With the trade deadline and mid-season mark fast approaching, the Indians have already traded one veteran in Russell Branyan. Branyan was signed in the off-season after hitting .251 and career high 31 home runs last season.

The departure of Branyan makes way for prospect Matt Laporta.

Laporta started the season with the tribe but was optioned to Triple-A Columbus on June 7th. Laporta was sent back to the minors to be ensured everyday at bats that he wasn’t getting in Cleveland because of Branyan and the emergence of Austin Kearns. After going back to  Triple-A, Laporta hit .353 with five home runs and 16 RBIs so the Indians knew it was time for Laporta to start in the big leagues.

Austin Kearns is another player on the list of veterans the Indians are shopping. Also on that list are closer Kerry Wood, Jake Westbrook and Johnny Peralta.

After trading away Cy Young award winners Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia along with catcher Victor Martinez in previous years, the Indians have complied and array of young talent. The top prospect, Carlos Santana, was brought up on June 11th and is batting an impressive .281 and has recorded five home runs through July 8th, while catching for the Tribe.

With Santana and Laporta taking up first base and catcher positions, what other young players do the Indians have to pair with veteran talent Asdrubal Cabrera, Grady Sizemore and Shin Soo Choo?

Coming over from the Philadelphia Phillies in the Cliff Lee trade, second baseman Jason Donald is getting his first taste of the big leagues with the tribe. Donald is best known as the guy who was safe in the well documented one-hitter against Armando Galarraga. After being promoted from Triple-A on May 18th Donald hit .254 with two home runs and 10 RBIs before going down with an injury on June 25th in Cincinnati.

Next to be promoted will probably be outfielder Michael Brantley who, along with Laporta, started the year with the Indians but was demoted. Much like Laporta, Brantley needed every day at-bats that he wasn’t getting in Cleveland. Most likely waiting for the trade of Austin Kearns, Brantley is hitting .310 in Triple-A Columbus.

But how does this help the pitching situation?

The Indians starting rotation has a combined record of 24-30, not including David Huff who was recently demoted.

While the Indians have relied on trades to compile offensive talent, they have turned to the draft to focus on pitching.

In 2009, the Indians selected Alex White from North Carolina 15th overall. Now in his second year in the minors, White has a record of 4-7 with an E.R.A of 2.34 in fifteen starts. After a dreadful 2009 season the Indians had a top five pick and selected Drew Pomeranz out of Ole Miss. Drew played two seasons at Ole Miss and, in his last year, he started sixteen times and went 9-2 with 2.24 E.R.A.

If these draft choices mature into their potential, along with Triple-A starters Carlos Carrasco and Hector Rondon, the Indians could have a very promising rotation. And if Santana, Laporta and Brantley blend with veteran talent Choo, Sizemore, Cabrera and Hafner, the Indians could have a bright future ahead. 

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