Indians not motivated to deal starting rotation
Listening to all offers, but pitchers key to staying in contention
CLEVELAND -- One of the reasons the Indians still believe they can climb back into contention this season is the strength of their starting pitching. The rotation's foundation is also the reason Cleveland feels it can compete for the postseason for the next several years.
Those are two reasons that the Indians are not looking to trade any of their starting pitchers right now.
"We have no motivation to move any of them," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said on Friday.
Reports have been swirling this week that Cleveland has shown a willingness to listen to offers for its starters, but that falls under the category of "due diligence" on the Tribe's part. The difference is that the Indians are not actively shopping any of their starters, who are each under contractual control for the next few years.
Multiple reports indicated that the Blue Jays talked to Cleveland about Carlos Carrasco, and FOXSports.com reported Friday that the Dodgers and Red Sox have also inquired about the Indians' starters.
Antonetti said the Indians have received calls on a variety of fronts, including the team's rotation.
"I think people around baseball recognize," Antonetti said, "that we have a really good and talented group of starting pitchers that are under control for the forseeable future. Those are very valuable players to have on any team. So, we've had a lot of calls about a lot of our players, our starting pitchers included, but players around the diamond.
"It's natural at this time of year for teams to reach out and express interest in a variety of different players. That's no different.
The 29-year-old Corey Kluber, who won the American League Cy Young Award last year, is owed $35.5 million through 2019, has team options that could keep him in the fold through 2021 and his contract has a max value of $77 million over seven years. Carrasco, 28, is owed $19 million theough 2018, has team options for '19 and '20 and his deal has a max value of $48 million over six years.
Starters Trevor Bauer and Danny Salazar are not eligible for free agency until 2021.
"We value that [group] greatly," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "They're young. They're under control. They look like their better days are ahead of them, and that's exciting. So, I think Chris was alluding, to get one of those guys, man you better [blow us away]. We're not looking to get rid of any of those guys. That's very valuable to us, and we know it."
As for what Cleveland is targeting as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, Antonetti stayed vague, but noted that the Indians are not very interested in rental players.
"We're open to a lot of different things," Antonetti said. "It may be easiest to answer what we're not focused on. I don't think we're focused on just bringing in players that are here just for the balance of the year. That's not where we've spent a lot of our energy -- on the rental players and players whose contracts expire at the end of the year.
"Short of that, we've discussed a wide range of things, and we'll continue to do that over the next seven days."