CLEVELAND -- General manager Mark Shapiro still doesn't know if the Indians are buyers or sellers as the trade market rolls toward the middle of July and the end-of-the-month deadline for non-waiver deals draws nearer. Part of his uncertainty is the fact that so many teams are still in the playoff races, Shapiro said Friday before the Indians played the White Sox. Those teams seem to be looking for much the same thing: talent that can produce. "In 10 days, buyers can be sellers and sellers can be buyers," he said.
Those 10 days could be meaningful for the Indians and Shapiro, because in those 10 days either the ballclub will have stayed close in the Wild Card race or it will have dropped so far behind teams like the Twins, Rangers and the Yankees that the Indians have little or no chance to make the playoffs. In that case, the Tribe will likely become a seller, and it has one extremely marketable commodity in right-hander Kevin Millwood, a free agent after the '05 season. Right now, Shapiro's interested in improving the Indians, a team that's still in the thick of the Wild Card race. He said he's been doing a lot of talking with other organizations, but he's not going to make a deal, he said, simply for the public relations appeal that such a trade might have for the fans in Cleveland. But even players who have PR appeal aren't everywhere for the taking, he said. Teams, aside from organizations like the Royals, Devil Rays, Reds, Rockies and Giants, are gauging where they are in the pennant race before they jump into either the buyers' or sellers' category. In Shapiro's case, he can't just add anybody, though. He has to find a right-handed hitter -- it seems to be his No. 1 objective -- who can play right field, first base and, maybe, third base. "There's only a certain number of positions we can look at -- where we think an upgrade would make us a considerably better team on the field," he said. "But they have to be a clear separation in production and productivity from the guys we're currently playing." Congrats: The Center for Family and Children honored Cleveland Indians Charities at its Living Legends ceremonies Wednesday night at Morton's. More than 600 people attended the event, which raised money for the center. The annual event pays tribute to individuals or corporations that made significant impacts on the Greater Cleveland area through their philanthropic work. And Indians Charities has been a major player in contributing to various civic causes, including its $250,000 contribution to save baseball and softball in the city schools. Here's the question: Chad Ogea won the Bob Feller Award in 1992 and Steve Kline won it in 1994, but can you name the 1993 winner? (See answer below.) Quotable: "I hate 4 o'clock starts. The shadow from the stadium is covering home plate but the pitcher is standing in bright sunshine. It's hard enough to hit a ball that's coming at you at 95 mph. Imagine how tough it is when the ball is coming out of the sunlight and into a shadow." -- Omar Vizquel, in his autobiography "Omar!" Did you know: Baltimore was once the top farm club for the Indians from 1942 to 1948. The only city that has had a longer consecutive run as the Tribe's Triple-A affiliate is Buffalo. Under the knife: Double-A Akron right-hander J.D. Martin, the 35th overall selection in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, will undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Monday in Birmingham, Ala. "We reached a point where the decision was clear," Shapiro said. "He just had to make it." Martin, who was named an Eastern League All-Star this season, hasn't pitched since June 26. He was 3-1 with a 2.38 ERA in 10 games for the Aeros. This and that: Entering play Friday, the Indians own the fourth-lowest ERA in the American League at 3.79, which includes the lowest relief ERA (2.86) and seventh lowest starter ERA (4.24). ... The bullpen has saved 27 of its 37 save chances. ... Indians starters have pitched five or more innings in 74 of 89 games. ... In the last 59 games since May 9, Indians starting pitchers are 26-19 with a 3.78 ERA (368.2IP, 346H, 155ER) to lower their starter ERA from 5.22 to 4.24. ... The bullpen had an eight-game, 20 1/3-inning scoreless streak snapped July 6. ... Starters in their last 15 games: 6-8, 4.80 ERA. ... The Tribe is 27-1 when it scores six or more runs. ... The Tribe is 5-7 in July after a 17-10 record in June. Tribe tidbits: Tribe fans can buy tickets to home games through the Internet at www.indians.com, at the Jacobs Field box office, at the seven Cleveland Indians Team Shops in Northeast Ohio and through the Ticketmaster.com phone center (1-866-48-TRIBE). On this date: In 2000, the near-mint condition 1909 Honus Wagner card, which the American Tobacco Co. owned, sold for $1.1 million in an eBay online auction. The high bidder paid $1.265 million, including a 15 percent buyer's premium, for the 91-year-old card of the Hall of Fame shortstop. What about B.P.? Manager Eric Wedge said he won't be using infielder Brandon Phillips the way he'd used veteran Alex Cora, whom the Tribe traded last week to the Red Sox. Instead, Phillips will be getting tutoring on the Major League level that should help his development. "It's good for him to be up here and have that exposure," Wedge said. Phillips has appeared in two games and is hitless in four at-bats. And here's the answer: Right-hander John Carter won the award, which goes to the top pitcher in the Tribe's Minor League system. Unlike Ogea and Kline, Carter, now in the Community Relations Department with the Indians, never made it to the bigs. He hurt his arm, an injury that destroyed his career. On deck: Right-hander Jake Westbrook will take the mound Saturday afternoon for the Tribe. Westbrook will face White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle.
Justice B. Hill is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.