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.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Budweiser: Peyton Manning not paid for Super Bowl beer plug

Archie Manning: 'I think Peyton's done in Denver'

Donald Trump: I told Tom Brady not to endorse me for President

Marshawn Lynch: Complicated and talented NFL anti-hero

Hue Jackson lets Manziel and ex know they aren’t alone

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher


Tyronn Lue faces backlash for Cavs record since Blatt’s firing

Report: LeSean McCoy assaulted off duty Philly police officers

John Elway was right, the Broncos didn’t need a Plan B

Canadiens and Sharks starting to gauge trade market

Danny Trevathan: Broncos defense better than ’85 Bears

Top 10 takeaways from Super Bowl 50

Lisa Ann wants to reward Emmanuel Sanders for Super Bowl win

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

Nine best and worst players from 2015 NFL playoffs

Rodman wants Phil Jackson to know he’s ready to coach Knicks

Wade Phillips trolls Cam Newton with dabbing tweet

Top defensive performances in Super Bowl history

FBI questions Jeremy Shockey about drug and gambling ring

Coldplay drummer thought Johnny Football was real name

Ranking every game from 2015 NFL Playoffs

PHOTO: Panthers LB shows gruesome arm injury after SB

Patriots, Panthers early Super Bowl 51 favorites

Von Miller trolls Cam Newton, Panthers

Cam Newton proves again he is a great winner and terrible loser

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.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker