It’s going to take a lot to pry Corey Kluber away from Cleveland. The latest Reds rumors seem to indicate a trade for the Indians hurler is very unlikely.
The latest Reds rumors appear to close the door on a possible blockbuster trade between the Cincinnati Reds and the Cleveland Indians. Corey Kluber has been on the Reds’ radar all offseason, but it appears as though the asking price will be too much for almost any team to match, including Cincinnati.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network recently reported that the Indians are looking for a return on Kluber or Trevor Bauer that resembles that of what the Chicago White Sox received last year for Chris Sale. Morosi also says that Kluber’s agent believes the closer we get to Spring Training, the less likely his client is traded.
Let’s address the second aspect of these Reds rumors first. The longer the offseason drags out, the more likely it is that Kluber and Bauer stay in Cleveland. The Indians have already offloaded the expensive contracts of Yan Gomes, Edwin Encarnacion, and Yonder Alonso. Those moves saved the team $21M in salary next season. There’s now no rush for the Indians to deal Kluber or Bauer in order to give themselves some salary relief.
Now, onto the bigger issue with a potential trade. If the Indians are looking for a ‘Chris Sale type of return’, that would gut the Reds farm system. Last December, the White Sox traded Chris Sale from Chicago to Boston in exchange for Red Sox prospects Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz.
Sale had three years of team control and $38M remaining on his deal when he was shipped to Boston. Kluber has three years of team control remaining as well and is owed $52.5M through the 2021 season.
Moncada was one of the best, if not the best prospect in baseball before last year’s trade and looks to be the White Sox’s second baseman of the future. Kopech was one of Boston’s top prospects as a possible front-of-the-rotation starter. Basabe was the No. 8 ranked prospect in the Red Sox’s farm system, and Diaz has the potential to be a hard-throwing option out of the bullpen.
So, if that’s what Cleveland is looking for, a trade with the Reds would likely have to include Nick Senzel, Taylor Trammell, Tony Santillan, and player like Lyon Richardson or Jacob Heatherly. Wow! I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t make that deal. I know they’re all prospects and we don’t yet know what those players can do at the Major League level, but that’s a lot to give up for a soon-to-be 33-year-old pitcher.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have also been rumored to be involved in talks with the Indians, but Cleveland is asking for Cody Bellinger plus prospects in order to make a deal with LA. The price for Kluber seems a bit steep and one that the Reds are not likely to match.