The Indians continue to explore trade scenarios involving their veteran players, including some three-team proposals involving Edwin Encarnacion, Yonder Alonso, and Yandy Diaz, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The three-team discussions are mostly about unloading salaries, which is why Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer have “for the most part” not been involved in the multi-team talks, Hoynes notes. In general, Cleveland is exploring any and all possible options with their veteran players as the team looks to thread the needle between staying competitive in 2019 while still freeing up payroll space both for next season and in the future.
The Tribe was linked to Carlos Santana in trade rumors yesterday, and a reunion with their former first baseman would be possible if Cleveland was able to offload Encarnacion or Alonso in another trade (or potentially maybe even the same trade, if the Mariners were also involved in a three-team swap). Santana has already changed teams once this winter and continues to be a popular trade target given that the Mariners are another team looking to cut payroll. In the latest update, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that Santana could possibly be traded over the next few days.
If Santana did return to Cleveland, some financial juggling would likely have to take place due to the money involved with all of the first basemen. Santana is owed $40MM over the next two seasons, while Encarnacion is owed $25MM through 2019 (a $20MM salary in 2019 and a $5MM buyout of a $20MM club option for 2020) and Alonso $8MM in 2019, plus a $9MM vesting option for 2020 based on plate appearances and a clean physical. In reports from earlier this week, Hoynes suggested that the controllable Diaz could be added to a deal involving one of these larger salaries in order to make the salary hit more palatable for another team.
Speaking of big contracts, Hoynes also notes that Cleveland has been “linked” to Padres first baseman/outfielder Wil Myers in trade rumors. That would be an even more surprising addition for the cost-conscious Tribe to make, and it would require even more salary-shifting given that Myers is owed $64MM through the 2022 season. It isn’t clear if the Indians were strongly pursuing Myers or just doing their due diligence in overall talks with the Padres. Hoynes mentions that the Tribe has interest in some of the MLB-ready young players in San Diego’s organization, though there has been “little headway” in those discussions.
There has also been “little interest” in Jason Kipnis as the Tribe tries to market the veteran second baseman/outfielder. Given that Kipnis has posted below-average hitting numbers in each of the last two seasons, it isn’t surprising that the Indians are struggling to find a trade partner, especially given the $17MM remaining on Kipnis’ contract.