The LA Angels could have the opportunity of a lifetime this offseason as the Cleveland Indians have reportedly made everyone available via trade besides stud youngsters Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor.
The last time the LA Angels had a pitcher win the Cy Young, I was 7-years old, Chicken Little had just come out in theaters, and Chris Brown and The Black Eyed Peas headlined the Billboard Top 100. Bartolo Colon was the last one to wear the red and white and win the award.
Now, the Angels might not have a pitcher right now capable of that in 2019, but they could acquire one who has done it twice before, and still has gas in the tank. Corey Kluber is easily the best available pitcher this offseason, whether as a free agent or on the trade market, and the Angels should heavily consider bringing him in.
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As we all know, Shohei Ohtani will not be able to be the team’s ace next year. Tyler Skaggs was great, but is nowhere near the level of Kluber. At 32-years old, Kluber has been like win and has gotten better the past couple of years, and he is not done yet.
After winning the Cy Young in 2014 and 2017, Kluber should again factor into voting this year. Over the past five years, he has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the American League. He has thrown at least 200 innings each season, has never allowed more than one homerun-per-nine-innings, and has struck out at least 222 batters each year.
That consistency of health alone should make him enticing for the Angels, who didn’t have a single pitcher top 180 innings this year. When you add in that Kluber has consistently been atop the league in strikout-walk ratio, he becomes very desirable.
But what kind of package would it take to bring Kluber to Anaheim? He’ll be 33 for most of 2019, but has proven that age is just a number in his case. Only having one year left on his contract will keep him from costing an arm and a leg, but the Angels would still have to give up a strong package for Cleveland to consider shipping Kluber out west.
The Angels would likely make #1 prospect Jo Adell unavailable, but a Top 10 prospects or two and a cost-controllable starter such as Jaime Barria may be enough to make the Indians deal their ace. It has been a while since someone of Kluber’s caliber (age, performance, and contract) has been dealt. However, the Dodgers were able to avoid trading away their top prospects for half a season of Manny Machado, so the Angels may be able to with Kluber.
The real question when it comes to the Angels and a potential Kluber deal is not if they should, but if they could.