The Cleveland Indians are still talking with other teams about potential trades involving Corey Kluber. The San Diego Padres are pursuing the starting pitcher, and they could make for the best trade partner for the reigning AL Central champs.
MLB.com’s Jon Morosi has reported that a Kluber trade is still very possible with talks ongoing between Cleveland and San Diego. A deal isn’t close, but the Padres have the right assets to make a potential deal work.
Cleveland didn’t put Kluber and Trevor Bauer on the block so they could rebuild: the Indians are looking to shed some payroll while continuing to compete for a World Series championship. That means it could take a combination of cheap major-league talent and prospects for a team to land the two-time Cy Young winner.
According to Morosi, the Padres don’t want to give up one of their top prospects. They do have a couple of young outfielders on their roster that could fill a need for the Indians.
Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe are both potential options for Cleveland in a Kluber trade. Margot struggled offensively in 2018 with .245/.292/.384 splits, but he was a good defender and isn’t even arbitration-eligible at just 24 years old. Renfroe slugged .504 with 26 home runs in 117 games last year and can’t file for arbitration until 2020.
Morosi noted that the Padres don’t want to trade pitchers Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer. The Indians are reportedly interested in pitching prospect Adrian Morejon.
The Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers have both expressed interest in acquiring Kluber this offseason. L.A. has created room on their payroll to potentially absorb Kluber’s contract by sending Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and Alex Wood to Cincinnati. The trade was another sign that the Reds are looking to add veterans in hopes of contending for the playoffs next season.
Kluber will make between $17 million and $18 million in each of the next three seasons, though his contract includes a team option in 2020 and 2021.