“There is almost no chance” the Indian bargain hotshot right-hander Corey Kluber before pitchers and catchers report to Cleveland’s Spring Training camp on Thursday, MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reports. This would seemingly close on the door entirely on a Kluber trade, as Morosi notes that” it’s believed that the team won’t be receptive to active commerce conversations during Spring Training ,” and talks likewise wouldn’t take place during the season unless the Tribe fell out of contention by the July trade deadline.
Rumors have swirled around Kluber for months, since news broke in early November that the Indian were open to discussing any of their ex-serviceman players in an effort to cut payroll. Beyond Kluber, names such as Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Kipnis, Edwin Encarnacion, Yonder Alonso, and Yan Gomes were also floated as potential busines microchips. As the offseason progressed, the Tribe ended up dealing Alonso, Encarnacion and Gomes( while solidifying Carrasco as a long-term fragment by signing him to an extension ).
With some financial breathing room established, there seemed to be less luck that Kluber or Bauer would also be dealt. Cleveland’s high-pitched asking price also surely played a role, as the Tribe reportedly was able to move either pitcher for a prospect pack akin to what the White Sox received from the Red Sox for Chris Sale. The Reds, Yankees, Mets, Padres, Phillies, Brewers, and Dodgers were all rumored to be discussing Kluber at one point or another this winter, though barring a late-breaking change of heart, it doesn’t seem like the two-time Cy Young Award winner is going anywhere.
Kluber’s third-place finish in the 2018 AL Cy Young race unlocked up to $12 MM worth of extra bonus money in his contract, as his 2019 salary is now $17 MM, and his 2020 fraternity alternative is conjured to $17.5 MM, and his 2021 golf-club option to $18 MM( both alternative years come with a$ 1MM buyout ). Even at the $52.5 MM maximum over those three seasons, that’s still a very reasonable rate for a pitcher who has is an element of the game’s best hurlers over the last five years, even for a smaller-market team like Cleveland. Whereas the first base/ DH power of Encarnacion and Alonso could be more readily replaced( by Carlos Santana and Jake Bauers) by the Indians, it would’ve been much harder to fill Kluber’s void atop the spin, even considering the Tribe’s enviable spin depth.
Kluber does turn 33 in April, and he did experience both a significant spike in his hard-hit projectile rate and a slight velocity drop in 2018, so the contention could be made that the Indians would’ve been prudent in selling high. Still, Kluber scarcely looked like a pitcher in slump last year, and there’s relatively little long-term risk involved for the Tribe since 2019 is the right-hander’s last guaranteed time. For a Cleveland team that purposes on another playoff run this season, trading Kluber seems like it simply would’ve been a consideration if another association had been willing to overpay. At worst, the Tribe has compiled some intel on a potential Kluber market should they indeed end up exploring their options at the busines deadline.
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