Olney reported Wednesday that rival evaluators view the Indians as a sleeper team for high-end relievers, noting if the New York Yankees decide to move closer Aroldis Chapman or setup man Andrew Miller, Cleveland has three essential components to make a deal:
If the Yankees move either Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman, Indians are sleepers: Cleveland has motive, need, and prospects to make a deal.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 13, 2016
New York squeaked out a .500 record at the All-Star break, a reflection of the team's mediocre season so far. The Yankees aren't getting any younger -- first baseman Mark Teixeira, DH Alex Rodriguez, right fielder Carlos Beltran and starting pitcher CC Sabathia are all 35 years or older - -and might look to boost their farm system. AL Central-leading Cleveland, on the other hand, could use a late-inning left-handed reliever in its bullpen, Olney writes. Miller, 31, and Chapman, 28, are both southpaws.
ESPN's Jim Bowden wrote earlier this week that Indians prospect Clint Frazier could potentially be dealt at the trade deadline. Frazier, a center fielder, is batting .287 with 11 home runs and stolen bases and has 43 RBIs and a .853 OPS in 78 games with the Akron RubberDucks, Cleveland's Double-A affiliate, this season.
"Frazier would be difficult to part with because he profiles as a 20 home run, 20 stolen base talent," writes Bowden. "The only way [the Indians] include him in a deal is if the return puts them over the top."
Bowden also notes that the Indians could use another impact bat in their quest for their first AL Central title since 2007. Beltran was among the names Bowden mentions, along with Cincinnati's Jay Bruce and Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez.