Sunday, December 15, 2019

MLB Trade Review: Rangers acquire Kluber



         The Texas Rangers have acquired RHP Corey Kluber and cash from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for RHP Emmanuel Clase and OF Delino DeShields Jr.

          The reaction that most casual baseball fans had is that the Indians got fleeced. That could be true. Kluber is a two time Cy Young winner, and DeShields is a career .246 hitter. But there are a lot of concerns entering 2020 with Kluber. He is 33 and will turn 34 on April 10. His velocity has been down in 2018 and 2019. To start 2019, Kluber had a 5.80 ERA in his first seven starts. He was then hit by a comebacker in that seventh start, fracturing his pitching arm. He did not return for the rest of the season, ending his nine year Indians career. His 3rd place Cy Young finish the year before makes the return seem even more disappointing. Kluber has a career 3.16 ERA with 1461 strikeouts in 1341.2 innings, and a 2.99 FIP. The Rangers need pitching bad with only Mike Minor and Lance Lynn making 20 starts. Kluber is not exactly a third starter, but a Lynn-Minor-Kluber led rotation could be dangerous, if there is any help behind them.

           In return, the Indians get an interesting young player in Emmanuel Clase. Clase will turn 22 in Spring Training. He often hits over 100 mph on his cutter, hitting as high as 102. He had a 2.31 ERA with 21 strikeouts and one save in 23.1 innings in 2019, his first taste of MLB action. He finished seven games for the Rangers, as they were perhaps setting him up for a closer role with Shawn Kelley heading out and Jose LeClerc coming off a rough season. In the minors in 2019, Clase had a 2.82 ERA with 50 strikeouts in 44.2 innings with 12 saves.

          The son of the former major leaguer with the same name, DeShields has struggled to hit at the major league level, occasionally sending him back to the minor leagues. However, DeShields is very fast. In 118 games, DeShields stole 24 bases. He has 106 career stolen bases, with just 18 home runs. He hit four home runs with a .249 batting average in 2019. In 15 AAA games, DeShields stole eight bases and hit three home runs. He can be a fourth outfielder or starter for a weak Indians outfield. His career OPS of .668 is terrible, though.

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