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Here's why Kluber, Bauer will remain with Tribe

December 27, 2018

One of the most tantalizing names on this offseason's trade market has been Corey Kluber, as the Indians reportedly made him and fellow right-hander Trevor Bauer available for the right return. But sources from the club have told MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince that it's unlikely that either of them will be

One of the most tantalizing names on this offseason's trade market has been Corey Kluber, as the Indians reportedly made him and fellow right-hander Trevor Bauer available for the right return. But sources from the club have told MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince that it's unlikely that either of them will be traded before Opening Day.
The Indians have been active this offseason, clearing payroll space by trading Yan Gomes, Yonder Alonso and Edwin Encarnacion. Those moves may have alleviated any possible need for the Tribe to consider shopping Kluber and Bauer. Castrovince noted on MLB Network on Thursday that Cleveland has probably cleared somewhere between $18 million and $21 million, which could be used to upgrade the outfield and the bullpen.
"Things are always in movement this time a year, we know that, there's always one phone call that can be made and change everything," Castrovince said.
Nevertheless, he added that the payroll room the Indians have created gives them the flexibility to consider a Kluber or Bauer trade if they get a haul commensurate with how much they value the hurlers, as opposed to feeling a need to deal them.
Kluber, 32, is one of the game's elite starting pitchers, with two American League Cy Young Awards to his name. Over the past three seasons, he posted a 2.77 ERA while striking out 29 percent of the batters he faced.
Bauer, who turns 28 next month, had a breakout season in 2018, posting a 2.21 ERA with 221 strikeouts over 28 appearances (27 starts). The lowest ERA he had posted in a season prior to that was 4.18, in '14.
Former MLB general manager Jim Bowden discussed the status of Kluber and Bauer on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM on Thursday, suggesting Cleveland could trade Kluber and still be in position to win another AL Central crown in 2019.
Should they get the type of haul they're looking for in return from a team like the prospect-rich Padres, Bowden said, the Indians could very well make such a move, which could set them up to continue contending over the long term. MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported Wednesday that San Diego was in discussions with Cleveland regarding Kluber.
That being said, however, Bowden added that he thinks both Kluber and Bauer will be in the Tribe's Opening Day starting rotation next season.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.