Corey Kluber Trade Talks Have Been More Talk than Trade

It appears another suitor has entered the Corey Kluber sweepstakes.

News broke Wednesday afternoon that the Padres – of all teams – were interested in Kluber’s services. San Diego would represent a sort of homecoming for Kluber, who was drafted by the Padres in the fourth round of the 2007 MLB Draft. Kluber was dealt to the Indians in a three-way deal in 2010 that sent Ryan Ludwick from the Cardinals to the Padres and sent Indians pitcher Jake Westbrook to St. Louis.

Indeed, the Indians have been regular trade partners with the Padres. Last summer, the Tribe acquired Brad Hand and Adam Cimber in exchange for top catching prospect Francisco Mejia. And Indians coach Sandy Alomar Jr.’s career with the Indians started when he was dealt from San Diego, which had a surplus at the backstop position, thanks to Benito Santiago.

And that’s really the same reason the Indians are trying to deal a pitcher. It’s the only area at which they have a surplus of talent, and of that talent, Kluber seems the best to deal. As I’ve outlined previously, you’ve got three years of him potentially under team control. He’s two years removed from a Cy Young Award and was a finalist last season as well. And at 32, he’s probably at his peak value.

But this, like everything else this offseason, is nothing but talk – at least so far. Unfortunately, journalism, particularly relating to sports or politics, isn’t so much writing about people doing things as it is writing about people considering doing things. Column inches and airtime need filled, journalists have sources, sources have information – or at least see the benefit of having that information out there.

For obvious reasons, negotiations can’t be done publicly. But information can be leaked out publicly. It started with the story that said the Indians would listen to offers for any of their starting pitchers. (Let me reiterate that they said they’d listen. They haven’t made a bad move recently, and I don’t believe they’d start with letting a starting pitcher even a little on the low side of the market.) Then, we’ve progressed through all the teams that have expressed interest. Initially, we heard about the Yankees. Then it was the Dodgers. Then it was the Reds. (I feel like the blockbuster last week between the Dodgers and Reds effectively took both teams out of the market for Kluber.) Now it seems to be the Padres.

This seems like a negotiation technique to show there are interested suitors – as there should be for a pitcher of Kluber’s caliber. But how many are out there with the immediate need as well as enough to make a satisfactory offer? In the end, and I’ve said this before too, I don’t see the Indians making a big move. At least not in the offseason.

Photo: Getty Images

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