With the trade deadline less than two weeks away, AL Central teams are mentioned among potential dealers more than in normal years. Here’s what each team is reported to be considering:
Indians: The most interesting case of buyer-or-seller, Cleveland has a starting rotation that could keep it in the race. But should President Mark Shapiro decide to dismantle some pieces, first baseman Carlos Santana, owed just $8.25 million next season with a team option for $12 million in 2017, could be attractive to offense-starved teams. The Indians presumably would love to unload Nick Swisher’s contract, too.
Royals: A rent-a-player scenario might be attractive, a cheap way to acquire a starting pitcher who could be a critical player in the postseason. Johnny Cueto of Cincinnati is the most rumored name, but they would have to consider any upcoming free agents such as Scott Kazmir, Kyle Lohse or Ian Kennedy. Class AA shortstop Raul Mondesi gives them a potential trade chip.
Tigers: Normally, a .500 team at the break, with big-name free agents like David Price and Yoenis Cespedes on the roster, would be considered a likely seller. But that hasn’t been the case in Detroit for a while; 85-year-old owner Mike Ilitch has made it clear he wants to win a title and has no patience for rebuilding. So don’t be surprised if the Tigers check in on starting pitchers and setup arms for the bullpen.
White Sox: Jeff Samardzija was supposed to help make them a contender this year; instead, the righthanded starter might be the first salary dumped, especially if a contender helps them restock their farm system. The worst season of Alexei Ramirez’s career (.226 and only three homers) is sapping his value, but he’s available. And they might need to make a trade to resolve their Jose Abreu-Adam LaRoche logjam at first base.