The San Diego Padres figure to be more competitive in the National League West after signing Manny Machado, and they are reportedly interested in also adding a marquee starting pitcher.
On Monday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported sources have told him and colleague Dennis Lin the Padres have discussed a potential trade with the Cleveland Indians for starting pitchers. Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer were both brought up in discussions, although Rosenthal noted San Diego isn't comfortable with the asking price even though it has come down since past talks.
As a result, a trade is "unlikely to occur before Opening Day," per Rosenthal.
Bauer was an All-Star for the first time in his career in 2018 behind a 2.21 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 221 strikeouts in 175.1 innings. He carried the Indians rotation alongside Kluber for extended stretches with by far the best year of his career.
The right-hander has been in the major leagues since 2012 and never posted an ERA below 4.18 prior to the 2018 campaign.
Kluber is the more established option as a three-time All-Star who won the 2014 and 2017 American League Cy Young Awards. It is a testament to his individual brilliance that a 2.89 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 222 strikeouts in 2018 all represented a step in the wrong direction from his 2017 campaign (2.25/0.87/265).
Bauer, 28, is younger than the 32-year-old Kluber, and it is fair to worry about some wear and tear on the latter after he threw more than 203 innings in each of the last five years. Still, either would be a significant boost for a Padres starting rotation that was a mere 27th in the league in ERA last season.
While it doesn’t appear as if San Diego will be making a trade for one of Cleveland’s aces, the fact it is still in discussions suggests the team is looking for ways to improve as the season approaches.