Indians searching for outfield help

Cleveland’s need for outfield assistance is clear. On Thursday, center fielder Grady Sizemore underwent surgery to correct a sports hernia — an operation initially planned for the offseason — meaning he will be sidelined for four to six weeks.

Sizemore injured his right knee on Sunday (the same knee he hurt in May) and was going to probably need at least a month to recover. Under the circumstances, the Indians felt it made sense to tackle both issues — rest for the knee and surgery for the hernia — right now.

Unfortunately for the Tribe, that leaves the outfield short Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo (broken left thumb) until late August or early September, if their respective rehabs go well. Over the past two games, Cleveland was also missing Michael Brantley and Travis Buck due to health issues, exposing the club’s depth (or lack thereof).

Naturally, the Indians are being mentioned in a variety of trade rumors and reports for outfielders. Cleveland has been tied to outfielders such as Josh Willingham, Ryan Ludwick and Coco Crisp. Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera also would make sense as targets. Carlos Beltran and Hunter Pence seem unrealistic.

The Indians are open minded about pursuing a right-handed or left-handed bat, but the organization does not plan on parting with top core prospects for a perceived “rental” player. Such prospects that appear to be off limits include lefty Drew Pomeranz, righty Alex White, third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall and second baseman Jason Kipnis.

The outfield is the most glaring area of need, but the Indians have also explored available options to boost their rotation as well.

–Jordan Bastian

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