In Cleveland Indians trade talk, the Mets and Tribe are apparently talking about a deal centered around Corey Kluber. It better start with Noah Syndergaard.
Let’s give Chris Antonetti the day off and do his work for him. Hey New York, any deal for Kluber has to start with Noah Syndergaard, and we’re also probably going to ask for outfielder Brandon Nimmo.
These are young, controllable big-leaguers who can be plugged right into the team for the run to the 2019 Division title.
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The Mets’ farm system stinks, ranking 19th in all of baseball, according to Baseball America. And this was before they traded some of their top prospects in the recent deal for Robinson Cano.
What this means is if the Indians are going to do business, with the Mets, they’re going to need big-league players.
Syndergaard’s an exciting young talent, but don’t assume the Tribe’s replacing Kluber in the rotation without missing a beat.
“Thor” does have some injury history, appearing in just seven games during the 2017 campaign. He bounced back, for the most part in 2018, making 25 starts while going 13-4 with a 3.03 ERA.
One has to assume Syndergaard is at the center of these talks considering what Fan Graphs’ Kiley McDaniel recently tweeted.
The scribe indicated the Mets are motivated to move Thor and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen has been the one initiating negotiations.
Nimmo’s the other piece the Indians have to come away with.
The left-handed hitter is coming off his first-full season in the majors. He batted .263 (.886 OPS) with 17 homers in 140 games.
Defensively, Nimmo is capable of playing any outfield position.
If the Indians were able to swing these two players, the organization would be accomplishing two important tasks: One, they’d be keeping their team strong for 2019 and two, Antonetti would pair back the payroll even further.
The later point there is clearly a mandate from the front office, evidenced by the Indians move to shed Yan Gomes $7 million salary in the back-stop’s recent trade to the Nationals.
Syndergaard is under club control through 2021, although he is arbitration eligible and poised for a big raise following a stellar season. He made around $2.9 million in 2018, his first year of arbitration.
Nimmo won’t hit arbitration until after the 2019 season, so he’d be a blip on the Tribe’s payroll (made $556,000 last season).
Kluber will earn $17 million this season, $17.5 million next season and $18 million in the final year of his contract.
This is a risky trade because so much depends on Syndergaard’s ability to stay healthy. When he’s 100 percent, he can throw his fastball threw a brick wall. But if he’s on the DL, a trade like this could haunt the Tribe for years.
What we’re seeing in Cleveland is unique in that Cleveland is trying to re-tool while at the same time, contending for their fourth-straight divisional title.
A trade for Thor and Nimmo helps the Indians accomplish this, although losing a two-time Cy Young Award winner who just won 20 games for the first time in his career is nothing to sneeze at.