CLEVELAND -- The Indians are being aggressive on the trade front in their search for offensive help. Evidence of their efforts exists in the club's failed attempt to reel in Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran.
On Wednesday, a source confirmed that the Tribe informed the Mets that it was willing to offer a good player -- likely within a package of prospects -- and to assume the remainder of Beltran's contract in order to acquire the outfielder. The talks never reached the point of discussing which players from Cleveland's system were available.
In a lengthy discussion with reporters at Progressive Field on Tuesday, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti made it clear that the team is keeping an open mind when it comes to trade conversations.
"I'm confident we'll do everything we can to make a deal," Antonetti said. "We are willing to trade good players, and we're willing to take on salary to improve the team."
The issue in the case of Beltran was his full no-trade clause.
Beltran has the right to block any trade, and the Mets informed the Indians that they were not on the outfielder's wish list. The possibility of going to Cleveland was never formally presented to Beltran. As of Wednesday afternoon, multiple reports indicated that the Mets and Giants were on the verge of a swap that would send Beltran to the reigning World Series champions.
Beltran is under contract for $18.5 million this season and will be eligible for free agency at the end of the year. It is highly unlikely that the Indians were willing to part with one of their top four prospects -- Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis -- in a potential deal for the outfielder.
"To trade our best players that have multiple years of control, it would have to be a compelling deal," Antonetti said. "It would be difficult for me to see us trading a very select few of our best young players for a player that would only be here for two months."
On Wednesday, Angels right-hander Ervin Santana threw a no-hitter in dealing the Indians a 3-1 defeat at Progressive Field. Over the Tribe's past five games, the club's offense has managed only seven runs. It has become increasingly clear that Cleveland needs offensive assistance.
With Wednesday's loss, the Indians remained two games behind the first-place Tigers in the American League Central standings. Despite working with a modest payroll, improved attendance, among other factors, has given Cleveland a little more financial breathing room, as it plans for the rest of this season and next year.
With outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Grady Sizemore currently sidelined with health issues, the Indians' top priority is to add an outfielder before Sunday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline. Cleveland has been linked to the likes of B.J. Upton, Coco Crisp and Ryan Ludwick, among others.
Choo, who had his left thumb broken by a pitch on June 24, said on Wednesday that his personal goal is to be able to return in time for the Aug. 16-18 road series against the White Sox. The right fielder has been playing catch from a distance of 90 feet and is scheduled to begin hitting baseballs off a tee on Thursday.
Sizemore, meanwhile, could be sidelined until late August or early September after undergoing sports hernia surgery on Thursday. The center fielder has also battled a right knee injury since May.
"I'm hopeful that Grady and Choo will make an impact before this season is over," Antonetti said.
Beyond offense, Cleveland is also in the market for rotation help.
The Tribe has been tied to Hiroki Kuroda and Aaron Harang in trade reports.
"We're not closed-minded," Antonetti said. "The area of focus is probably our offense, but we would certainly be open-minded to any way we can improve the team. Specifically to that point, we've had a number of conversations about how we can potentially improve our pitching."