The Cleveland Indians will listen to trade offers for some of their veteran players this winter as they face the sort of difficult choices that small-market teams must address, according to sources.
The Indians will hold on to shortstop Francisco Lindor and MVP candidate Jose Ramirez next season, but they have indicated to the industry that they are prepared to discuss other accomplished players, including 2017 Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, pitcher Carlos Carrasco, catchers Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez, slugger Edwin Encarnacion and second baseman Jason Kipnis, among others.
The Indians did not tender qualifying offers to free agents Michael Brantley, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen because of their payroll concerns. The Indians ranked among the top half of teams in payroll last season and ran away with the AL Central, but their attendance dipped again and was among the worst in MLB. With Lindor, Ramirez and others due for raises, the Indians will be willing to move some salary in the right deals.
Kipnis is due to make $14.7 million next season, and Encarnacion is on the books for $21.67 million.
Kluber will make $17 million in 2019, and the Indians hold a club option on his deal for 2020 and 2021. Carrasco will make $7.1 million in 2019, and Cleveland has club options for 2020 and 2021 on his contract, as well.
With free agents like Nathan Eovaldi and Patrick Corbin expected to command pricey multiyear deals, Kluber and Carrasco could be attractive alternatives in the market because of their past success and because their contracts bear little risk.