse divided.

Fun times. Fun times indeed.

But, this is the card that we’ve been dealt as fans of the Indians. This is what we have grown accustom to over the years. We’ll get through this and come next spring we’ll be filled with a sense of optimism and excitement that only a new season can bring.

Meanwhile, the A’s have their own issues, different from those of the Indians, but issues nonetheless. The A’s are working on a total rebuild centered around their young stud ace, Sonny Gray. These are not the same A’s from seasons past, perennial playoff contenders full of assets acquired on the cheap. With any luck, and with the A’s there is a track record of this, they’ll be back in the middle of the playoff race in 2016.

In the meantime, they have struggled in 2015, much like the Indians. They have pitched well, ranking in the top 10 of nearly every important pitching stat. It is everything else that has caused them issues – an offense that at times struggles to score runs and defensive miscues, Sound familiar? The A’s come into this weekend’s series having lost six of their last eight games. So again, like the Indians, the past week has been a struggle for Oakland.

Can the Indians, who have played much better on the road than at home this year, put together another solid stretch of baseball? Like I said previously, it’s possible, but at this point does it really even matter? The 2015 Indians are a talented team, but they are also a broken team. If the goal from here on out really is to reshuffle the deck and better their odds for 2016, then do that to the fullest extent possible. Clear out space, get guys some much-needed experience, and see what happens moving forward.