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Trade Rumors - Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Sammy Sosa

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The July 31st dealine is 16 days away, and the local papers are beginning to report more and more activity. The Cleveland Plain Dealer joins the action reporting this from GM Mark Shapiro:

I want to improve or reinforce the team.  If I had a choice to do one thing, it would probably be to add a reliever. But I will look to incrementally improve the team wherever I can."

With the news that top  left-handed relief prospect Tony Sipp just had ligament replacement surgeyr performed by Dr. James Andrews, the team will have to hope Adam Miller can be effective in middle relief and/or get into the bidding on relievers such as the Pirates' Salomon Torres, Texas Rangers Eric Gagne and Akinori Otsuka, one of the Astro Trio (Lidge, Wheeler, and Qualls) or a Kansas City bullpen arm like Dave Riske or closer Octavio Dotel.

As a matter of speculative fact, Detroit Free Press reports:

"One American League club executive indicated Thursday that the Cleveland Indians have had discussions with the Texas Rangers involving right-hander Akinori Otsuka..."

Within that same DFP article, it is reported that the Tigers kicked the tires on Gagne, Otsuka and lefty Craig Wilson, and the Rangers appear least likely to deal Wilson.  Wilson may be a speculative pick to close if Gagne and Otsuka were dealt.

Dallas Morning News reports that the Indians and Brewers have expressed interest in CF Kenny Lofton.  With the plethora of outfielders in Cleveland, I can not see Lofton as more than an opening to negotiate a reliever into a deal i.e.  "That's too much for Lofton, but we'd do it if you included Akinori Otsuka."  The DMN also speculates that Sammy Sosa could be dealt to open a spot for 4A OF/DH Jason Botts.  Given the need for a right-handed HR hitter in Minnesota and New York and Sosa's DH-level defensive ability, the article speculates on those two cities as possible destinations for Sosa.