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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Terry Francona shares thoughts on trade rumors surrounding Indians

Terry Francona

The Cleveland Indians are a team that has been mentioned frequently this offseason when the topic of blockbuster trades comes up, but manager Terry Francona does not think there is a whole lot to any of that talk.

While speaking with reporters at the MLB Winter Meetings in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Francona was asked about the reports that stud pitchers Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, among others, could be on the move. He said the majority of those rumors are baseless.

The Indians are reportedly looking to trim payroll, so the possibility of trading Kluber or someone like slugger Edwin Encarnacion, who is scheduled to make more than $21 million in 2019, makes some sense. After signing starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco to a multi-year extension, Cleveland is said to be even more motivated to move Kluber or Bauer.

Depending on the return, trading Kluber or Bauer would seemingly make the Indians a worse team heading into 2019. Francona said he trusts that the front office is trying to improve, not sell off assets just to save money.

Kluber, who finished third in the AL Cy Young voting this year, is owed $17 million in 2019 and has club options of $15.5 million and $16 million in 2020 and 2021. He went 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA in 2018. While trading him would be a way to trim payroll, his contract is a bargain for a two-time Cy Young winner who is 32 and still at the top of his game.

We have heard of multiple teams who have engaged the Indians in trade discussions this offseason, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to make a major move. As the manager of the team, Francona would almost certainly prefer that they keep both Kluber and Bauer.

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