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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.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.