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The likelihood and outcomes of trading an ace

Just when we thought the Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer rumors had died out, we continue to hear whispers that the Cleveland Indians could move one of them.

It’s true. None of us want to talk about it. The notion that the Cleveland Indians would trade one of their star pitchers is a scary one. Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer have been sought after by a lot of teams. Just because the rumors have slowed down, doesn’t mean the possibility of a trade has died out.

Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer believes that those rumors could heat up once again after guys like Dallas Keuchel, Derek Holland, and other big-name free-agent pitchers sign. At that point, the market for Kluber or Bauer will be stronger.

So there is still a chance that one of the two will be traded. But the Indians want a lot in return… a whole lot. They want someone they can put in the outfield immediately along with high-end prospects. That makes sense. Kluber has three years of team control, and Bauer has two. Either pitcher is a bargain for any team seeking an ace. The question is, who will be willing to give key pieces up.

The LA Dodgers have been heavily engaged in talks with the Indians for some time. It’s almost a given that the Indians are asking for their top prospect, Alex Verdugo in return. Verdugo hit for power in the minors and has shown good promise in his 30 plus MLB games. The kid is a top-level prospect (number 32 on MLB.com’s Top 100 prospect list). An outfielder like that can change the Tribe’s offensive look, entirely.

Trading Corey Kluber; however, will not make this team any better. You simply aren’t going to get his level of production from anyone else.  Right now the Indians have just two prospects in the top 100. The best being RHP Triston McKenzie.

McKenzie is just another piece in what is a loaded position for the Indians. Why are they so inclined to trade a pitcher? Because they have so many. Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber are taking the next step in the MLB. Carlos Carrasco provides veteran leadership (and he just signed an extremely team-friendly deal). Cody Anderson has returned full health and could see some starts this year.

So what I’m getting at is that trading a pitcher isn’t the worst idea. But it shouldn’t be Corey Kluber. If anyone is moved, the Indians should move Trevor Bauer. His two years of team control at a low price would be a great move for any team. The Indians don’t know what they may get from him this year and it poses a small risk.

Bauer had a career-year in 2018 and a lot of teams would be inclined to make a move for the outspoken righty. If the Indians are able to net a high-end prospect that could boost their outfield this year, they should go for it.

Next: Francona says Salazar won’t be ready to break camp

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The Indians haven’t been shy about making bold moves in recent years. Adding Edwin Encarnacion in 2017 was unlike them. Trading Edwin just two years later to acquire Carlos Santana was even bolder. Something tells me the bold moves won’t stop there.

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