CLEVELAND, Ohio — Indians starting pitchers Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco have been rumored to be traded to a variety of teams since the Tribe was eliminated from the postseason in October.
Over the weekend, a rumor popped that the Mets and Indians were talking about a Kluber deal. As Chris Antonetti, Indians president of baseball operations, has said many times this offseason, “We’re fortunate to have a lot of talented players on a our roster that other teams like. That leads to a lot of conversations.”
On the surface the Mets’ rumor makes sense because Mickey Callaway, Kluber’s old pitching coach in Cleveland, is managing the Mets. But other observers think the Indians and Mets would have a hard time agreeing on a deal for a couple of reasons.
* The Mets just traded prospects Jarred Kelencic and Justin Dunn to Seattle as part of a blockbuster deal that brought Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to New York. The Indians don’t want an all-prospect return for Kluber, but Kelenic and Dunn would probably have gotten their attention.
Kelenic, a center fielder who has been compared to a young Grady Sizemore, was the Mets’ No.1 pick in 2018. Dunn, a right-hander, was the Mets’ No. 1 pick in 2016.
* There’s a chance that the Indians would try to include Jason Kipnis ($14.7 million for 2019) or Edwin Encarnacion ($20 million for 2019) in a deal involving Kluber or one of their other starters. Since the Mets don’t need a DH and they just traded for Cano to play second base that may not be the best fit.
* Then again, there is a school of thought that says the Indians want to get the most out of a trade for one of their starting pitchers and would not muddy the waters by adding Kipnis or Encarnacion.
While the Indians’ talks with the Mets may have hit a rut, the conversations GM Mike Chernoff and Antonetti are having with other teams continue. In fact, while a deal is not believed to be close, the momentum toward one continues to build.
Perhaps it will take place in Las Vegas, the site of this year’s winter meetings which begin Sunday.
Here are some of the teams that the Indians are believed to be talking to regarding Kluber, Bauer or Carrasco. There are reports that the Indians are talking about a contract extension with Carrasco, which would probably take him off the market if it happens.