At the Winter Meetings the rumors were flying around like crazy. Since they ended we’ve had far fewer rumors to digest. But Jon Morosi has brought one back to life this afternoon, reporting that the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians are still discussing a trade that would bring starting pitcher Corey Kluber to Cincinnati. That would certainly define “get the pitching”.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 19, 2018
The tweet isn’t perfectly decipherable. Morosi says that Cleveland has expressed interest in Nick Senzel and Taylor Trammell. What it doesn’t specify is whether they are seeking both in the trade, or just one of them to headline the trade. And that’s a very big difference in the tweet that we simply don’t know.
But, it does beg the question: What would you trade to acquire Corey Kluber?
He’s a bonafide ACE. He’s one of the best starting pitchers alive, and he has been for years. Since 2014 his ERA’s have been 2.44, 3.49, 3.14, 2.25, and 2.89. He’s also thrown 200+ innings in every single one of those seasons. He doesn’t give up hits, walks no one, keeps the ball in the ballpark, and he misses tons of bats. Everything a pitcher can do well, he does. And he’s got three possible years of team control remaining. In 2019 he’s owed $17M. In both 2020 and 2021 he’s owed $17.5M and $18M, but those are team options with a $1M buyout.
The money he’s owed isn’t cheap. For the kind of pitcher he is, though, it is. But it’s still a lot of money and will eat up some payroll. Keep that in mind as you try to figure out what kind of offer you would make. What is the offer that you realistically believe would get the job done? It’s almost guaranteed to be headline by one of the two prospects listed above. But what else would it take?