Indians keeping eye on pitching market

The Indians’ rotation has been better than anticipated, but injuries and inconsistencies have again put Cleveland in a position where acquiring a starter is a talking point within the front office as the Trade Deadline nears.

In a column on Thursday, MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince broke down the Tribe’s rotation situation well, mentioning arms such as Yovani Gallardo, Jeff Samardzija and Bud Norris as potential targets. ESPN’s Buster Olney reported Friday that Cleveland was among those actively talking to the Cubs about right-hander Matt Garza.

Olney listed the Rangers, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Dodgers as other suitors for Garza, who is 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA in his past four starts and 4-1 with a 3.45 ERA (52 strikeouts, 18 walks, 57.1 innings) through nine outings this season for Chicago. Olney calls Garza the “belle of the ball” in this summer’s trade market.

Cleveland’s rotation — led by sinkerballer Justin Masterson — has been strong in stretches, but the group was still only 30-32 with a 4.48 ERA (11th in the American League) on the season, entering Friday’s game with the Tigers. The Indians are currently without starter Zach McAllister (right middle finger sprain) and Carlos Carrasco and Travor Bauer have each been wildly inconsistent as rotation fill-ins.

The rotation inconsistency has also put some strain on Cleveland’s bullpen, which has not been as solid in the late innings as in recent seasons. The Indians have experienced issues with its left-handed relief, and setup man Vinnie Pestano and closer Chris Perez have each dealt with injury, command and velocity problems at various points. It goes without saying that the Indians will likely be eyeing bullpen help as the Deadline nears, too.

–Jordan Bastian

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