On Wednesday, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported that the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers have been discussing about a potential trade involving starting pitcher Corey Kluber.
Morosi stated that the two sides have been talking in recent days and one potential deal involved the Dodgers getting Kluber with the Indians getting outfielder Yasiel Puig as the centerpiece of a package from Los Angeles.
He added that LA would also be willing to part with starting pitcher Alex Wood and pitchingprospect Yadier Alvarez, their tenth best prospect in their farm system.
If Puig, Wood and Alvarez was a legit offer for Corey Kluber, I would hope that Cleveland hung up quickly.
It’s been reported that the Cleveland Indians are looking to shed payroll but still compete for 2019 and beyond in the American League.
While they would be getting rid of Kluber’s 2019 salary of $17 million in this proposed deal, they would be bringing back Puig’s $11 million and Wood’s $9 million that he’s projected to get in arbitration.
If Cleveland was going to take back salary that significant, they’d be sending more out in the deal which could be a possibility as the Dodgers have also shown interest in catcher Yan Gomes.
Both players are also entering their final years under contract before becoming free agents next winter. If they’re the centerpiece of the deal, you would hope Cleveland would also be getting a decent haul of prospects in return.
Puig would fill a void in the outfield temporarily and would provide some offense in the Indians lineup. Last season he hit for .265/.327/.494 with 23 home runs and 63 runs batted in along with 15 stolen bases.
Wood would also be a temporary fit in the rotation if they were to move Kluber. He was 9-7 with a 3.68 ERA in 33 appearances (27 starts) last season, a down year after going 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and being elected an All-Star in 2017.
While both would help the Indians compete in 2019, I don’t think they would get the Indians past the likes of Boston, Houston and New York in the American League.
You also look at the future of the organization with this deal. While Cleveland is looking for immediate help when they’re talking trades about any of their starting pitching, they also want to build towards the future.
Yadier Alvarez has shown promise at times during his young pro career in the minors but his control is an issue. He does have some speed with his fastball, topping out at 101 mph at times according to reports.
If the Indians are going to deal Kluber, they’re going to give him away and if all you’re getting is the tenth best prospect from a team, there’s no reason to make a deal especially when Alvarez is the Dodgers fourth best pitching prospect.
The two sides have reportedly also discussed Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer as well. It doesn’t mean a deal is imminent and Morosi reported that the “price tag” for each pitcher remains high and Cleveland isn’t close to pulling the trigger on a deal.
If Cleveland does make a deal with Los Angeles, I’d be open to bringing Puig and/or Wood back in a deal but the prospect return is going to have be better than Alvarez.
If i was in team president Chris Antonetti and general manager Mike Chernoff’s position, I would be holding out for at least outfielder Alex Verdugo (#1 prospect) or either one of their catching prospects Kiebert Ruiz (#2 prospect) or Will Smith (#5 prospect) and then I’d take Alvarez as an additional player.
The Dodgers have a deep farm system and it showed when they dealt five prospects for All-Star shortstop Manny Machado in July. They also know that they’re close to getting over the top and winning the franchise’s first World Series championship since 1988 and have reached it the last two seasons.
Not saying Cleveland should be trying to help other teams go for the World Series while their window is still cracked open but if they’re looking to make a deal, they need it to benefit them just as much as benefiting the other team.