Welcome back to the Ken Rosenthal Tweet Extrapolation Corner, where I take Ken Rosenthal tweets and turn them into #content.
Today we have the ever evolving will they/won’t they carousel of the Indians and their big three starting pitchers: Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Trevor Bauer. First, it sounded like the Indians already had Kluber’s bags packed and on a plane to Los Angeles. Then, it was all but inevitable that Trevor Bauer would be the one dealt with his higher upside and lower cost (thus, higher return).
Either way, Carlos Carrasco doesn’t seem like he’s going anywhere, and even less so if he’s willing to sign an extension.
#Indians would not trade Carrasco this off-season if he agreed to extension, sources say. If CLE moves a starter, as it has indicated it will, choice will come down to Kluber (3 years control) or Bauer (2). Bauer has said he will not sign extension, preferring to go year-to-year.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 30, 2018
One of the first things I always do with trade rumors is try and find out which direction it came from. Did the teams trying to get a player leak this because they didn’t get who they wanted, or did the Indians leak it for some kind of edge? In this case, it sounds like the Indians, and it sounds almost like low-key extortion.
“Hey Carlos we know you love it here and the fans love you and your family is now rooted in Cleveland, sure would be a shame if we were you ship you to the other side of the country for an outfielder. Why don’t you go ahead and sign on this dotted line oh by the way we’re going to make this public so everyone knows we’re so kind and generous.”
Of course, I have no way of knowing that. Maybe Carlos’ agent let it slip, maybe Ken just has the Indians clubhouse bugged, I don’t know. Either way it sounds like Carrasco is the pitcher most likely to be in Cleveland in 2018 — although I’m still holding onto my hope that all three will remain, despite the rumors.
Currently, Carrasco has two years left on the very team-friendly contract that he signed with the Indians back in 2016. He’s owed $9.75 million in 2019 and $9.5 million in 2020 with a $662,500 buyout option for the club.
Trevor Bauer is heading into arbitration three in 2019 and arbitration four in 2020 and he won’t be cheap in either of them. He’s also publicly said he won’t sign a long-term deal. It’s nothing against the Indians, he just wants to ride out his career on one-year deals and play where and how he wants.
Corey Kluber makes the most sense to trade for a team like the Indians (assuming the have to trade any of them). He’s 32, making up to $52.5 million over the next three seasons before buyouts, and he’s shown the slightest signs of a decline — at the very least, a new way of dominating that involves fewer strikeouts and fewer walks. He’s already on a pretty team-friendly deal considering the Indians have only paid him $23.5 million to date for his four years of post-arbitration service, pair of Cy Youngs, a couple great playoff performances, and multiple 220+ strikeout seasons.