The Indians are still in discussions to move one of their top starters, and by all indications it’s sounding more and more like a deal might be coming sooner than later with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported early on Thursday that the Indians and Dodgers are chatting, and that “discussions continue” between the two teams for a deal that could send two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber out west.
The big player coming back to the Indians in the deal would be Yasiel Puig, who would fill a huge hole for the Indians and right away be penciled in as the teams’ everyday rightfielder.
Last season Puig in 125 games hit .267 with 23 homers and 63 runs batted in, and also added 15 steals.
By comparison, Michael Brantley, who played left field and will likely be gone via free agency, hit .309 with 17 homers and 76 RBI with 12 steals in 143 games.
Puig, also known as “The Wild Horse,” (a nickname given to him by legendary broadcaster Vin Scully) played for the Cuba national baseball team in the 2008 World Junior Baseball Championship, and came to the Dodgers in 2013.
In his six seasons at the Major League level, he’s a lifetime .279 batter with 108 homers and 331 RBI. His biggest power season was two years ago, when he hit 28 homers, driving in 74 runs and hit .263.
Before everyone jumps on the Indians in a deal like this, Morosi says that the Dodgers “would need to add at least one significant player in addition to Puig in order for the Indians to seriously consider moving Kluber.”
That makes sense, and one would think that the Tribe would be targeting either another outfielder, a top level prospect, or a pitcher in return who could help out a bullpen that will almost for sure lose both Cody Allen and Andrew Miller this offseason.
Two players that Morosi says keep your eyes out for that the Dodgers might be willing to part with is left-hander Alex Wood and right-handed prospect Yadier Alvarez.
Wood was an All-Star two years ago for the Dodgers, going 16-3 with an outstanding 2.72 ERA. He didn’t have as great of a year in 2018, going just 9-7, but still had a solid ERA of 3.68.
If the team moves Kluber and gets back a pitcher like Wood, their rotation could look like this – Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, Alex Wood, Shane Bieber.
Alvarez, according to scouting reports, has a plus-plus fastball, an excellent slider, and a changeup, and signed for a whopping $16 million back in 2015.
He came to the US in 2016, and has had a number of ups and downs and was even dangled in trade talks by the Dodgers last season. There’s concerns about his attitude, and a change of scenery might do the prospect good.
Alvarez was just recently added to 40-man roster for the Dodgers.
As has been stated all along, the Indians are not just going to give a pitcher like Kluber, or Carrasco or Bauer for that matter, away for nothing.
They have time on their side at the moment, and with the MLB Winter Meetings about a week and a few days away, expect a lot more rumors to pop up between not and the second week of December as the Indians continue to try and help out their roster.