Chicago Cubs can learn a lot from the Corey Kluber trade

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The recent trade of Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers is a perfect example of what the Chicago Cubs should not do with their stars.

Rumors are still circling for the Chicago Cubs and the future of their young stars, like Willson Contreras, Kris Bryant, and Kyle Schwarber. When and if a deal involving one of these players is negotiated though, the team needs to consider the recent trade of one of the game’s premier stars.

Corey Kluber was recently traded from the Cleveland Indians to the Texas Rangers. The problem with this was the return Cleveland received. For a year and an option for a second year of Kluber, the Indians received outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. and Emmanuel Clase, the equivalent of scraps.

More from Cubbies Crib

Kluber, despite a lost season in 2019, is still a multiple time Cy Young award winner. His 2018 season saw him rank third in Cy Young voting with a stellar 2.89 ERA in a league-leading 251 innings. It doesn’t really make sense then why two potential years of Kluber were given up for basically nothing outside of payroll shedding.

Clase is a relief pitching prospect and, while his electric arm holds a lot of promise, it’s hard to see him being worth a premier starter like Kluber. DeShields, on the other hand, has been basically a non-factor in Texas, posting a below-average OPS+ in each of his five years as a Ranger and only accruing a meager 5.4 WAR.

No doubt, the Cubs can look at this trade as a guideline for how not to do business when it comes to their big stars. The main goal of trading someone like Bryant, Contreras, or Schwarber should be to improve, not to shed payroll.

Kluber was likely most useful to the team he was traded from and the pieces that came back to Cleveland could have been found elsewhere on the market. It seems as if the Indians got too anxious to shed Kluber’s contract and accepted whatever they were offered.

This should serve particularly as a warning in a potential Bryant trade. Shedding Bryant’s salary will give the Cubs lots of flexibility, sure, but getting a worthwhile return takes priority over that. Emphasis on worthwhile.

Bryant is still a top 10 third baseman and, coming off another strong season in which he hit 31 home runs and recorded a 131 OPS+, he still certainly has value with the Cubs. The question should be, regarding any trades, whether the return alongside potential new signings is more valuable than Bryant is to the team.

Next. Building a 2010s all-decade Cubs team. dark

Of course, none of their young stars have injury or decline concerns, but this trade should still be a reminder to the Chicago Cubs that it’s fine to calm down and wait for a trade that makes sense rather than rushing to shed payroll. The Rangers basically stole Kluber and the Cubs can’t let anyone steal their young stars.