Over the offseason, the Cleveland Indians have been active in trade talks for star pitcher Corey Kluber. In the past two months, they have traded Edwin Encarnacion, Yan Gomes, Yandy Diaz, and Yonder Alonso to clear some money off of their payroll. Right now the Indians have saved around $21-23 million. The Indians now do not HAVE to trade Kluber or Trevor Bauer, but recent reports from Jon Morosi of MLB Network and Fox Sports said that the Indians are still active in the trade talks for Kluber. They do not have to trade him, but should they?
I believe that they should because of a couple of reasons. The Indians still do not have a truly healthy and sustainable outfield. There is no one player other than Leonys Martin that can be considered the starter going into Spring Training in February. Even Martin is questionable due to the infection he had that threatened his life at one point. The Indians would be getting back younger outfield prospects that are still pre-arbitration or arbitration eligible. If the Indians can get back some of these types of players for Kluber, then they should make the deal.
Another reason the Indians should make the deal for Kluber is the amount of money that the Indians could save and utilize into other areas of need. Kluber is owed around $17 million this season and next as well as $18 million for the 2021 season. So trading him this offseason, would give the Indians around nearly $30 million after arbitration salaries for guys like Bauer and Francisco “Frankie” Lindor. With the extra money that the Indians would have after trading Kluber, they could try and lock up Lindor for at least during his arbitration years. Frankie should not and would not want to extend into any of his free agency years with the Indians based on sheer numbers, but if the Indians could do it, they would be considered incredible.
Also, the Indians should wait and see where Bryce Harper signs before trading Kluber. If Harper signs with someone like the Los Angeles Dodgers then the Indians should go ahead and get into extensive talks with the Dodgers. If Harper does sign with them, then they could be more inclined to include Cody Bellinger and Alex Verdugo in a trade for Kluber.
Overall, the Indians should still be active in trading Corey Kluber for the right price because it would bring in some quality outfielders as well as saving money to sign players to fill different needs like the bullpen.