Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Mets have had discussions with the Indians about a possible trade for right-hander Corey Kluber. It’s not yet clear how far those talks have progressed, though they’re far from the only club to express interest in the hurler this offseason.
Kluber, 32, wrapped his eighth consecutive season with the Indians this year. He fell just shy of his third Cy Young Award after turning in a remarkable 20-7 record in 33 starts with a 2.89 ERA, 1.4 BB/9, and 9.3 SO/9 through 215 innings, the most by any AL starter in 2018. As his time in Cleveland continues to wind down, he has another $17.2 million coming his way in 2019, with a $17.2 million club option in 2020 and $18 million option in 2021.
While Kluber’s value dropped off a bit following some of the career-high totals he posted in 2017, there’s little doubt that he’d provide a significant boost to a rotation that ranked third-worst in the league during the 2018 season. As Feinsand points out, club GM Brodie Van Wagenen is “exploring every avenue” in the hopes of shoring up the roster by spring, and may be in the mood for some creative reshuffling that would involve dealing away right-hander Noah Syndergaard — for whom Kluber would be a natural replacement.
The question isn’t whether the Mets have any use for Kluber, however, it’s whether or not they have anything of value left to offer the Indians. The club already sacrificed two of their top-five prospects in a seven-player swap with the Mariners this week and appear to have relatively few players that the Indians would find appealing (though some have speculated a return for Kluber that includes outfielder Brandon Nimmo or Michael Conforto), in which case it would make the most sense to flip Syndergaard for the kind of prospect haul that would pique Cleveland’s interest.