Antonetti: “We’re exploring all avenues”

The Indians have already pulled the trigger on a pair of low-level trades. Cleveland reeled in outfielder Chris Dickerson from the Pirates on in exchange for a player to be named or cash on Monday and acquired Minor League lefty Nick Maronde on Saturday.

Neither move was of the blockbuster variety, but that doesn’t mean the Indians aren’t looking to make a splash before the July 31 Trade Deadline.

“We’re exploring a lot of different things,” Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said on Sunday, “opportunities to improve our team for the balance of this season and then position us better moving forward, too. We’ve spent a lot of energy on fits for acquiring guys that we’d have control over beyond this year, not just guys that would just be here for the balance of the year.”

One aspect of the Indians that has been problematic through the first half, limiting the club to a .500 showing (47-47) to date, has been the starting pitching. Three of the teams Opening Day rotation members — Justin Masterson (15-day DL), righty Danny Salazar (Triple-A) and Carlos Carrasco (bullpen) — were not in the starting staff when the first half of the season ended for Cleveland.

The Indians are surely in the market for starting pitching help, but Antonetti’s not tipping his hand just yet.

“We’re exploring all avenues to improve,” said the GM. “The one thing we continue to believe is we have quality Major League starting pitchers. Any time you acquire a guy, you have to think about who it displaces from the team and the rotation, in that case. You have to have a high degree of confidence that it’s an improvement.”

Asked which area of the team he’s most like to improve, Antonetti replied: “It’s actually one of the interesting challenges that we have. I think there are teams out there that have glaring holes at particular spots, that it’s clear, ‘Hey, go out and get a right fielder, or go out and get a third baseman, or a shortstop.’

“I think with us, we’re in a little bit of a different position in that we’ve got guys in those roles that are capable of contributing. So, for us to improve, we need to improve upon a higher standard. And, in some cases, we’re counting on guys that we’ve already made commitments to rebounding.

“So, it’s a little bit of a different dynamic for us as we look to try to improve our roster.”

–Jordan Bastian

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