The offseason for the Cincinnati Reds continues to be one of a lot of big talk. We will have to wait and see if there’s any big action. This morning, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported that the Cincinnati Reds are open to a blockbuster trade with the Indians for Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer.
#Reds are open to an intrastate blockbuster trade with #Indians for Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer, sources say, although there hasn’t been recent progress on a deal. Reds want a top pitcher and aren’t a favorite for No. 1 free agent Patrick Corbin. @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 4, 2018
This isn’t the first time that we’ve heard that the Reds were interested in Corey Kluber. Obviously they are interested – every team in baseball should be interested. He’s one of the best pitchers alive right now and has a good contract. This is the first time we have heard that Cincinnati was interested in Trevor Bauer. Of course, like Kluber, he’s one of the best pitchers alive and every team should be interested.
In both cases it would take a big return to get either pitcher back. Eugenio Suarez should be off of the table if you’re only getting back one pitcher and nothing else in the deal. But everyone else in the organization should probably be on the table. Kluber’s posted a 2.58 ERA in 418.2 innings over the last two seasons. He’s owed a whole lot of money, $17M in 2019, $17.5M in 2020 ($1M buyout), and $18M in 2021 ($1M buyout). But, for what you are getting on the mound, he’s worth every penny.
Trevor Bauer hasn’t been as good. Last year was his real breakout. In previous years he had always teased with his talent, but had never posted an ERA better than 4.19 in his four full seasons. In 2018 though, he took a big step forward and posted a 2.21 ERA in 175.1 innings. That came with 57 walks and 221 strikeouts, while he gave up just nine home runs. He’s under contract for two more seasons, but the prices aren’t quite known as he’s in his arbitration years. MLB Trade Rumors believes he’s going to get $11.6M for 2019. He’ll get more than that in 2020 before reaching free agency.
Corey Kluber seems to fit a little better due to the fact that he has an extra year of control. When looking at the Cincinnati Reds organization it seems that three years could be when everything could come together. The only thing that makes Trevor Bauer a potentially better fit is that he would be cheaper in both acquisition cost, and in future salary. The two years of team control makes it a little more risky.
Both pitchers, however, would instantly improve the rotation. And hopefully would only be move one of multiple moves still to be made. Having the Reds add just one pitcher, even if it were one as good as either of these two guys, likely isn’t going to be enough to push them into contention in 2019.