Al's thoughts on Kluber's Cy Young victory, the future of the Indians roster, and the potential return of Justin Masterson.
Now that Corey Kluber has won the AL Cy Young award, the snarky comments about his imminent trade have already become commonplace in comments sections and on Twitter. But the fear behind the attempts at humor is unfounded, and for several reasons. The Indians have Kluber on control for another four seasons, and with Kluber still yet to reach arbitration, this winter seems a perfect time for he and the Indians to sign an extension, though it would have to be a pretty significant deal (in terms of years) to buy out even a couple years of free agency. Another reason why the Indians aren't trade Kluber any time soon is that they're in a pretty good place in terms of their roster turnover. Their three best position players (Michael Brantley, Carlos Santana, and Yan Gomes) are all under team control through at least 2017. Their current rotation (if you assume Kluber-Carrasco-Bauer-Salazar-House) is also under control through at least 2017. In other words, they will not lose anybody from their present core to free agency until after the 2017 season.
One issue (as always) is how the Indians will financially manage the next couple of seasons. As usual, having young (read: affordable) players from the farm system contributing at the major-league level will allow the Indians to keep expensive core players around and yet remain competitive, lowering the possibility that Corey Kluber would be traded in 2017 or 2018 in order to re-fill the farm system.
David Laurila gets lots of really good quotes from the GM Meetings (not to be confused with the December Winter Meetings). Some of the topics covered:
- Whether teams build rosters around their home parks, whether it be adjusting to a fast infield or a spacious outfield.
- Thoughts on the recent trend towards low-scoring games. With contact becoming a more desirable outcome, perhaps you'll teams value those types of players more.
- Why we're seeing dominant bullpens be the norm, not the exception.
- Whether MLB needs to adjust the grind of the regular season, particularly now that amphetamines are banned from the game. Do teams place a higher emphasis on bench players that could play regularly?
The injury should not affect next season (he should recover in 3-4 weeks), but the injury may make clubs even more reluctant to send their best players to play in these exhibition series.
Latest 40-man roster
There were no transactions affecting the 40-man roster over the last week, or even a minor-league/NRI signing, so no changes from last Sunday.