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MLB Trade Deadline, Rumors & Roundup: Cleveland Indians Are Sellers Of Spare Parts

How the Indians got to where they are:

As of June 29, the Cleveland Indians have the third-worst record in baseball, and deservedly so. The team currently ranks 12th in the American League in OPS and 13th in ERA. They rank last in the American league in bullpen ERA (5.16) and Defensive Efficiency (.672). This team was supposed to be bad thanks to a depleted pitching staff, but things got much worse when they lost two of their best position players (Grady Sizemore and Asdrubal Cabrera) to major injuries in mid-May, and their replacements (Trevor Crowe and Luis Valbuena) were major steps down on offense and defense. 

Buyer or Seller?

For some teams this might be a difficult question to answer, but not for the Indians. They've been a potential seller since Opening Day, and will be looking to deal a numer of pending free agents. In fact, they've just made their first trade, dealing Russell Branyan to Seattle.

Who are they trying to trade?

With Branyan gone, I count four players that the Indians would think about moving before the trade deadline:

OF Austin Kearns

2010 Salary: $750K (Free Agent)

Kearns is almost a lock to be traded before the deadline. He's hitting well (.279/.359/.438), plays a good left field, could play center if necessary, and most important of all, isn't making much money. Contracts play a huge part in whether trades can get done, and this particular contract will be no hindrance at all in making a deal.

The other three have at least one obstacle in the way of a trade getting done.

RHP Jake Westbrook

2010 Salary: $11.0M (Free Agent)

Jake Westbrook was out for almost two years after having Tommy John surgery, and he's still not back to where he was before the elbow injury. Teams are going to balk at taking on the remainder of Westbrook's salary, and the Indians would actually like to keep him around past this season. Still, with starting pitching always at a premium on the trade market and Westbrook's good track record, there should be at least some interest as the deadline approaches.

RHP Kerry Wood

2010 Salary: $10.5M (2011 Club Option - $11M)

The 2011 option automatically triggers if Wood finishes 55 games this season, but that's not likely to happen; thanks to an early-season injury, he's only completed 14 games through June 27. The Indians will have to eat a large percentage of Wood's salary as a prerequisite in any trade discussion, but if Kerry doesn't get on a roll between now and the end of July, it won't matter.  The Indians would love to move him if they can, but I see him staying with the club until the end of the year.

3B Jhonny Peralta

2010 Salary: $4.6M (2011 Club Option - $7M)

I still don't have a read on what the Indians are going to do with Peralta. If Lonnie Chisenhall was a bit closer to being ready, they'd probably eat the rest of Peralta's salary this season. But Chisenhall isn't ready, so they'd have to go with Jared Goedert or Andy Marte for a season to bridge that gap. Peralta has raised his batting line steadily since his typically frigid April, but his power production is still well below what you'd expect of a third baseman. I think if the Indians get a decent return and the rest of Peralta's salary taken off their hands, they'll trade him. ..I think.

What do the Indians need in return?

Aside from catcher, the Indians could use young talent at any position. They could really use another young reliever or three, and at least another starter. Another outfield prospect with power potential would also be nice.