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Report: Mets have discussed potential trade for Corey Kluber

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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.

Cardinals extend José Martínez through 2020

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First baseman/outfielder José Martínez agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals on Saturday, per a team announcement. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Martínez will receive $3.25 million in the deal plus incentives if he earns a more stable place within the starting lineup.

Martínez, 30, played 887 games in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Cardinals at the tail end of the 2016 season. The veteran first baseman has been nothing but productive in the three years since his debut, however, and turned in a career-best performance in 2018 after slashing .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 plate appearances. While he brings some positional flexibility to the table, he’ll be forced to compete against Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill for a full-time gig in right field this year, as Paul Goldschmidt currently has a lock on first base.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the extension wasn’t solely precipitated by Martínez’s productivity in the majors, but by a competing offer from an unnamed Japanese team over the offseason. Goold adds that Martínez would have earned “significantly more than he would in the majors” had the club sold his rights. In the end, they ultimately elected to ink him to a more lucrative deal themselves. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2020.