Through the first month of MLB free agency, the Philadelphia Phillies have struck out when it comes to acquiring a quality left-handed starting pitcher.
At the beginning of this month, they missed out on Patrick Corbin, who signed a six-year, $140 million deal with the Washington Nationals. The Phillies were reportedly not willing to go past a five-year deal for the 30-year-old southpaw.
Then to make matters worse, they did not sign J.A. Happ, who re-signed with the Yankees for a two-year deal. Happ reportedly wanted a three-year deal.
With all that being known, the only options the Phillies have left on the free agent market are Dallas Keuchel and Yusei Kikuchi. Outside of free agency, Philly is reportedly interested in trading for the Texas Rangers starting pitcher.
However, when you compare Minor to Corbin, Happ or Keuchel, he really does not move the needle. But there is one available trade that could move the needle and net the Phillies a top-tier pitcher this offseason.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported on Wednesday that the Phillies along with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Cincinnati Reds have shown interest in trading for Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber.
During the Winter Meetings last week, Morosi reported that trade talks involving Kluber had intensified. The Indians are currently looking for a young outfielder in a package for the 32-year-old starting pitcher.
For a team such as the Phillies, they have a couple of young outfielders already at the MLB level, which could interest the Indians. Just last week, Philadelphia signed veteran outfielder Andrew McCutchen to a three-year deal to play either corner outfield position.
As of right now, McCutchen would be the team’s starting right fielder, which means Nick Williams could be used as a potential trade chip. However, things could drastically change in the outfield if the Phillies end up snagging superstar Bryce Harper. If that were to happen, it means that Odubel Herrera could also be dealt in a trade.
Nevertheless, Kluber would be a dynamite addition to a Phillies’ starting rotation, which already has Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta. This past season, the former two-time AL Cy Young Award winner had a record of 20-7 with an ERA of 2.89 and 222 strikeouts in 215 innings pitched.
Over the last five seasons, Kluber has been one of the most dominating pitchers in baseball, averaging 17 wins with an ERA of 2.85. In addition to his fantastic stats, what also makes Kluber attractive, as a trade candidate is that he is under team control until 2021.
We shall see how everything pans out with Kluber as Philly has tough competition in the Reds, Dodgers and possibly the New York Yankees, who all could give up some of their top minor league outfield prospects.