The Indians extended right-hander Carlos Carrasco this week, but his days of sharing a rotation with fellow righties Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer appear to be over. Cleveland is going to trade either Kluber or Bauer this offseason, though it’s not clear who’s more likely to go, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says (video link). Either of those aces would likely command an impressive return in a trade, with the 32-year-old Kluber controllable for three more seasons and Bauer (28 in January) eligible for arbitration for another two. The Indians’ goal in trading either Kluber ($17.5MM salary in 2019) or Bauer (a projected $11.6MM) would be to reduce payroll and increase their young talent base, notes Rosenthal. As a result, Rosenthal casts doubt on the possibility of the Indians attaching second baseman Jason Kipnis to Kluber or Bauer in a trade. Jettisoning the remaining $17MM on the underperforming Kipnis’ contract would better the Indians’ payroll outlook, but forcing a Kluber or Bauer suitor to take him would greatly damage the return they’d get for either pitcher.
More from the majors’ Central divisions…
- Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett carried his surprising 2017 breakout into last season, when he finished fifth at his position in fWAR (4.5). The Cincinnati native is now a year away from free agency, but with the Winter Meetings approaching, a potential extension isn’t one of the Reds’ main priorities right now, president Dick Williams explained Friday (via Mark Sheldon of MLB.com). “I wouldn’t expect it before the calendar turns [to 2019],” Williams said. “There’s too much up in the air in terms of roster construction going forward. I don’t think you’ll see us working on any extensions for anybody — that’s not just Scooter-specific. But I don’t see any other extensions happening in the next 30 days while we’re working out the roster.” Williams added that the Reds “will be careful about a lot of extensions,” so it’s unclear how serious they are about re-upping Gennett. Barring a new deal, Gennett’s projected to earn $10.7MM in 2019 – a healthy raise over the $5.7MM he pulled in during the career year he enjoyed in 2018.
- Unsurprisingly, the low-payroll Pirates aren’t in position to make any splashes at the Winter Meetings, Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Still, general manager Neal Huntington has interest in shortstops and left-handed relievers, per Biertempfel. Notably, though, it doesn’t appear the Pirates’ longstanding union with shortstop Jordy Mercer will continue, according to Biertempfel. Mercer has been with the Pittsburgh organization since it selected him in the third round of the 2008 draft, but the two sides have had almost no contact since the end of last season, Biertempfel reports.
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel looks at potential trade pieces at the major league level for the Brewers, naming Domingo Santana, Keon Broxton and Eric Thames as possible candidates. It’s “unlikely” the Brewers will retain both Santana and Broxton, as each outfielder is out of minor league options, notes Haudricourt, who adds that Thames “could be had in the right deal.” A first baseman/outfielder, Thames experienced a dip in production in 2018 and saw Jesus Aguilar take hold of the first base position in Milwaukee. The 32-year-old Thames is due $6MM in 2019, and with the Brewers having a limited amount of payroll room, getting his money off the books may help them upgrade elsewhere. Second base is one area Milwaukee could try to bolster, though considering high-end prospect Keston Hiura is looming, the team’s not going to make a long-term commitment there this offseason, Haudricourt relays.