The Cleveland Indians were rumored to be shopping two top starting pitchers. However, recent trades mean the team can keep both for the 2019 season.
Cleveland Indians fans sat and waited last week as the MLB Winter Meetings took place in Las Vegas.
The front office may have said that trading away a pitcher had nothing to do with saving some cash, but I tend to disagree with that. Trading away Kluber and getting players who are in the pre-arbitration phase of their careers would save the team a ton of money in what would be a risky move.
Such a trade could also bring major-league quality players to town, but the money saved stands out as a top benefit.
But the team was lucky enough to dump Alonso’s salary, and also got some money in return for taking on Santana.
The problem is that the Indians still need some help in the outfield and the bullpen. Players like Michael Brantley, Cody Allen and Andrew Miller are all free agents, but maybe some of the surplus money is going to be offered to one, or more, of the three.
That could be one of the initial options on the table, as all three players have a history with the team and would likely enjoy being back in 2019. However, all three could command nice multi-year deals so the Indians may have to sit back and hope the markets for each player remain reasonable. I doubt that happens with Miller, but it could with Brantley and Allen.
If Kluber and/or Bauer end up being moved, I would expect it happens closer to spring training. Around the time when the Indians will know what has happened with their own free agents, along with the moves made by other teams.
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If a team like the Chicago White Sox or Minnesota Twins continues upgrading and looking like a competitor, the Indians may be forced to make a big move to avoid a letdown in 2019.