Could Kluber be traded, and is this even possible?
In April, the Cleveland Indians extended 2014 AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber with a five-year, $38 million contract. Around the same time, they extended Carlos Carrasco as GM Chris Antonetti said the plan as to have the nucleus in place for a long time. And apparently the rest of the league still thinks highly of Kluber, even with his 4-10 record.
Some of the best in the game will take part in tonight’s All-Star game, and many still think Kluber was deserving to be there. That includes last year’s NL Cy Young and MVP Clayton Kershaw, who had this to say:
"“The way he’s pitched, he probably deserves to be here. He’s in the top 10 pitchers (in the game) for sure.”"
Jason Kipnis is part of that core, and he’s the lone Indians representative in tonight’s contest. Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes are two of the others who recently signed extensions and look to be part of the future. With the Tribe teetering on the edge of a contender for a playoff spot, gauging their desire to make trades becomes even more difficult.
With the high regard for Kluber, even with what appears to be a “down” year, could the Indians consider cashing in on that to build for the future?
Likely? No. But not out of the realm of possibility.
Every contender needs pitching. Even if they have it, they tend to need more down the stretch. Kluber’s record is a result of poor run support (2.29 per game, least of all qualifiers), not poor pitching. His record becomes even more irrelevant when you look at the fact he’s has 12 quality starts, a WHIP of 1.11, and has struck out 154, good for third in baseball.
He’s locked up long-term, meaning he should, and would garner a solid return. His new team wouldn’t have anything to worry about until a few days after the 2019 World Series when they would need to decide on his option years.
At 29, Kluber is past the “curve” where performance starts to decline. He peaked a little bit late, so will that change the thinking of the Indians front office?
Courtesy: SB Nation
Or will Kluber continue to be the dominant pitcher that he has been, just much later into his 30’s?
Assuming either is true is simply nothing more than a guess. What the Indians need to look at is what to do with a core if there’s nothing to add to it, and no money to help it either.
The farm system isn’t bad, but it’s far from top-tier. Two of the team’s top prospects are currently on the team now in Francisco Lindor and Cody Anderson. And while Giovanny Urshela wasn’t considered a “Top 10” by most, he’s a key piece and is currently on the team as well.
So much of the talent that was close is already here, while the rest of it is recently attained, and won’t arrive in Cleveland for a few years. So building through trade isn’t a terrible idea, even if it is someone of Kluber’s caliber. And the team hasn’t proven to be adept at signing free agents. Locking up young talent? Absolutely, at great bargains. But then they just give that away with terrible FA contracts and end up gaining nothing.
So what do you think Tribe fans? As good as he’s been, if the return was there would you trade Kluber?