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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Francisco Lindor, Kyle Schwarber and More

Martin FennContributor IIDecember 17, 2019

Cleveland Indians' Francisco Lindor returns to the dugout after scoring on a solo home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

The first big trade of the 2019-20 MLB offseason came Sunday when the Cleveland Indians agreed to trade two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers.

Kluber's departure not only provided an interesting insight into how teams like the Rangers—who were below .500 this offseason—have been operating but also how the Indians and other teams with future payroll concerns are treating some of their star talent.

The Indians felt comfortable giving away Kluber's team-friendly contract to the Rangers in exchange for outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. and hard-throwing reliever Emmanuel Clase. While Clase, still just 21 years old, might be a future lynchpin in Cleveland's bullpen, Texas did not have to give away a single high-level prospect as part of the deal.

Here are some more MLB trade rumors involving Kluber's former teammate, Tribe shortstop Francisco Lindor, as well as Chicago Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber. 

    

Dodgers Discussed Francisco Lindor, Kluber in Same Trade

The Los Angeles Dodgers were in the market to trade for both Lindor and Kluber.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported the Dodgers engaged the Indians in talks that would have sent both superstars to L.A., but the Dodgers were reluctant to part ways with top prospect Gavin Lux in any such deal.

Lux is the No. 2 prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com. He earned a September call-up at the end of the 2019 season, slashing .240/.305/.400 with a pair of homers in 82 plate appearances. The 22-year-old also notched 10 plate appearances during the Dodgers' loss to the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series.

Rosenthal noted that the Dodgers feel Lux can be every bit as good as Lindor down the road, and he figures to see heavier time in the majors in 2020.

Nevertheless, acquiring both Lindor and Kluber might have been the superstar injection the Dodgers needed to put them over the top. Lindor has developed into one of the best two-way shortstops in the game, a true five-tool guy who hit 32 homers with an .854 OPS last year while also ranking seventh among shortstops with nine defensive runs saved, according to FanGraphs.

Kluber has been a menace on the mound when he is healthy. The veteran right-hander made just seven starts last season due to injury, but he ranked third in fWAR from 2014 to 2018 and would have been a deadly arm to pair with both Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw at the top of the rotation.

       

Schwarber Trade Unlikely Between Cubs and Yankees

Rosenthal also reported the New York Yankees have had discussions with the Cubs about left fielder Kyle Schwarber, but there is "no momentum" to the talks. 

The Yankees lack left-handed bats in the lineup even after reportedly re-signing Brett Gardner (via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com), but there is not a lot of room for Schwarber in a positional sense. The designated hitter spot is already taken by Giancarlo Stanton, and the Bronx Bombers could do a whole lot worse than a platoon of Mike Tauchman and Clint Frazier in left.

Schwarber's bat is appealing. The 26-year-old ranked 18th among all qualified hitters with a 151 weighted runs created plus (wRC+) value after the All-Star break en route to slashing .250/.339/.531 with 38 homers.

Kyle Schwarber would make for another slugger in the Yankees outfield, but he is likely not heading to New York.
Kyle Schwarber would make for another slugger in the Yankees outfield, but he is likely not heading to New York.Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

New York might also be able to pique Chicago's interest by dealing outfield prospect Estevan Florial, who could eventually fill a current need in center field. They might also be willing to move third baseman Miguel Andujar, which could give the Cubs greater leverage in a potential Kris Bryant trade.

But while Schwarber seemingly does not fit into the Yankees' current roster construction, he is likely indispensable for the Cubs. Chicago might not be able to re-sign Nicholas Castellanos due to payroll concerns, and the North Siders need productive bats in the lineup especially if they end up dealing Bryant or catcher Willson Contreras.

      

Indians Wanted 2 Top Prospects from Angels in Kluber Deal

The Los Angeles Angels were another team reportedly "in" on Kluber prior to the move that sent him to Texas. However, in this case, Cleveland's asking price was deemed too high.

Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reported that the Indians were asking for two of the Halos' top 10 prospects, including outfielder Brandon Marsh.

Whereas the Dodgers may have had the prospect capital to get a deal done with Cleveland while still retaining some semblance of a farm system, the Angels do not have that luxury. The Angels ranked 11th in Sam Dykstra's farm system ranking at the start of the 2019 season, but they are hoping to build sustainable excellence around Mike Trout and recent signee Anthony Rendon.

Marsh is the No. 2 prospect in Los Angeles' system. The youngster slashed .300/.383/.428 in 96 games at Double-A last season, and both he and top prospect Jo Adell figure to be on a fast track to the bigs to join Trout in the outfield.

The Angels will instead look for pitching elsewhere, perhaps in the form of Hyun-Jin Ryu or Jon Gray.

        

All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and all contract information via Spotrac unless otherwise noted.