Shin-Soo Choo hoping to move to a better team

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Via Paul Hoynes at the Plain Dealer is a story in the Korea Times in which Shin-Soo Choo is quoted as saying “if I could move to a better team, I could generate a better record and improve more.”

Seeing as though Choo is only in his first year of arbitration eligibility with the Indians, such sentiments are a bit premature. They’re also the sort of thing that usually causes controversy. For what it’s worth, however, Indians GM Chris Antonetti is blowing it off, saying that he met with Choo just before the end of the season and
talked to him again on the phone when he returned home to Arizona:

“During those conversations, Choo expressed his passion for winning in
Cleveland,” said Antonetti. “I will rely on what Choo told me directly
rather than translated comments through a third party.”

Stuff gets lost in translation, so that’s probably the right tack to take. Even if what Choo is quoted as saying is true. And even if what Choo is quoted as saying is what he actually said.

Report: Indians, Padres still talking about starting pitching trade

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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.

The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.

Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.

Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.

The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.