There was a great debate among Cleveland Indians fans in the offseason on whether the team should have traded Corey Kluber. After his slow start and subsequent injury, did they make the right move not trading him?
The Cleveland Indians have been built primarily on pitching for a few seasons now. They seem to boast one of the best rotations in the majors every season.
The rotation has been headed by Corey Kluber since 2013. He has been among the best in baseball the last six years but that seems to have changed in the early part of 2019.
Kluber sports a 5.80 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 11.1 hits per nine and 3.8 walks per nine which are all well off his career numbers and if he kept that trend would be career worsts in all those categories. He also walked 15 batters in just 35.2 innings in 2019 before getting hurt which is alarming as he walked just 34 batters in 215 innings of work last season.
Kluber had finished top three in Cy Young voting in four of the last five years and won it twice in 2014 and 2017. That alone made him a hot commodity and worthy of a hefty asking price from the Indians.
Enter 2019 and he started off very slowly and found himself struggling. To add insult to injury he took a 102 MPH liner off the forearm and suffered a fractured ulna.
This, along with the struggling offense prompted me to wonder, did the Indians make a mistake in keeping Kluber? They surely could have been more aggressive in trying to deal him away if they really wanted to and their high asking price was justified before the season.
Kluber is a fan favorite and one of my favorite Indians of all time but, at a certain point, the business side should take hold and bring rational thinking to the forefront. Like it or not, a Kluber deal could have brought in pieces to help this offense.
The best way to build is to use addition by subtraction. You need to subtract from your surplus strength to help add better pieces in areas of weakness.
The Indians big weakness this season as been their very, very bad offense. They lost Michael Brantley and others in the offseason which was a big part to their offense.
The Indians biggest strength is their starting rotation and they seem to have a knack for developing pitchers. Outfielders though, not so much and that has shown again.
Their best offensive player has been Carlos Santana and he has been a saving grace of sorts. With Francisco Lindor still working back from injury and Jose Ramirez struggling mightily, they sure could have used another impact bat in this lineup.
There is no telling what the return for Kluber could have looked like but one thing is for sure, they could have gotten a piece or two to insert into this lineup to help the lackluster production. Time will tell if they will regret not maximizing the value of one of their biggest strength pieces to help make this team better for the long run.