In his latest article for MLB.com, Jon Morosi reports that the Padres are a “strong contender” to land starter Corey Kluber from the Indians. The Dodgers have been frequently linked to Kluber, but the Padres and Indians are currently engaged in trade talks. Morosi notes that the Phillies, Brewers, and Reds have also had trade talks with the Indians “to varying degrees.”
Kluber, 32, is a two-time AL Cy Young Award winner and would certainly provide a big boost to the Padres, who appear committed to contending after signing Eric Hosmer in February and Ian Kinsler last week. This past season, Kluber went 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings. He finished third in Cy Young balloting behind Blake Snell and Justin Verlander.
Kluber will earn $17 million this season, then has two club options for the 2020-21 seasons at $17.5 million and $18 million, respectively, each with $1 million buyouts.
Per Morosi, the Indians would prefer major league-ready talent in return, so the Padres could dangle a combination of Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, and Austin Hedges along with others. The Padres’ top-two prospects, Fernando Tatis, Jr. and MacKenzie Gore, are unlikely to be included in a deal involving Kluber.