What if Cleveland trades Corey Kluber?
Good day friends, it’s your old pal BeefLoaf and I figured I would write about something that caused many of you great excitement and me…..well, not so much excitement. WARNING the tweet below may cause Priapism. Proceed with caution!
Anywho, Buster Olney, take it from here…..
The big take away here is that the Cleveland Baseball Club would like to pare down their payroll some and see trading Corey Kluber (or others) as at least part of that grand plan. I’m not going to cry poor for the billionaire owners in question, if they don’t want to spend on their team, let’s leave it as their discretion, not fan shaming the fine people of Cleveland. This is a different tangent, but how about teams just say, “LOOK, we want to make more operating income than this, so we aren’t going to spend, we have the means to spend as much as we want on things because we are Billionaires, but we don’t give a fuck about spending more on this because it isn’t generating the operating income we would like.” Honesty is the best quality….anywho. Before we get to what a Kluber deal might look like in the current climate, let’s take a look at what losing Kluber might mean to the team on Lake Erie.
Last year’s standings….provided by FanGraphs
PythagPat ~ Record based on run differential, ie, if you smoothed out all the runs you scored and gave up, what would your record look like. Ie, the bigger the positive differential, the better the team.
BaseRuns ~ Record based on hypothetical run differential, based on underlying statistics, but same idea as Pythag, just it is using hypothetical runs.
Cleveland was fucking good….actually, they were fucking better than we even realize when you look at these other angles of measuring the season long performance. In other words, without any adjustments to the teams in the AL Central, they are back to being gigantic favorites to win the 2019 division. They are loaded on the pitching side and they have two young studs in the middle of the diamond in Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez. They have an excellent core.
Corey Kluber Steamer projection for 2019 is 4.8 fWAR, lets just round that shit to 5 WINS. 5 less wins on the 2018 Tribe leave them with only 86 wins,…..seemingly more catchable than before (although by those other measures of performance, they are still FAR and AWAY the best team in the division)……….but WAIT!!! This assumes that Kluber is replaced by some jamoch that has no business pitching in the major leagues. Someone better than 2018 Lucas Giolito albeit, but still someone that isn’t good. Well, that’s not likely to happen, in fact, what is more likely to happen is that some form of Danny Salazar will get first crack at that job, presuming health. I think yous (this is Bridgeport) remember Danny Salazar, he was a pretty decent pitcher for the Tribe back in 2016 / 2015. They also have their #1 prospect Tristan McKenzie who doesn’t seem very far from the majors either. In other words, losing Kluber would be a BIG DEAL for most teams, but when you play in the LOL AL Central and you have the depth that Cleveland has, you aren’t mere mortals, you are a team that is ready to move on such an odd mission.
Let’s assume from all of this though, that the 2019 Cleveland squad is 5 games worse than expected, lets assume EVERYTHING goes wrong. This would require a lot of work (and luck) by our White Sox to catch up. Indeed, I couldn’t agree more (I know they let Michael Brantley walk in free agency, shhhh, stay on point), 2019 still seems like a pipe dream even with significant moves. You at home are probably saying, “Beef, I know, but 2020 is supposed to be different, we’ll have Kopech and Cease and the wave of prospects behind them.” Oh yea, I forgot, it isn’t just like the Tribe are tossing Corey Kluber out, they actually get stuff back for him when they trade him. Kluber is owed $46.5M through 2021 (with cheap buy outs in 2020 and 2021 if disaster strikes and he gets injured), so basically he’s in mostly everyone’s price range. Also bad news is that the Braves and Yankees are both flush with prospects and are dying for the services of a Corey Kluber type hurler. Imagine a deal headed by Frazier and/or Andujar, or Florial from the Yankees or Austin Riley or Mike Soroka from the Braves…..so what I’m tryna say is that while 2019 might get a little easier for our boys (albeit the White Sox ain’t ready for that shit yet), 2020 and 2021 are going to get harder….possibly much harder.
I guess we’ll wait and see, but while some of you are celebrating this Cleveland “re-tooling”, I’m seriously concerned. Well, maybe I’ll just drown my sorrows in some McRibs and call it a day.