After a disappointing end to the 2018 season for the Cleveland Indians where they were swept 3-0 by the Astros, they proceeded to make numerous players on their major league roster available for trade, including Yan Gomes, Edwin Encarnacion, and Corey Kluber. They also made it clear that star infielders—Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor—would be untouchable. Cleveland has since traded Edwin Encarnacion, Yan Gomes, Yandy Diaz, and Yonder Alonso, and have also made Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer available in trade talks. The team has lost Michael Brantley to the Astros and Andrew Miller to the Cardinals in free agency, further depleting their roster. Luckily, the Indians play in arguably the worst division in the MLB, so with their current roster, it is still plausible that they win their division for the 4th consecutive year.
Possibly the most surprising takeaway from this is the team making former Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber, available in trade talks. If he was traded, they would get a hefty return. Despite that, he is still arguably a top 5 pitcher in the MLB and hasn’t shown any signs of decline. There are two ways of looking at this situation. They could trade him for young players and prospects as the team is just financially unable to keep up with the other AL juggernauts like the Astros, Red Sox, and Yankees. The other way to look at it is Corey Kluber is a top five pitcher in the league and that isn’t something you should let go of, regardless of the return matter the return.
For this article, I am going to be looking at the former view and looking at five potential trade offers that could be offered to the Indians for Corey Kluber. It has been reported that the Brewers, Reds, Padres, Dodgers, and Phillies have talked with the Indians and have shown interest in trading for Kluber, so for this article, I will draw up trades that these teams could offer for Kluber.
Milwaukee Brewers Trade OF Corey Ray, RHP Trey Supak, and OF Tristen Lutz for RHP Corey Kluber
This trade is a major win-win for both the Indians and the Brewers. Although the Indians would be letting go of their coveted former Cy Young winner, they would be filling up their much-needed gap in the outfield with two young outfielders along with a double A pitcher capable of making it to the majors. Supak is not the next Kluber, but he could become a solid back end guy in the rotation with a career ERA of 3.43 and a WHIP of 1.20. Looking back at the outfielders, Corey Ray, the Brewers #2 prospect, would be the main centerpiece for this deal as the former Minor League Player of the Year could make his way to the majors soon after a 27 home run, 66 extra-base hits, and 37 stolen base year, along with a .477 slugging percentage. The other outfielder in this deal is another one of the Brewers top outfield prospects who is just 20 years old and is known mainly for his power. Although he provides little value on defense, he could be a much needed middle of the order power for the Indians in the future. In this deal with both Corey Ray and Tristen Lutz, the Indians may be able to fulfill their outfield woes. On the other side of this deal, Corey Kluber would legitimatize a rotation that is without an ace and might even make them the favorite in not only arguably the best division in baseball but the best team in the National League.
Reds Trade OF Matt Kemp, OF Taylor Trammell, LHP Jacob Heatherly, and 2B Scooter Gennett for RHP Corey Kluber and 2B Jason Kipnis
This is an interesting deal as the Reds would be flipping the newly acquired All-Star Outfielder Matt Kemp along with their #2 prospect for one of the best pitchers in baseball. The Jason Kipnis part of the deal comes in as a player that is in there to balance out the contracts as both Kemp and Kipnis are on relatively bigger contracts. Kemp had a surprisingly good 1st half in the 2018 season earning himself a starting spot in the outfield in the 2018 MLB
Padres trade LHP Mackenzie Gore, OF Manuel Margot, and OF Edward Olivares for RHP Corey Kluber
The Padres are a team that
Dodgers trade OF Alex Verdugo, RHP Dennis Santana, and OF Starling Heredia to the Indians for RHP Corey Kluber
Outfielder Alex Verdugo from the Dodgers is exactly what the Indians should be looking for when trying to trade Corey Kluber, an MLB ready outfielder who will be able to not only fill in a gap in their outfield, but more importantly, make a quick impact on a playoff contending team like the Indians. The Indians would also be acquiring two more of the Dodgers top 30 prospects: outfielder Starling Heredia, a young player signed from the Dominican Republic who is built like a football player with loads of power, and RHP Dennis Santana, who has been trending upwards for a while now and has lots of upside with his strong fastball and changeup that can lead him to a spot in a major league starting rotation. Those are the benefits and pluses for the Indians, but what about the Dodgers? For one, they will be getting one of the best pitchers in the game to pair up with Clayton Kershaw, which would make the Dodgers rotation one of the best in all of baseball. A move like this would solidify the Dodgers as one of the best teams in baseball and it would put them back on track to make it to the World Series for a third consecutive season. Along with All-Star shortstop Corey Seager making it back to the field in 2019, Corey Kluber would make this team one of the most competitive and exciting teams we will see all year.
Phillies Trade RHP Sixto Sanchez, OF Mickey Moniak, and RHP David Parkinson to the Indians for RHP Corey Kluber
No, the Indians do not get a MLB ready outfielder in this deal, which they desperately need if they want to continue to win the A.L. Central and compete for a world series title, but it does provide them with a top 10 pitching prospect in Sixto Sanchez who could one day fill the shoes of the ace in the Indians rotation which Kluber now holds. Not to say that he will be better than Kluber, but he sure has the potential to make it big in the majors. The Indians would also be acquiring the former 2016 number one draft pick in Mickey Moniak who is an outfielder that has lots potential and is still young, and although most scouts are not sold on him yet, it will be interesting what he does in this up and coming season to improve on offense and defense. The other pitcher in this deal, David Parkinson, has shown lots of potential in his time in the minors posting a 1.45 ERA, and while most of his stuff is fairly average, he has won minor league pitcher of the year and is an underrated prospect that the Indians could snag in this deal. On the Phillies side of this deal, they would be strengthening their rotation even more with this addition as the duo of Nola and Kluber would be one of the best one-two punches in the league. With rumors of Manny Machado or Bryce Harper possibly heading to the Phillies, one of them along with Kluber would solidify them as one of the top dogs in the National League.
Featured Photo: Keith Allison, https://www.flickr.com/photos/keithallison/9154658281