Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 7/18/12
The Cleveland Indians are reminiscent of folks doing one of those line dances at a country bar. One step forward, two back, two sideways and another forward to end up at the exact same spot. Clap. Then start all over again. Following Tuesday nights loss to Tampa Bay another loss when a key hit could have meant a win they Indians are now 46-44 and four games behind the Chicago White Sox in the division. However, the Indians are not trending, as they say in the business, in a positive direction. Chicago is energized by a guy the Indians did not go after, and the Tigers finally are starting to look like the team they were supposed to be, winning eight of their last 10 and moving into the second wild card spot. The Indians are one-half game back, but when its a Cleveland team one-half seems like seven-and-a-half. In their last 10, the Indians are 5-5. Cue the pedal-steel guitar. Team president Mark Shapiro took to Twitter on Tuesday, assuring fans that the Indians are heavily engaged in trade talks, but then elaborated that the market has been slowed by the new compensation rules in free agency and the fact that 11 American League teams are above .500 and within two games of the wild card and eight National League teams are within three games. Evidently that slows the market. The Indians have some things going for them. Strong at center field, shortstop and second base. Shin-Soo Choo. Decent starting pitching. Good infield defense. Outstanding bullpen. Very good manager. But the glaring lack of a right-handed hitter who can drive in runs holds the Indians back. And makes you wonder a few things. Especially looking back. Yes, looking back is the easiest thing to do. Theres that 20-20 hindsight thing, and nobody knows all the details why things happened the way they did or didnt in the case of the Indians. Take Kevin Youkilis. The White Sox acquired Youkilis for a minor league pitcher and spare outfielder hitting below .200. In 18 games in Chicago, Youkilis has hit .319 with four home runs and 18 RBI. Hes slugging .551 and has an OPS of .963, which takes him back to his best years in Boston. In those 18 games, Chicago has gone 12-6 and extended the division lead Cleveland held the day before he was acquired from one-half game to 3 . Youkilis was not hitting that way in Boston, so there were many who were happy the Indians did not get him. But given how little Boston accepted for him, and given Boston agreed to pay 5.5 million of Youkilis 6.6 remaining salary, you have to wonder of the Indians: Why not? Why not try and see what happens? Especially because not only did the Indians not get Youkilis, their division rivals did. Then there is Carlos Beltran, who spurned the Indians offseason offer and decided to sign with St. Louis. The offer came after Beltran spurned the Indians attempts to trade for him at the deadline a year ago. If nothing, the Indians are persistent. In St. Louis, Beltran is hitting .290 with 20 home runs and 66 RBI. Which makes a person ask: Why couldnt he? Finally, Josh Willingham swings a pretty good bat in Minnesota. He has 22 home runs, 65 RBI and a .950 OPS. Hed look awful good in left field at Progressive Field. But he chose Minnesota as a free agent even because reportedly the Twins guaranteed three years and the Indians two. That word has never been confirmed, but the bottom line is Willingham is mashing while the Indians talk about Shelley Duncan reaching his potential. Its logical for Willingham to take the three years. Why wouldnt he? As for the Indians, maybe they offered three. Willinghams said the offers were similar. If the Indians didnt, why didnt they? Willingham is a guy who averaged 22 HR and 72 RBI the past six years. Shapiro tweeted something to a fan about a defensive fit not being ideal, but the bottom line is Willingham chose a last-place team over a possible contending team. Why did he? Perhaps the Indians are concerned with age. Willingham is 33, Beltran 35 and Youkilis 33. Not exactly spring chickens for a team building young. But thats a tough one to argue when an injury-prone Grady Sizemore is given 5 million or 2 million less than Willinghams third year might have cost. Some of this is baseball. Teams make decisions on guys and hope they work out. Some do, some dont. The Indians financial position means their margin for error is smaller and anything that doesnt work out is magnified. A year ago, manager Manny Acta promised the team was being aggressive at the deadline. Then word broke of the attempt to get Beltran, and the trade for Ubaldo Jimenez was completed. Acta and Shapiro promise the Indians are being aggressive this year. But they dont have the two first-round picks they traded a year ago, and the fact other high picks didnt work out (Trevor Crowe) might limit their ability to trade prospects. But at some point the Indians have to do something to jumpstart the offense. Waiting on Carols Santana isnt exactly working. How they figure it out could be fascinating. If they dont, theyll be cueing the pedal steel guitar all season long.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ohio State sets NFL Draft record; rundown of where every player ended up

Timeless Tim: NBA star says Spurs' Duncan could play until he's 90

NFL analyst Mel Kiper Jr's secret to longevity: Pumpkin pie

Carmelo Anthony not sure if he’ll play in 2016 Rio Olympics

Report: Ravens would have taken Tunsil if not for video

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Steve Kerr won’t rule out early Stephen Curry return

WATCH: Jaylon Smith finding out he's headed to the Cowboys

Bills take OSU QB Cardale Jones Saturday, ups Buckeyes count to 12

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush epically fails trying to call out Dwyane Wade

DeMarcus Cousins says his feet bother him more every year

Winners and losers: Day Two of the NFL Draft

WATCH: Brooks Orpik lays a high and late hit on Olli Maatta

WATCH: Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright gets drafted, loses mind

Manny Pacquiao is "alarmed" by terrorist kidnapping plot in Philippines

Luke Walton is playing by his own rules as Lakers new head coach

Paul Pierce says he’s ’50-50′ on retirement

Luke Walton: Lakers will not run the triangle offense

Dolphins think they know who dimed out Laremy Tunsil

NFL commish Goodell says "bring it on" to Draft boo birds in Chicago

Snapchat, BuzzFeed team up to deliver video highlights of Summer Games on social

A Trail of wise decisions led the Blazers past the Clippers

Okay, who stole the Kansas City Royals player off that billboard?

WATCH: Clippers guard Rivers returns to game after 11 stitches to eye

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Okay, who stole the Kansas City Royals player off that billboard?

Eight players to watch in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

A Round-By-Round Look At the NFL Draft

10 biggest takeaways from the NBA playoffs thus far

QUIZ: Name every No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft since 1985

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Sharks vs. Predators

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Blues vs. Stars

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Capitals vs. Penguins

10 bold predictions for the first round of the NFL Draft

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Lightning vs. Islanders

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker