This just in: The Twins might have a path to the American League Central title. And the Cleveland Indians might help them get there.
This from an ESPN report by Buster Olney, which says that the Tribe won’t trade Francisco Lindor or Jose Ramirez, but just about everybody else is open for conversation.
Here’s an excerpt:
The Indians will hold on to shortstop Francisco Lindor and MVP candidate Jose Ramirez next season, but they have indicated to the industry that they are prepared to discuss other accomplished players, including 2017 Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, pitcher Carlos Carrasco, catchers Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez, slugger Edwin Encarnacion and second baseman Jason Kipnis, among others.
OK, that’s surprising.
How do you even explain that?
With Andrew Miller, Cody Allen and Michael Brantley hitting free agency, perhaps the Indians feel like they’re primed to take a big step back. To make that step back even bigger (in a self-inflicted way) would serve the purpose of restocking the prospect cupboard.
Still, it’s hard to think that the sizable gap tht exists between the Twins and Indians would evaporate overnight.
The most Kluber can earn on his current contract over the next 3 years is $52.5 million. That includes two club options in 2020 and 2021, and assumes he gets the performance bonuses tied to Cy Young votes. (The Twins, for what it’s worth, should be interested in that contract.)
The most Carrasco can earn on his current contract over the next 2 years is $22.75 million. That includes another club option next year, and assumes he gets the performance bonus tied to Cy Young votes. (The Twins should be interested in that contract.)
The “downside” of each contract is a minimal buyout number, so any team could cut bait almost as quickly as an NFL team over a contract they didn’t like.
The Twins will need to get better this winter. If the Indians also get worse, the Twins could make things interesting in the American League Central.