The Cleveland Indians are still in playoff contention even though the starting rotation has been destroyed by injuries this year.
That alone proves this group is a special one.
But the July 30 trade deadline is rapidly approaching and rumors will fly out until it finally passes and the dust settles.
A week ago, MLB insider Jon Heyman sent out an interesting tweet that had Indians fans talking.
New possible seller could boost pitching market. While the Indians try to thread a needle and compete, rivals say they are open to trading big leaguers. Could that include stars Civale, Plesac, Karinchak and even Bieber (tho IL stays for AC and SB may be a complicating factor)?
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 10, 2021
Now this tweet could easily be seen as misleading.
Heyman notes the Indians could trade players on the active roster, but he is just speculating about the big names.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into this.
Trading Young Pitchers Makes No Sense
It would be an absolute shock if the Indians traded any of their young pitchers who remain years away from free agency.
Shane Bieber is still tied for second in AL with 130 K's. That is how dominating he was, before the injury.
— Number 6 Is My QB (@KevinGillman) July 15, 2021
Obviously, this means the Indians could get some serious returns in any deal featuring one of the pitchers.
Yet that is true for any player with remaining years of team control.
The Indians have already traded away nearly an entire starting rotation in recent years and are in the perfect situation.
The team can chase a World Series title while barely shelling out any money to their best pitchers.
And if they want to offer a big extension to Jose Ramirez, or even Bieber, the money is there.
Players Who Could Be Traded
It is no surprise that the Indians could end up trading some big leaguers.
The front office is more likely to move players on expiring deals rather than foundational pieces who can keep the contention window open for years to come.
Someone like Rosario seems to fit the criteria Heyman is talking about.
So why would he bring up the idea of the Indians trading star pitchers?
It seems to be more about getting that tweet some engagement than any true knowledge the team is looking to make such a big move.
A Likely Selling Scenario
The Indians are in a spot where a few players could be traded away without derailing the team’s playoff hopes in the slightest.
If Rosario goes, someone like Nolan Jones could possibly step in and get some time.
There is also no shortage of outfielders ready to get a shot in a full-time role.
So it seems likely the team may make a move or two to cut some spending and give younger players more opportunities.
And ultimately, the team should only get better once Bieber and Civale return from their respective injuries.
Those additions outweigh any subtractions of the likely veterans to be moved.