Let’s round up the latest trade chatter from the central divisions:
- Though he had previously indicated otherwise, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (subscription link) that the Indians are exploring trade scenarios in which they’d dump a big contract (likely Jason Kipnis or Edwin Encarnacion) while dealing a top starter (Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer). Clearly, the Indians are still working through scenarios that’ll increase their roster flexibility. Infusing young talent and enhancing payroll flexibility would both be of interest, and it’s not clear that either is a particular priority. It’ll certainly be fascinating to see how the market develops for those high-end righties.
- In talks with the Dodgers, per Jon Morosi of MLB.com (Twitter link), the Indians are showing interest in highly regarded prospect Alex Verdugo. The Los Angeles outfielder is clearly due for a full crack at the big leagues after turning in consecutive strong seasons at the Triple-A level. Still just 22 years of age, Verdugo is noted for his high-end left-handed hit tool and contact ability — not unlike Michael Brantley, who recently wrapped up a successful tenure with the Cleveland organization and who is expected to land a large contract elsewhere.
- The Tigers are “determined to move on” from outfielder Nicholas Castellanos, Antony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. There’s initial interest from other clubs, per MLB.com’s Jon Morosi (via Twitter). It seems the Braves have at least “checked in” on the 26-year-old, who is projected by MLBTR to earn a $11.3MM salary in his final season of arbitration eligibility. The Atlanta organization has an opening in right field and has plenty of assets that’d be of interest to Detroit. Castellanos certainly has produced the kind of offensive output that’d be of interest — he’s slashing .285/.336/.495 over the past three seasons — but comes with anything but a sterling defensive reputation.
- Pirates backstop Francisco Cervelli emerged recently as a possible trade chip, but Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweets that the market situation may not be ripe for a move. With a $11.5MM salary and history of concussions, Cervelli seems not to be drawing the kind of interest that the Bucs would need to see to make a deal. While the Pirates obviously have confidence in their internal replacement options, Elias Diaz and Jacob Stallings, they surely also value Cervelli. After all, he just turned in one of the best seasons of any backstop in the game in 2018 and the Bucs made a notable pair of win-soon moves at the ’18 trade deadline.