By Paul Hoynes, cleveland.com | Posted December 08, 2018 at 06:09 PM | Updated December 08, 2018 at 06:15 PM
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Do you have a question that you’d like to have answered in Hey, Hoynsie? Submit it here or contact him on Twitter at @hoynsie
Corey Kluber. (Ted S. Warren, Associated Press)
Has the Tribe limited its potential return for Kluber or Bauer?
Hey, Hoynsie: In regard to the possible trade of Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer, do you think other teams smell blood in the water and that the Indians have backed themselves into a corner where the returns for any of our top flight veterans will be diminished? I’d rather they do a deal now than at mid-season, but the returns may not be there right now. –– Casey Dubiel, Lafferty, Ohio.
Hey, Casey: I think there is plenty of interest in Kluber and Bauer. The Indians know exactly they want in exchange for either pitcher and unless they get it, they’ll walk away and still be favored in the AL Central in 2019.
Based on what Washington paid for Patrick Corbin and Boston paid for Nathan Eovaldi, this is a seller’s market. Kluber and Bauer represent the kind of value that contending teams love. In today’s market, they’re both steals.
Indians GM Mike Chernoff (left) and Chris Antonetti, director of baseball operations. (Phil Long)
Is the Tribe in or out as a serious postseason contender in 2019?
Hey, Hoynsie: I don’t understand how trading or losing good players to free agency can help the Indians compete for a chance to win the World Series. To me it looks like the Tribe wants to be competitive, but has no shot at winning it all. I know the Indians are a small market, but how can they close that gap and give themselves a chance? — Les Kaminski, Parma.
Hey, Les: Trading players to reduce payroll and letting talented free agents go without trying to sign them is not the way a team keeps punching its ticket for October baseball. But it happens to a lot of teams every offseason.
The Indians have been able to put together six straight winning seasons because of smart trades, good drafts and a strong farm system. Right now they’re trying to do a difficult thing. They’re not rebuilding, but they are looking to move certain key players to lighten their payroll, while maintaining a roster capable of a deep October run.
It’s not an easy thing to do. No team wants to be caught in the middle where they’re not contending or rebuilding. The Indians aren’t there yet, but it’s something they’ll have to contend with in the years to come.
Albert Belle. (The Associated Press)