Kluber after Indians' trades: 'It's not over yet'
OAKLAND -- Corey Kluber was not ready to concede this season for the Indians. Sitting at his locker inside the visitors' clubhouse at the Coliseum before Thursday's 3-1 win, the leader of Cleveland's rotation shrugged off the trades made by the team's front office over the past few days.
The way Kluber saw it, there was no correllation between the transactions and the way the team should approach the final two months of the current campaign.
"I don't think that it means that we've given up on this year," said Kluber, who won the American League Cy Young Award last year. "I think it means that [general manager Chris Antonetti] saw an opportunity that he thought would make the team better in the future, and he took it.
"Yeah, things haven't gone they way we've wanted them to so far, but I don't think just because we traded a couple guys away that it means we've given up on this year."
Early Thursday morning, the Indians dealt slugger Brandon Moss to the Cardinals for 20-year-old pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky. Two days earlier, Cleveland sent outfielder David Murphy to the Angels in exchange for Double-A shortstop Eric Stamets. Both moves showed that Antonetti and the Tribe's decision-makers already have an eye on 2016 and beyond.
The remainder of the second half will now be used as an evaluation period for some of Cleveland's younger players.
"We want to make sure that we learn something about ourselves in the second half," Antonetti said on Thursday. "We have to look at it as an opportunity for us to go into the offseason and next year in a better position."
Kluber is not concerning himself with next year quite yet.
"It's not over yet. We're not eliminated from anything," Kluber said. "So, I think while the front office does their job, we can't really worry about anything but the 25 guys in here trying to come each day and win that [day's] game. Hopefully, we can win enough of them that we get to play in the postseason."
Kluber was quick to point to last July, when the Indians traded starter Justin Masterson to the Cardinals and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to the Nationals, and still found a way to contend until the final weekend of the regular season.
"If you look at last year, we traded our Opening Day starter and our starting shortstop, and it wasn't like the ship crashed after that," Kluber said. "It depends on how you want to look at it. There's always going to be something that's an uphill climb in a season -- whether it's injuries or this or that. I don't think any team goes through a season with 100-percent smooth sailing. I think it's what you make of it."
Indians manager Terry Francona said, while the goal from here on out remained to try to win as many games as possible, the organization needed to proceed with an eye toward the future, too.
"We have to be realistic. We played ourselves into this situation," Francona said. "Again, when the game starts, nothing changes. You don't ever sacrifice trying to win a game. I don't think anybody here doesn't want to get hot. But, Chris and his guys have a responsibility to look out for the organization. They're kind of the caretaker. Our responsibility is on the field and, to this point, we haven't done a very good job.
"We have work to do, but we have young pitching and we have a core of young players that we really like. And, we need to do better on the field. I know Chris is trying to do his part. I think the idea is not to get too caught up in what is happening and just play the game, because when we play the game right, and we play the game well, things usually work out pretty well."