The Winter Meetings are in full swing and the Cincinnati Reds lead the way in rumored transactions. One of the rumors swirls around the Reds acquiring one of Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. There’s a piece of this rumor that is baffling to me.
James Rapien, as many of you know, was the host of Locked on Reds. He is now in Cleveland reporting for the Indians and Cavaliers. He tweeted earlier today about how the Indians should require a king’s ransom for one of the two aces. I totally agree with him. There’s a piece that’s missing though.
It’s easy for fans and media-types to label players with certain trade values, but what do the actual teams think of them? That isn’t something we learn until a deal is struck, but we can discern bits of information from rumors and reports. It has been frequently reported that the Indians are shopping the two pitchers. Many teams are in on the “sweepstakes” and are vying for their new staff ace in either Kluber or Bauer. The price should be high, but is it really?
Rarely do reports about a team shopping players that are talked about on a daily basis yield such lavish returns. Think of the hubbub around Aroldis Chapman before the Reds traded him to the Yankees. Sure, he had some off-field baggage, but his talent hadn’t waned any, at the time. The Reds currently do not have anyone from that trade left on the roster. They settled for pennies on the dollar. The Marlins said how they may, or may not, be shopping J.T. Realmuto at the beginning of this offseason, in order to drive up interest and the price. Currently, reports are the Marlins are trying to finish off a trade involving one of the best catchers in the game, presently. Due to this, the reports are his asking price has lowered. Increased frequency of trade talks seems to equal decreased asking price.
Of course, the Indians could just pull them off the block at any time, given the years of team control left with each player, but what will that do? Is there a sort of head nod and handshake agreement between the pitchers and the organization? If they are not traded before the season, do they just let bygones be bygones and roll with the year? Neither is the type of player that would be described as a diva, but think for a minute. Put yourself in their shoes. Their humans, too, after all.
If your boss told you that they were looking to move you to a different department/company, but only if it made them better, how would you take that? You definitely wouldn’t ignore it. Now, maybe they are more apt to trade Bauer than Kluber, in this scenario, because he is the wily vet more use to dealing with the business of the game. That being said, I find it hard to believe that with all of these reports, both pitchers will be unfazed.
Now, bit of a disclaimer, this is more speculative and thought provoking than an actual report of news. It is worth considering, though. I do not think the Indians are so rock solid in their demands for a fortune that they would completely pull the plug on trades.
The Winter Meetings press on.
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