The Indians went a long way to fixing their bullpen issues with the addition of two-time All-Star closer Brad Hand and low-arming right-hander Adam Cimber, but they weren’t able to make the big splash in the outfield many were hoping for prior to the Aug. 1 trade deadline.
The Indians did make a pair of trades on the deadline’s final day, adding defensive-minded center fielder Leonys Martin and minor-league pitcher Kyle Dowdy from Detroit, and outfield prospect Oscar Mercado from St. Louis. But they weren’t able to land some of the big names they were linked to in rumors, which included Baltimore’s Adam Jones, San Francisco’s Andrew McCutcheon and even one of baseball’s most high-profile stars, Washington’s Bryce Harper.
Martin is top-shelf in center and will help shore up a position that has lagged in the defensive department since Bradley Zimmer was demoted to the minors and lost to a season-ending injury, but he’s not helping at the plate.
The Indians are likely to see the return of reliever Andrew Miller, who is nearing the end of his rehab assignment. Miller has only appeared in 17 games this season and has been sidelined since May 25, but if he returns to form, his addition gives Cleveland one of the American League’s best bullpens.
Third baseman Jose Ramirez strengthened his MVP bid with a selection as AL Player of the Month for July on Thursday.
On the field, the Indians dropped the opener of a three-game series against the second-place Twins on Monday before bouncing back to win the next two to boost their lead in the Central Division to 10 games through Thursday.
Cleveland takes on Minnesota again in a four-game series at Progressive Field that follows a three-game set against the Angels that opened on Friday night.