In an effort to reduce payroll, the Cleveland Indians made their frontline starting pitchers Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer available in trades early this offseason.
Among the teams that showed interest in Kluber was the Los Angeles Dodgers, and talks between the two teams reportedly ‘intensified’ at the Winter Meetings, although no deal came to fruition.
Since then, the Indians have been able to successfully reduce their payroll by trading both Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso, so they reportedly were no longer motivated to pursue a deal to unload Kluber or Bauer’s salary.
That may have changed though as Jon Morosi of MLB.com is now reporting the Indians are still in talks with the Dodgers and other teams for Kluber:
Sources: #Indians trade talks involving Corey Kluber have continued this week. The Cleveland front office is very thorough. #Dodgers, #Brewers, #Phillies, #Reds among the teams that have shown interest. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 19, 2018
The two-time Cy Young Award winner would obviously be a nice addition to the Dodgers starting rotation, giving them a third ace alongside Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler.
Kluber went 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA, 3.12 FIP and 0.99 WHIP with 222 strikeouts and just 34 walks in 215 innings, being named an All-Star for the third consecutive season.
It would come at a steep price to acquire the 32-year-old though as he is still under club control for three more seasons at around $52 million. The final two years of the contract are team options.
The Dodgers seem to be a perfect match for Cleveland considering the Indians can use some outfielders and the Dodgers have a surplus at that position. Los Angeles also has some young, quality arms that would be much cheaper options for the Indians starting rotation than Kluber.