MLB Trade Rumors: Indians' Corey Kluber Drawing Interest from Angels

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2019

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber throws against the Houston Astros during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, April 26, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Angels didn't sign Gerrit Cole, but they reportedly aren't done exploring the market for top-notch starting pitchers. 

According to Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, the American League West team has "expressed interest" in acquiring Cleveland Indians right-hander Corey Kluber via trade. Ardaya explained "the club has prioritized its pursuit of Anthony Rendon" but is looking into different options to improve the team, including Kluber.

It may seem strange for the Indians, a contender that has been in the playoffs in three of the last four years, to be looking to trade off one of its primary difference-makers, but it is apparently in selling mode at the Winter Meetings.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported they are also in "serious trade talks" with the Los Angeles Dodgers involving shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Cleveland's mindset could benefit both Los Angeles teams, as Kluber is under team control through the 2021 season and has been one of the league's best pitchers in recent years. He is a two-time Cy Young winner and three-time All-Star who finished with baseball's best ERA in 2017 at 2.25.

He helped lead the Indians to the World Series in 2016, won that ERA crown with a sparkling 0.87 WHIP in 2017 and finished the 2018 campaign with a 2.89 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 222 strikeouts in 215 innings.

However, injuries limited him to just 35.2 innings last year, so there are some health concerns for the Angels or other pursuers. He is a high-risk, high-reward option at 33 years old, but he is a clear-cut ace at his best.

Kluber could also help stabilize the starting rotation that will look to provide support to an offense featuring Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton and Albert Pujols, among others.