Chris Antonetti: Indians willing to deal
CLEVELAND -- After two years of 90-plus losses, Cleveland Indians general manager Chris Antonetti is willing to do what he can to keep his surprising team in pennant contention.
For the right return, he's willing to deal any player in the Indians organization to help Cleveland win now.
"It would have to be a compelling deal to trade one of our very select prospects," Antonetti said Tuesday. "Our philosophy is to take advantage of every opportunity we have to get to the postseason and advance. But you have to be mindful of the cost of doing that."
One game behind first-place Detroit in the AL Central entering Tuesday night's game against the Los Angeles Angels, Antonetti coyly said he has held discussions with multiple teams and has more than a few offers on the table.
"From 1 to 1,000," he said.
Now, he needs to narrow it to a team willing to make what both deem an equitable trade by Sunday's 4 p.m. non-waiver deadline. It won't be for a lack of effort on Cleveland's part.
"I'm confident we'll do everything we can to make a deal," said Antonetti, who would like to beef up an injury-depleted offense or even supplement a strong pitching staff.
"Whether that results in making a trade is difficult to say. It takes two parties. Despite our best efforts at this point, we haven't been able to do anything."
Antonetti is already disappointed he couldn't get replacements to keep Cleveland from falling out of first place after holding a seven-game lead on May 22.
"Our preference would have been to do something a few weeks ago," he said. "We can't dictate the timetable. Hopefully, over the next day or two some dominoes start to fall and that opens up the market."
Antonetti believes that with so many teams still in contention, clubs with players that are coveted are naturally holding out for the best deal they can find. He knows the drill. Since winning the AL Central in 2007, the Indians have been midseason sellers, unloading high-priced veterans for prospects.
"I'd rather be on this side, bringing in players to win," he said. "But that's why we made those trades. Some of those players have helped us to get to this point."
In 2008, the Indians dealt Cy Young winner CC Sabathia to Milwaukee for four players. The next year, Cliff Lee took his Cy Young trophy to Philadelphia in a six-player blockbuster and All-Star catcher Victor Martinez was sent to Boston for three pitchers. Last year, veterans Jake Westbrook, Austin Kearns and Kerry Wood were among those dealt away.
Antonetti, who succeeded Indians president Mark Shapiro as GM this year, won't rule out adding to one of the game's lowest payrolls.
"We're willing to take on salaries," he said. "We are prepared to do what we can, to do what's reasonable. We can't be limited in our focus to the next 2½ months. If you make a foolish decision now, it could be one you regret for multiple years."
Antonetti is hopeful that injured outfielders Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo will return to add some punch to the lineup down the stretch. Manager Manny Acta's plucky group, which won 11 home games in its last at-bat, could use a hitter much sooner.
"It's hard to say anything is imminent," Antonetti said. "The intensity of the conversation has picked up. The level of specificity has also picked up over the last two days. It's gone from a wide general net to focusing on trying to get something done."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press