This week is the GM meetings in baseball and it’s the first big event of the offseason as the top executives are invading Carlsbad, California.
As reported by ESPN last week, the Indians will listen to trade proposals for some their key pieces including two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and fellow ace Carlos Carrasco.
Now as the meetings have begun, one of Cleveland’s American League foes are interested in those arms and had a conversation with the Indians today.
The Yankees have already locked up one starting pitcher as they agreed to re-sign CC Sabathia to a one-year deal worth $8 million.
While they’re looking at free agent pitchers, many expect them to pursue free agent infielder Manny Machado who is expected to get a significant contract in free agency that could exceed $300 million in total value.
If they’re going to pursue another starting pitcher, I would expect them to do that in the trade market which would make Kluber and Carrasco attractive to New York.
Kluber has one year left on his five-year, $38 million dollar contract with two option years for 2020 and 2021. He’s due $15 million for the 2019 season, $15.5 million for 2020 and $16 million for 2021 and those options could increase based on Cy Young voting.
Carrasco has one year left on his four-year, $22 million dollar contract with an option year for 2020. He’s due $9.75 million for 2019 and his 2020 option is worth $9.5 million.
If I had to guess which pitcher the Indians are more likely to deal this offseason, I would think it’s Corey Kluber.
He’s one of the best pitchers in baseball and his contract is very team friendly for not only the Indians but for any team in baseball when you look at the yearly average salaries for some pitchers.
Despite his postseason woes, Kluber also brings the most value for the Indians in a potential trade return out of any of the pitchers in their rotation.
When looking at the Yankees farm system for a potential trade package for Kluber, the main centerpiece of a deal would have to be third baseman Miguel Andujar.
The rookie exploded on to the baseball scene with a .297 average, 27 home runs, 92 RBIs and a .855 OPS in 149 games for the Yankees. If the Yankees do intend to pursue Machado, Andujar would have to be moved to make that happen.
Adding him into the Indians infield alongside Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez could give them a solid 1-2-3 punch in their lineup and Andjuar would be under control through 2024, a solid six-year run to continue contending in the American League.
The Indians should also push for one of the Yankees young pitchers in their farm system. Obviously you start at the top with former Indians first-round pick in Justus Sheffield but New York also has Jonathan Loaisiga, Albert Abreu and Domingo Acevedo who are in the top 5 in their system.
If they don’t push for a young arm, they should go after outfielder Estevan Florial. The 20-year-old prospect from the Dominican Republic has turned some heads so far hitting .283 with 16 stolen bases in 84 games between Rookie and A+ level ball in 2018. Scouts say he has a ton of upside and say if he “adds the necessary polish”, he could be a 30-30 player in the major leagues.
As for the Indians current rotation, even if they move Kluber or Carrasco, the rotation would still hold one of them along with Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber and they have their top prospect Triston McKenzie who is projected to arrive in the big leagues next season.