3 Reasons Corey Kluber Has No Place in Indians' Long-Term Plans

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 20: Starting pitcher Corey Kluber #28 of the Cleveland Indians pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning of Game 1 of a doubleheader at Progressive Field on April 20, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
Atlanta Braves v Cleveland Indians - Game One | Ron Schwane/Getty Images

The Cleveland Indians find themselves at a crossroads this offseason. Despite a 93-win season in 2019, they failed to make the playoffs, and now have some tough roster decisions to make. One of the most notable players with an uncertain future in The Land is Corey Kluber. The two-time Cy Young winner made a name for himself as Cleveland's ace over the past few years, but even after the team picked up his option, these three reasons show why he doesn't fit in their long-term plans.

1. The Starting Rotation Is Already Stacked

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 29:  Mike Clevinger #52 of the Cleveland Indians pitches against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 29, 2019 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Cleveland Indians v Washington Nationals | G Fiume/Getty Images

The Indians have Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber and Zach Plesac at the front of their starting rotation. All of them are 28 years old or younger, and all of them have shown an aptitude for dominance. Clevinger, for example, struck out an absurd 169 batters in just 129 innings last year. Add in the likes of Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco, and suddenly there's no real reason for Kluber to be taking the mound every fifth day.

2. His Contract

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 21: Corey Kluber #28 of the Cleveland Indians looks on from the dugout before the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Progressive Field on September 21, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Phillies defeated the Indians 9-4.  (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Phillies v Cleveland Indians | David Maxwell/Getty Images

Due a salary of $17.5 million in 2020 with an $18 million club option for 2021, most teams would consider Kluber's contract a steal. That, however, is not the case for a small-market team like the Indians. His salary nearly doubles that of the next closest pitcher on the books next year in Carrasco ($10.25 million). This is a team looking to stock up on high-end talent that comes at a low-end cost, and while Kluber might still be the former, in their eyes, he is most certainly not the latter. They'd be better of trading him for cost-controlled prospects.

3. His Age

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 20: Starting pitcher Corey Kluber #28 of the Cleveland Indians throws to first base against the Atlanta Braves during the third inning of Game 1 of a doubleheader at Progressive Field on April 20, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
Atlanta Braves v Cleveland Indians - Game One | Ron Schwane/Getty Images

With their championship window almost completely closed, now is the time for the Indians to start over. Kluber will be 34 next year, and it just wouldn't make sense for Cleveland to keep him around while hoping for a miracle. Injuries plagued him in 2019, which is the last thing an organization wants to see out of an aging star. Just as it wouldn't make sense to unnecessarily keep him on the books year in and year out, so to would it be pointless for the Indians to keep using a roster spot on him when they could give it to a prospect in need of reps.