What Yankees Trade for Indians’ Ace Should Look Like
With the Yankees and Indians both in the American League and have faced each other in the playoffs, the Yankees would need to offer more than National League teams to pry away the former Cy-Young winner. But the Yankees could offer one of the best packages of MLB-ready talent, and top prospects, making it difficult for the Indians to pass up on this offer.
Clint Frazier, former top prospect and centerpiece of the Andrew Miller trade in 2016, goes back to Cleveland as the Indians reacquire “Red Thunder” who has seen his stock plummet in his time in New York. But Frazier has lightning quick bat speed, and has struggled to remain healthy which could take part in his poor play. But after an offseason to recover, Terry Francona can slot him as their starting outfielder in 2019. Chance Adams, a former top prospect and on the cusp of being MLB-ready received the taste of the big Leagues as a September call-up after posting impressive numbers in the 2016 and 2017 season for the Yankees’ minor league squad and a ceiling as a No. 3 starter. Kahnle struggled to remain healthy and when he was, he was unreliable or more suited for clean-up duties. But he pitched to a 2.59 ERA between his time with the Chicago White Sox and Yankees in 2017. Could he regain his form and become a viable bullpen arm for a bullpen needy Indians squad? Domingo German, 26, was knocked around a bit in 2018, posting a 5.57 ERA in 85.2 innings of work, 14 of which were starts. But German had ab impressive strike out rate of 10.7 per 9 innings, as well as a FIP of 4.39 which suggested his ERA was impacted by some bad luck. Could the Indians buy low on German in hopes of turning it around an at least become a useful bullpen arm.
Lastly, the Indians traded Yan Gomes, and are in need of a future backstop, how about Yankees’ second-round pick and #14 prospect Josh Breaux? He’s projects to have a nice bat speed with 55 power, and has a strong-arm despite having to improve on his accuracy. And at just 21 years old, young enough to be in the Indians’ future plan and to develop with the organization. Although it may seem like many risks are taken by the Indians, but Frazier is an everyday player, Adams can become one, Kahnle can be their bridge bullpen arm, German an experiment of starter and bullpen arm, and potential power bat backstop of the future for a 33-year old. Chernoff it’s okay to think twice, but make sure you get it done.
As for the Yankees, they get their bonafide ace at a below-market rate at 17.2MM in ‘19, with club options at $17.5MM in ‘20, and $18MM in ‘21. After seeing Patrick Corbin (6yr/$140MM) and Nathan Eovaldi (4 yr/$67.5MM) receive large contracts. Kluber whose the more prolific pitcher, with the better track record, not to mention a 3x-All Star, and 2x Cy-Young award winner. A Kluber-Severino-Tanaka-Paxton-Sabathia starting 5 would arguably be the best in baseball and as tough as they come in a playoff matchup. Kluber has pitched to a sub-3.00 ERA over the past 2 seasons, and 5 consecutive seasons pitching 200+ innings. Kluber would be a huge get for Cashman and the Yankees, he’s controlled until 2020 and would form a dynamic “core four” starting rotation with Kluber, Severino, Tanaka, and Paxton all locked up until at least 2020 and capable of being named as All Stars.