"Right now, having eight or nine guys underneath the range of expectations -- not just under but significantly -- it's tough," Shapiro said. "Every night is a grind, and the results are what you're watching.
"It's tough for us to put up runs."
But as the general manager, Shapiro can't just talk about the problem and not look for solutions, especially with the high hopes the organization and fans have for the Indians this season.
Nobody expected the offense to be the problem it is. The Indians are last in the American League in hitting with a .231 batting average and 12th in runs scored (171). In their last 10 games, they've scored 23 runs, which translates into less than three per game.
Those numbers can't continue, Shapiro said.
He said he's been considering all options to improve the offense. He's even been thinking, albeit grudgingly, the almost unthinkable: trading young pitching.
"I still feel at this moment we don't have the luxury of not exploring, not walking down that road," he said. "I caution to say that to explore those things and execute those things are two very different things."
But the trade market isn't so white hot in mid-May that any team is willing to pull off a blockbuster deal, and Shapiro said that the problem with the Tribe's inability to score runs isn't something a single player might be able to fix anyway.
The fix might need to be made internally, first.
"There are different ways to produce runs," Shapiro said. "When you're failing across the board, that can come from guys getting on base; it can come from guys driving them in. They can drive them in with doubles; they can drive them in with homers.
"We need to get better at everything."
Even players whom he'd been counting on to be offensive forces have faltered. Grady Sizemore entered Friday hitting .254; Victor Martinez, who was scratched from Friday's game with an injured finger, is hitting .300 with no homers and 15 RBIs; and Travis Hafner is hitting .216 with four homers and 21 RBIs.
"It would be something if the effort wasn't there and the work wasn't there," Indians hitting coach Derek Shelton said. "But the effort is there; the work is there."
The results, however, aren't, which is what has frustrated Shapiro throughout most of the first 47 games of this season.
"It's our responsibility to get on the phone and to talk to every single team and to be as creative as it takes to look at very large scenarios to incremental small scenarios," Shapiro said. "Depending on the club we're talking to, that's what we're doing."
He didn't show his cards, although he also didn't say anything was imminent. He did say that, often, talks like he's been having don't bear fruit until later in the season.
"It's tough, right now, to make a trade of any magnitude," he said.
Shapiro said he's not missed talking to any team that might have a player who could improve his offense. He said he's not overlooked any scenario -- internally or externally.
"So we'll continue to look and continue to talk," he said.