Corey Kluber

Phillies and Indians match up very well for a big trade

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Phillies and Indians match up very well for a big trade

There have been plenty of starting pitchers connected to the Phillies this offseason. There was James Paxton, before the Yankees trade. Robbie Ray. Madison Bumgarner. Zack Greinke.

Patrick Corbin, of course. The top free-agent lefty was in Philly on Tuesday.

Keep an eye on the Cleveland Indians. The Phillies and Indians match up as well for a big trade as any two clubs in baseball. 

Why? Because the Phillies need starting pitching and the Indians need outfielders. Those just so happen to be areas of depth for the other team.

The three Indians pitchers potentially available for a trade are Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer. 

First, their contract situations

Corey Kluber (entering age 33 season)
2019: $13M*
2020: $13.5M
2021: $14M club option

Carlos Carrasco (age 32 season)
2019: $9M
2020: $9.5M club option

Trevor Bauer (age 28 season)
2019: 3rd year of arbitration ($11.6M projection)
2020: 4th and final year of arbitration ($15-17M)
2021: Free agent

There's a lot to analyze here. Kluber has been the best of the three, Bauer is the youngest, Carrasco is the cheapest. It's hard to gauge who Cleveland will be most willing to deal. Bauer's production isn't far behind Kluber's at this point after his major strides in 2018. Bauer was 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA, had the lowest home run rate in the AL, and struck out 221 in 175 innings.

Yet Bauer might be the one the Indians decide to deal. It would be selling high, and they'd avoid the rising cost of his services. Bauer's personality is also ... out there. He's not necessarily a distraction, but he's very opinionated, tweets crazy stuff at times, and his disagreements with the Diamondbacks' front office played a role in his being traded to Cleveland.

Carrasco the best bet

Of the three, I'd go after Carrasco, who the Phillies traded for Cliff Lee way back in 2009. Carrasco is so good, so consistent, so underrated. 

His ERA the last five seasons: 3.38, 3.29, 3.32, 3.63, 2.55.

His WHIP: 1.13, 1.10, 1.15, 1.07, 0.99.

His strikeouts per nine innings: 10.8, 10.2, 9.2, 10.6, 9.4.

His walks per nine: 2.0, 2.1, 2.1, 2.1, 1.9.

Carrasco is a model of consistency, and he's performed like this in the tougher league. He misses so many bats. He can dominate one game with his fastball, the next with his changeup and the next with his slider and curveball. His arsenal is vast and his ability to adjust is what should make talent evaluators confident he can remain successful into his mid-30s. Watching him dominate the lowly White Sox, Royals and Twins in recent years, one envisions Carrasco blowing through the Marlins' and Mets' lineups with regularity.

What would it cost?

The Indians have a giant hole in the outfield. If the season opened tomorrow, their starters would be Tyler Naquin, Greg Allen and Leonys Martin as they await the return of Bradley Zimmer, who so far hasn't met expectations. That legitimately might be the worst outfield in baseball.

Fortunately for the Phillies, they have some young and talented outfielders and a real shot to replace one of them with Bryce Harper. 

The Phillies could pique the Indians' interest with a package including Odubel Herrera or Nick Williams. It would likely cost more — perhaps a package of Williams, Vince Velasquez, a prospect, and either Aaron Altherr or Jerad Eickhoff for Carrasco. Such a trade would be beneficial to both sides — the cost-conscious Indians get a young, cheap outfielder who's better than what they have. They'd also add some upside and create more depth either in the outfield or rotation.

Even if the Phillies don't get Harper, there are more solid outfielders available in free agency than there are pitchers like Carrasco. 

The biggest roadblock will be what other teams can offer. Carrasco's talent and contract make him the kind of pitcher every team should be after, big market or small, legit contender or not. 

The Phils are just in a unique position with regards to these trade talks because they could part with two outfielders for Carrasco (if that's what it takes) and still be a vastly better team in 2019.

MLB Notes: Tigers place 2B Ian Kinsler on 10-day disabled list

MLB Notes: Tigers place 2B Ian Kinsler on 10-day disabled list

CHICAGO -- The Detroit Tigers placed Ian Kinsler on the 10-day disabled list because of a strained left hamstring ahead of their doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.

Outfielder JaCoby Jones was recalled from Triple A Toledo to fill the roster spot. He was scheduled to start the first game of the twin bill in center field.

Kinsler sat out five games because of the same injury this month. He has a .239 batting average, four home runs and 11 RBIs in 41 games this season.

Also, the Tigers acquired the contract of pitcher Arcenio Leon and Chad Bell was optioned to Toledo. Bell pitched 2 1/3 innings on Friday. Pitcher William Cuevas was designated for assignment.

Leon spent the 2016 season in the Mexican League before signing as minor league free agent last winter. He'd be making his major league debut.

Indians: Ace starter Corey Kluber expected to rejoin rotation next week
CLEVELAND -- Corey Kluber, sidelined most of the month with a strained lower back, is expected to rejoin the Cleveland Indians rotation on Thursday against Oakland.

Cleveland's ace right-hander hasn't pitched since May 2 when he left his start against Detroit after three innings. He threw five scoreless innings for Double-A Akron on a minor league rehab assignment Friday.

Kluber is 3-2 with a 5.06 ERA in six starts. He pitched 249 1/3 innings last season, including 34 1/3 in the playoffs. Kluber also pitched on three days rest three times during the postseason, two coming against the Chicago Cubs in the World Series.

Kluber was 18-9 with a 3.14 ERA and two shutouts in the regular season and went 4-1 with a 1.83 ERA in six playoff starts. He won the AL Cy Young Award in 2014 and was third in the voting last season.

Indians manager Terry Francona didn't say whose spot Kluber will take in the rotation.

Padres: OF Manuel Margot placed on 10-day DL with calf strain
WASHINGTON -- The San Diego Padres placed Manuel Margot on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right calf before Saturday's game against the Washington Nationals.

The centerfielder left Wednesday's game with calf soreness. He was in a walking boot ahead of Friday's series opener.

Second on the team in at-bats, the 22-year-old Margot is batting .259 with four home runs and 13 RBIs.

"He's just sore right now," Padres manager Andy Green said. "He'll take off four-to-five days and keep the workload really minimum. After that, see how he progresses."

Outfielder Franchy Cordero was called up from Triple-A El Paso for his major league debut. He is expected to start Sunday and receive much of the playing time in center field.

Kluber, Indians beat Cubs 7-2, now lead World Series 3-1

Kluber, Indians beat Cubs 7-2, now lead World Series 3-1

CHICAGO -- Corey Kluber earned his second win in this World Series and the Cleveland Indians moved within one victory of their first championship since 1948, routing the Chicago Cubs 7-2 Saturday night with home runs by Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis.

Leading the Series 3-1, Cleveland can finish off it at Wrigley Field on Sunday night, when Trevor Bauer starts for the Indians and Jon Lester for the Cubs.

Kluber limited Chicago to five hits in six innings, becoming the first pitcher to win Games 1 and 4 since Cincinnati's Jose Rijo in 1990.

Santana's homer off John Lackey and a run-scoring throwing error by third baseman Kris Bryant on Kluber's infield hit gave Cleveland a 2-1 lead in the second.

Francisco Lindor added an RBI single in the third, Lonnie Chisenhall hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth off Mike Montgomery, and Chicago native Kipnis blew open the game with a three-run homer against Travis Wood in the eighth.