Bauer, 28, emerged as one of baseball's premier starting pitchers in 2018 when he went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 28 games (27 starts). He's been slightly uneven in 2019, going 4-2 with a 3.76 ERA in 10 starts, though he's also pacing the American League with 64 2/3 innings pitched.
The 2018 All-Star expressed at the time that it would be in Cleveland's best interest to trade him and get prospects in return because they won't be able to afford him once he hits free agency after the 2020 campaign.
The Padres were actively pursuing pitching help in the offseason, and were one of the teams kicking the tires on Kluber - though they were expected to try and flip him at the time - and had talks with free agent Dallas Keuchel, as well. Adding a front-line starter will remain the team's main focus heading into July's trade deadline, Rosenthal adds.
San Diego's rotation hasn't been bad this season, though it hasn't performed among the league's top pitching staffs, either. Collectively, Padres starters are 11-18 with a 3.86 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 8.02 K/9. Rookie Chris Paddack has led the way with a sparkling 1.99 ERA through his first eight starts.
Beyond Paddack, the Padres rotation has primarily featured Joey Lucchesi, Matt Strahm, Eric Lauer, and Nick Margevicius. Were they to acquire an ace-type, they are in a position to get a deal done with a well-stocked farm system. They currently have eight Top-100 prospects - six of whom are pitchers - according to MLB Pipeline.