A lot of Cleveland Indians starting pitchers are having their names attached to potential trades. Let’s take a deeper look at each pitcher’s value on the market.
I don’t want to talk about this, I really don’t. Can’t we pretend that nobody has to leave and the Cleveland Indians rotation will remain intact forever? Fine. I know the inevitable is coming. The days of the “Rotation of Domination” are numbered. We might see some good friends separated in the name of keeping the Indians in the playoff hunt.
Several teams have inquired about the Indians starting pitchers. They should, the Indians have an embarrassment of riches at the position. They’ve boasted multiple Cy Young contenders in recent years, including when Corey Kluber won the award in 2017. So clearly, there is a lot of value here. We’re going to take a closer look at each player’s value and the likelihood of them being traded.
Let’s start with our stoic ace. Corey Kluber has a been a popular name to attach to rumors. He’s one of the best pitchers in baseball and he’s in his prime right now. The Indians have been fortunate to have him for so long, and he’s still under contract until 2022.
That also makes him a very attractive trade target. Teams like the Yankees and Dodgers have taken their looks at him, and I’m sure many others are calling. The Indians would be able to get a lot in return for Klubot. The rotation can survive without him, but it certainly wouldn’t look the same. They would have to get a fair amount in return to make the trade feel worthwhile. But this also feels like it could really happen. It would signal the end of an era in Cleveland, one that I’m not ready to see an end to. Likelihood: Very likely, Value: Very high.
One of the most lovable characters in the Cleveland clubhouse has also been linked to a few trades. The Venezuelan-born pitcher has won 35 games in his last two years and is regarded as another top pitcher in baseball when he can stay healthy. The last part of that statement, however, has been an issue for the Tribe in recent years.
Carlos Carrasco missed about a month in 2018 after taking a line drive to his elbow, something that oddly happens to him a lot. He also missed the 2016 World Series due to a similar injury. He does bring a lot of value to a team, and the Indians did just give him an extension. But I don’t see the team trading him, especially if someone like Kluber is sold. Likelihood: Not likely, Value: high.
Trevor Bauer has been a hot-button topic in baseball lately. His Twitter antics have been one of the highlights of a relatively slow offseason. Bauer has gotten in a discussion with our own Matt Bretz about his potential trade value even. Bauer thinks it would be smarter for him to be traded in 2020.
So we may see Bauer stick around a little longer. But there are still rumors that he is being shopped. I wouldn’t be shocked by either result. Bauer is a key part of this rotation, but teams are still interested in him. Even if he won’t sign a long-term contract. Likelihood: Possible, Value: Very high.
Nope, don’t even think about it. Mike Clevinger is a piece that the Indians can build their rotation around. He’s young, hasn’t even reached arbitration yet, and he’s damn good. Clevinger has improved with each season he’s played and he’s coming off an incredibly impressive 2018. I will riot if I see him in another uniform. Likelihood: Nope, Value: High.
Shane Bieber is another young pitcher for the Tribe. He’s shown he has room to improve with his quick ascent through the farm system. But he’s still young and inexperienced. Bieber could still be considered a prospect by some standards, especially if Danny Salazar returns to the team. Some teams looking for young pitchers may have interest, but the Indians have made it clear they want to build a young core. I think he’s part of that core. Likelihood: Not likely, Value: Not very high.
Last on our list is Danny Salazar. While he’s not exactly a starter at this moment, he’ll definitely be in the rotation if anyone is traded. There is a good chance he’s in the rotation regardless if spring training goes well for him. If Danny Salazar is able to return to form, he could be a huge asset for the Indians. I don’t think other teams will be looking at him now with the injury risk he brings, but this will be the last year on his contract, so there is a chance that this year will be the last we see of him in Cleveland.
So there you have it. The likelihood that we get through this offseason with the Indians starting rotation intact is starting to look slimmer by the day. But then if all goes right, the Tribe should net some good returns for some of these big names.