Is a Bauer or Kluber trade as likely as it seems?

The Indians don't have to trade either starting pitcher

James Rapien
December 08, 2018 - 3:58 pm
Oct 8, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (47) throws a pitch in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros during game three of the 2018 ALDS playoff baseball series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaz

© Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Will the Indians trade Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer?

That’s a question that every Indians fan is asking and plenty of other baseball fans are too. We discussed their value yesterday and why the Tribe should ask for a king’s ransom in return for either player.

Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com isn’t convinced that the Indians will trade Bauer or Kluber. Castrovince talked with Alyson Footer about it on the MLB Extras podcast.

“I had a couple people tell me that it feels most likely that they would just move Gomes, save a few bucks, apply that money elsewhere and keep the starting pitching intact because that’s a signature strength of this ball club,” Castrovince told Footer.

That wouldn’t be a surprise, especially with Edwin Encarnacion generating interest on the trade market. Castrovince seems to think the Indians would have to be blown away by an offer for either starting pitcher.

“Bauer and Kluber are extremely valuable in the trade market, even though it has become a bullpen oriented game,” Castrovince said. “I think that only accentuates the value of guys who are true horses – that’s what Bauer and Kluber are. I don’t put it past them to move one of those guys, maybe even as soon as the winter meetings.”

 Obviously a trade could still happen, but it doesn’t seem as likely as most make it seem. You may be willing to entertain offers on your house or car, but that doesn’t mean you have to sell. The Indians are in a great position. They have the leverage. They have assets that other teams want.

“Bauer and Kluber are probably 1 and 1A, whatever order you want to put them in, at the top of the trade market,” Castrovince continued. “I’m sure the offers are enticing, it’s just a matter of do they pull the trigger?”

The Indians should head into the Winter Meetings with confidence. The same confidence that everyone wants when they go to a car dealership. You may be interested in buying a vehicle, but you want the flexibility to walk away from a deal you aren’t comfortable with. No one wants to make a trade or buy a car out of desperation.

The Indians have two reliable, high-end starting pitchers that they’re open to trading. If there isn’t a deal they like, then they can walk away feeling great about a starting rotation featuring Carlos Carrasco, Kluber and Bauer.

Trading Yan Gomes gave them a little flexibility for 2019. Maybe they can add bullpen help or an outfielder with the extra money. They could still deal Encarnacion for a piece. It would probably free up plenty of salary – he’s set to make $20 million in 2019.

The Indians are in a great spot, which should make the next few weeks extremely interesting.