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December 19, 2018

Phillies trade rumors: Report says they're interested in Indians' Corey Kluber

The Phillies are still looking to make a big splash, and if they can't do it by spending stupid money, they may do it with stupid trades.

Stupid, of course, is the word Phils part-owner John Middleton used to describe the ferocity he hoped the team would use with regard to expenditures to help improve the team. A trade for Indians Cy Young winning pitcher Corey Kluber wouldn't necessarily be stupid — but they may have to pay an arm and a leg to land the big 32-year-old right-hander.

Kluber has finished in the top 10 in AL Cy Young Award voting for every season since 2014, winning it that year and in 2017. He followed up his 2017 award-winning 18-4 campaign (with a 2.25 ERA) with a 20-7 record year last year (and 2.85 ERA). He is one of a very few pitchers who could knock Phils ace Aaron Nola off of the "opening day starter" designation and would be a big sign that the team is ready to actually compete not only to make the postseason, but to make a run into October.

How could Philly possibly land Kluber — who is under contract through the 2021 season via two team options and will earn $17.2 million in 2019?

It would probably take Sixto Sanchez.

Sanchez is the Phillies' top prospect, has drawn comparisons to Pedro Martinez and had a 2.51 ERA in Single-A Clearwater last season. 

Moving Sanchez, along with any other top 10 prospect this offseason would be a signal that the Phillies are actually going all-in to compete in what is a weaker NL, with AL powerhouses Houston and New York only looking better on paper heading into next season.

Philly needs some more umph in their starting rotation, which has unproven talent aside from Nola and Jake Arrieta. They also have no left-handed starters right now.

Free agent lefty options like J.A. Happ and Patrick Corbin didn't work out, leaving just Scott Boras client and Astros hurler Dallas Kuechel as the top pitching prize left on the open market.

The Phillies are likely focused on another of Boras' clients, Bryce Harper, though few pegged the Phils as Arrieta's top suitor until well into spring training started last year.

It will be interesting to see if the Indians get an offer that satisfies their high ask for one of the best pitchers in baseball, and how far Philadelphia is willing to go to turn potential into a postseason run.

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