We might soon see a blockbuster between Ohio’s two MLB teams. The Cincinnati Reds are interested in Corey Kluber and according to a report, the Cleveland Indians like Cincinnati’s top prospects.
Jon Morosi reports that the Indians have interest in third baseman Nick Senzel and outfielder Taylor Trammell, who finished 2018 as the top-two prospects in the Reds’ organization.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 19, 2018
It remains somewhat confusing that Cleveland is really shopping Kluber. That said, this would be a big deal.
Injuries limited Senzel to only 44 games in 2018. But he was very effective when on the field. He hit .310/.378/.509 with six home runs in only 171 at-bats for Triple-A Louisville. Trammell, meanwhile, hit .277/.375/.406 with eight home runs and 25 steals in 110 games for Daytona, Cincinnati’s Advanced-A club.
Senzel would be the more immediate payoff for the Indians. He’d likely either make the Opening Day roster, or debut shortly thereagter. Trammell would probably spend a little more time in the minors with a Major League ETA of sometime in 2020.
The trade makes sense for Cincinnati. As good as he is, the Reds already have a strong infield. Even if they lose Scooter Gennett to free agency, three of Cincinnati’s other top-eight prospects are infielders who could eventually replace him.
Additionally, the Reds have an offense that can compete for a playoff spot in 2019. The big question mark is the pitching. Kluber posted a 20-7 record with a 2.89 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and a 9.3 K/9 rate in 2018. Since 2014, Kluber has gone 83-45 with a 2.85 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, a 10.1 K/9 rate, and has finished in the top-nine of AL Cy Young voting each year, winning twice (2014, 2017).
He alone may not fix Cincinnati’s pitching woes. But he’d be a huge step in the right direction.