11:06pm: The Angels and Indians are “currently in discussions” regarding Kluber, but the Halos are facing competition from other teams, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. As Fletcher notes, if this trade happens, Kluber will reunite with former Indians pitching coach and current Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway.
8:05pm: The Angels lost the Gerrit Cole sweepstakes to the Yankees, but now the rotation-needy club could be zeroing in on a different high-profile starter. They’ve shown interest in Indians right-hander Corey Kluber, per reports from Joel Sherman of the New York Post and Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic. The Angels have also looked at fellow Indians righty Carlos Carrasco, according to Sherman.
The 2019 campaign was an unexpectedly rough go for both Kluber and Carrasco, who had been excellent in prior seasons. Carrasco missed a large portion of the season after a leukemia diagnosis, but he made an inspiring return as a reliever at the start of September. Meantime, Kluber sat out the final few months of the season after suffering a fractured right forearm May 1. Before that, the two-time Cy Young winner limped to an uncharacteristically bloated 5.80 ERA over seven starts and 35 2/3 innings.
Although last season was a struggle for Kluber and Carrasco, their track records suggest they could make for appealing targets for teams that don’t reel in any top free-agent starters. However, it’s not clear whether the Indians – longtime playoff contenders – are willing to part with either hurler. If they’re looking to shave salary and pivot toward a rebuild, though, dealing either could make sense. The 33-year-old Kluber could be a stopgap for an acquiring club, as he has just one more guaranteed season on his contract. He’ll earn $17.5MM in 2020, after which his employer will have to decide on an $18MM club option or a $1MM buyout for ’21. Carrasco, 32, is due $37.5MM through 2022, including a $3MM buyout for ’23.
Whether it’s Kluber, Carrasco or another starter(s), it does seem the Angels will have to make at least one more addition to their staff to join the just-acquired Dylan Bundy, Shohei Ohtani, Andrew Heaney and Griffin Canning. That should hold true even if the Angels manage to pick up a big hitter like Anthony Rendon or Josh Donaldson, the two best position players left on the board and a pair of players who have drawn their interest.