Picky Indians seek top starter, have talked about Garza, Gallardo
Cleveland has depth but they could use a starter to go with ace Justin Masterson at the top of their rotation
It's no surprise the Indians would like to add a starter. The twist is that they are limiting themselves to a top-of-the-rotation type.
The Indians want someone to "pair with ace [All-Star] Justin Masterson'' is the way somone familiar with their thinking put it. If they don't find that special someone, they just might pass in light of the fact their rotation depth isn't a concern at the moment.
It would certainly be interesting in the increasingly unlikely event Cliff Lee became available to see whether his old friends in Cleveland might try to acquire him (the Indians have become bigger spenders, though $25 million a year still seems quite pricey for them). But for now, Garza and Gallardo are the Indians' main and only pitchers of interest.
To date, there's been a significant enough gap in negotiations with the Cubs on Garza and Brewers with Gallardo that nothing's close. The Cubs are seeking multiple good prospects back for Garza, not really a surprise in a sellers' market. And the Brewers, not acting anxious to trade Gallardo, not surprisingly are currently valueing him based on how he pitched in past years, not his inconsistent recent performance.
Garza and the Cubs have had some discussions now about a new contract, as was reported here Monday, but most outside executives seem to believe he still has a decent chance to be traded. If so, he's the top choice at the moment. Gallardo's stock has been hurt by his rough year, though he has another season to go on his deal (plus an option year after that), meaning he isn't just a rental.
The reason the Indians are being picky over the pitchers is their much improved rotation depth. Corey Kluber (6-5, 4.23) beat the Tigers recently, they're expecting the comebacking Scott Kazmir (4-4, 4.74) to be more consistent in the second half. Zach McAllister (4-5, 3.43) is expected back shortly after the break after being out with a sprained right middle finger.
The Indians also seek bullpen help, but things could change on all fronts depending on how the race looks. The to-date underachieving Tigers have a 3 1/2-game lead on Cleveland and are starting to heat up.
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