DEC. 22: The Dodgers remain in talks with the Indians regarding Kluber, Morosi reports. LA isn’t open to trading slugger Cody Bellinger for Kluber, though it’s “willing to discuss” young outfelder Alex Verdugo, per Morosi. Regardless, it’s unlikely a Kluber deal will come together with the Dodgers or anyone else prior to Christmas, Morosi tweets.
DEC. 19: The Indians are still holding discussions with rival organizations about star right-hander Corey Kluber, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com (Twitter links). In particular, it seems the Reds are actively engaged with the Cleveland brass.
Needless to say, this isn’t the first we’ve heard of the Indians dangling a significant pitchers. Kluber and teammate Trevor Bauer have been in the rumor mill for much of the offseason.
Still, it’s significant to learn of ongoing talks, particularly since little has emerged on that front in the past weeks. The Indians’ strategy had been uncertain following a pair of contract-swapping moves — see here and here — that significantly reduced the team’s 2018 payroll. Easing the financial commitments, while staying ahead of an underwhelming pack in the AL Central, had been the seeming driving force behind the concept of dangling Kluber in the first place.
No doubt salary considerations will remain important, but the Indians surely have less pressure to pare costs. Parting with Kluber (or Bauer) will not be undertaken lightly. That explains the fact that, per Morosi, the Indians have asked about top Reds prospects Nick Senzel and Taylor Trammell in trade talks. Morosi himself had previously cast doubt on the possibility of a match between these clubs. The Reds, no doubt, are exceedingly hesitant to give up either of those two key young assets, though landing a controlled ace will necessarily sting.
A variety of other ballclubs remain engaged on Kluber, presumably. Morosi cites the Dodgers, Brewers, and Phillies as being “among the teams that have shown interest,” though it’s not clear whether that’s intended as an update on the current state of affairs or a glance back at the recent slate of rumors.