Despite having won three consecutive division titles, the Cleveland Indians are said to be open for business this offseason. With many of their high-priced stars getting more expensive by the year, the club is looking to clear some payroll in exchange for younger talent.
Last week, it was reported that the Indians were discussing a multitude of trade scenarios with the Los Angeles Dodgers. 2018 All-Star catcher Yan Gomes most prominently stands out as an obvious target to replace free agent backstop Yasmani Grandal.
While Gomes makes sense from a speculative standpoint, the Dodgers are also enamored with the Indians’ starting pitchers. Among those potentially available in talks include two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Indians appear more willing to trade Bauer rather than Carrasco or Kluber:
Teams talking to the Cleveland #Indians say the Indians are much more inclined to trade Trevor Bauer than Corey Kluber or Carlos Carrasco. Bauer has 2 years of club control left, but the only one of the starters with cost uncertainty. He has two arbitration years left before FA.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 27, 2018
Even after hammering out new contracts with Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Dodgers clearly haven’t shut the door on pursuing further upgrades for their starting rotation. Either of the aforementioned Indians pitchers would represent just that for Los Angeles.
A Los Angeles native and UCLA alum, Bauer enjoyed a career year in 2018. On top of going 12-6, he posted personal-bests in ERA (2.21), FIP (2.44), WHIP (1.09) and strikeouts per nine innings (11.3).
The 27-year-old is arbitration eligible this winter and remains under team control through the 2020 season.
Cleveland is believed to be looking for upgrades to their outfield in any potential deal, which is why a move with the Dodgers makes sense as they have a surplus of outfielders, which includes Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Andrew Toles, Alex Verdugo and more.