The Indians' offseason agenda has turned to Carlos Carrasco. The club is actively engaged in negotiations for a contract extension with the star right-hander, a source confirmed to MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince, which could affect how it navigates through the rest of the offseason.
If a deal with Carrasco is completed, the Indians -- who by many reports are intent on trading a starter this offseason -- would instead choose between dealing away Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer, per MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal. The Indians would not attempt to trade Carrasco after a new deal was in place.
On Thursday, Bauer, who has two years of club control remaining before he becomes a free agent, said that he does not intend to sign a long-term contract with Cleveland, opting instead to go year to year, per Rosenthal. USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported earlier this week that the club is much more inclined to deal Bauer than Kluber, the latter of whom has three years of club control remaining with a $17.5 million option for 2020 and an $18 million option for '21, with a $1 million buyout for each year.
Multiple reports in recent weeks have indicated that the Tribe intends to deal away from some of its depth-heavy rotation in order to restock needs elsewhere, such as the outfield. However, any deal for one of its top starters would need to net enough of a return to keep the club competitive in 2019, according to multiple reports.
Should it deal one of its three premier starters, the Tribe would still have personnel that could fill in the rest of the rotation, such as Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber, Triston McKenzie and Danny Salazar -- should the Indians tender the oft-injured right-hander a contract for 2019.
Carrasco, who will turn 32 in March, has one year and $9.75 million left on his current deal, along with a $9.5 million club option for 2020. He initially signed a four-year, $22 million extension after his health scare relating to a heart condition in 2015.
Since '15, Carrasco has gone 60-36 with a 3.40 ERA over 119 outings while blossoming into one of the American League's elite starters. He's topped the 200-strikeout plateau three times in the past four seasons, including a career-best and team-high 231 in 2018, which was good for fourth most in the AL.