Pittsburgh Pirates: Should the team be in on Corey Kluber?


The Pittsburgh Pirates have a lot of moves to make yet this offseason.  Should the team be in on another starting pitcher?

While a starting pitcher is not at the top of the list of needs for the Pittsburgh Pirates, there is a good chance the team still looks to bring one in.  This became more likely when the Bucs traded away their fifth starter and veteran Ivan Nova.  Although the team signed pitcher Jordan Lyles and said he will have a chance to start, there still is the chance that the team brings in a more quality starter.

Part of this could be just normal Neal Huntington talk.  He often does not tip his hand in terms of player acquisitions, so there is the possibility that he just does not want it to be made public that the team is looking to bring in another starter.  Why put it out there and set an expectation if the team is not going to be able to get the exact deal that they may be looking to get done?  Still, the expectation should be that the team is going to bring in another starter. Should the Pittsburgh Pirates be in on Cleveland Indian’s pitcher Corey Kluber?

Interestingly enough, the Cleveland Indians are shopping their former two time CY Young Award winner. Like the Pirates, the Indians are a small market team who are built on pitching.  However, their window from a few years ago is seemingly shutting.  They have lost a few key players already and simply are looking to rebuild faster by getting out ahead of it now, especially in a division that is relatively weak.

So who is in on Corey Kluber?  The main teams interested according to Jon Morosi are the Dodgers, Reds, Phillies, Brewers, and somewhat the Padres.  So why aren’t the Pittsburgh Pirates on this list?  The team is seeming to be on the upswing after an 82 win season in 2018.  They are very young and should improve this upcoming season.  Wouldn’t Corey Kluber help bolster this team from a pretender to a contender?

More from Rum Bunter

The simple answer is obviously yes.  However, Corey Kluber would not come cheaply in any trades. Kluber has two CY Young Awards under his belt and is coming off a season that he threw to a 2.89 ERA.  Meanwhile, Kluber has multiple years of team control left, with the 2019 season and club options in 2020 and 2021.

Successful pitchers with team control are always going to cost a lot in a trade.  Just look at what it took for the Pittsburgh Pirates to get Chris Archer at last year’s deadline: top prospect Austin Meadows, former top pitching prospect Tyler Glasnow, and former first-round pick Shane Baz.  Meanwhile, Archer is not even in the same category as a pitcher like Kluber.

However, the real reason the Pittsburgh Pirates will not be involved in the Kluber talks is because of his price tag.  The pitcher is set to make $17 million next season along with $17.5 million in 2020 and $18 million in 2021.  Add this in with what he would cost in prospects and the team will not be in those talks.  Simply put, the Pittsburgh Pirates would not sacrifice the pieces it will take from the farm system for a pitcher that would eat up at least 20 percent of their payroll.

Next. Pittsburgh Pirates Mailbag. dark

While Corey Kluber would be great to add, the Pittsburgh Pirates will not make a move like that.  Even with Kluber having options, the Indians will expect top value back. The Pittsburgh Pirates traded away many of their top young pieces last trade deadline and it would really leave the cupboard bare in a trade for Kluber.  Furthermore, the team simply does not pay their players that kind of money. While it’s easy to imagine what he and Ray Searage could accomplish, it just is not realistic to think that it would be a possibility for the Pittsburgh Pirates.