The Cleveland Indians continue to have trade talks about two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network.
Morosi went even further when talking about one specific team: the Cincinnati Reds
I don’t think it’s any surprise that the Indians continue to at least talk with other teams about trading Corey Kluber. I wrote earlier this week that the team should still talk and perhaps even trade Kluber or Trevor Bauer if they get the deal they’re looking for.
With Morosi mentioning the top two prospects in the Reds farm system, it’s clear that the Indians have a high price tag for the 32-year-old right hander.
Now the Indians don’t have to trade Kluber because they have moved enough salary in other trades to have the ability to go out and try and sign some free agents to help with the outfield or perhaps the bullpen which seems to be their major areas of concern as of now.
However, teams across baseball need starting pitching which is something the Indians have arguably the best rotation in all of baseball which makes either Kluber or Bauer expendable.
Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Cincinnati have been linked to the Indians for the last couple of weeks in trade rumors with their needs to upgrade their rotations or to move other pieces to be able to land a top free agent like the Dodgers for instance in their pursuit of Bryce Harper.
The Brewers are an interesting team because they made it to the NLCS this past season despite not having that ace pitcher to get them past the Dodgers to advance to the World Series. They’ve been a quiet team this offseason but could very well be lurking in the shadows for a pitcher like Kluber.
When looking at the Reds prospects Morosi mentioned, Senzel and Trammell are two of the top 17 prospects in all of baseball.
Senzel would be in line to be the every day third baseman if all would go well in spring training. Cincinnati has also used him at second and shortstop in their minor league system.
When healthy, Senzel uses a combination of strength and bat speed, along with an advanced approach at the plate, to be an extremely dangerous hitter from the right side. He makes consistent hard contact, doesn’t strike out a lot and draws walks, which points to a future of hitting over .300 and perhaps competing for batting titles. While Senzel is not a pure power type, he did have 57 extra-base hits in 2017 and homered 10 times in 209 at-bats in Double-A. Senzel is not a burner on the base paths, but he is very aggressive and has excellent instincts that allow him to pick up some steals and take extra bases. His plus arm works very well from the hot corner and he’s worked to improve his hands and footwork, and can stay there long-term, though the Reds had him playing second and even some shortstop to increase his versatility.
Trammell is currently in advanced-A ball for the Reds and was a multi-sport athlete in high school. The Reds selected him in the second round in 2016.
Everyone knew Trammell’s athleticism would help make him an exciting prospect, but his feel for the game has exceeded many expectations. While there is some swing and miss he’ll continue to work on, Trammell’s strikeout rate went down and his walk rate went up in the second half of his first full season. His ability to draw walks allows him to use his speed to be a basestealing threat on a more regular basis. He has shown the ability to drive the ball with extra-base pop, and there should be more over-the-fence power to come as he matures. His speed works well in the outfield and most feel he could stick in center field, though his fringy arm could push him to left down the road.
The Indians would probably look for a major league ready talent in the deal as well but the fact they’re pushing for Cincinnati’s top prospects shows that if they want to deal Kluber, they aren’t going to just give him away and that they want the best package in return.
I also think that there’s a chance they leaked the report to Morosi to apply some pressure on the Dodgers who have wanted Kluber but aren’t making their best offer which some think should include outfielder Cody Bellinger but reports have said the center piece of a Dodgers trade package would include outfielder Alex Verdugo.
If Cincinnati is willing to offer both Senzel and Trammell, that will trump a package centered around Verdugo.
If the Dodgers up their offer and include Bellinger, the Indians will be sitting in a great position either way.