Seattle Mariners Ranking 5 Potential Future Aces to Anchor Rotation
4. Corey Kluber
The Cleveland Indians are not hiding the fact that they’d like to trade Corey Kluber sooner than later. There were more than a few rumors this winter, connecting Kluber to the San Diego Padres. Cleveland is at the end of their window, and Kluber is making a lot of money (though still below his market value).
The team owner has already announced their intentions to let Francisco Lindor walk when he becomes a free agent, and co-ace Trevor Bauer won’t be far behind. As for Kluber, the 2-time Cy Young Award winner has 2 team options for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, worth a total of $36 million with just $1 million buyouts each season.
Price wise, there are few bargains as great as Corey Kluber. But he does have some warts. He just turned 33-years-old last week. He has racked up over 1,000 innings the past 5 years, his fastball velo is dropping, and his HR/FB ratio had jumped 3 percent over the past 2 seasons.
Still, Kluber may be sliding out of “ace” status but is still a high-level pitcher. Of course, for any team acquiring Kluber, they will have to determine what he will be for the next 2 years. But the buyouts mitigate a lot of the risk, and Kluber’s age may scare away other buyers.
This off-season, a few rumors regarding trade packages leaked. One such rumor had Kluber going to the Reds in a 3-team deal which would have cost Cincinnati Nick Senzel, a consensus Top 10 prospect in all of baseball.
Another rumor had the Indians linked to Padres OF Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe, both former top prospects who had some level of success at the big league level. Ultimately, Cleveland either thought the returns were too light or other teams thought the price tag was too heavy.
For Seattle, Cleveland would almost certainly ask for Jarred Kelenic. While Seattle would have little interest in that, they still have a wealth of good prospects to build a package around, including Justus Sheffield, Julio Rodriguez, Evan White, and even J.P. Crawford.
It is too early to actually build a trade package, but if the Mariners wanted to get involved, they have the pieces to make such a move.