Dodgers Trade Rumors: What Will It Take to Land Corey Kluber?


When you really think about it, quite a number of rumors that have generated surrounding the 2018 MLB Winter Meetings have been borderline crazy. Some sources have the Dodgers talking to the Tigers about 26-year-old outfielder Nick Castellanos, while other outlets say Los Angeles could be considering offering a deal to A.J. Pollock. The front office crew of the Dodgers is certainly leaving no stone unturned, and with one big trade or signing, the complexion of the team could change in the blink of an eye.

The Dodgers have been reported to be talking with the Indians since the days before Thanksgiving, but momentum seemed to fizzle a bit when Yan Gomes was dealt to the Nationals. However, more discussions have been happening, with the latest rumors believed to be surrounding righty pitcher Corey Kluber.

I’m one of those guys who believes the Dodgers should address the needs of the bullpen and catcher before pursuing starting pitching or outfielders, but oftentimes it’s tough to capititalize on opportunities based solely on priorities, especially when a two-time Cy Young Award winner is thrown onto the trading block.

The latest chatter suggests that the Indians are asking for Alex Verdugo as the centerpiece of a proposed deal, but if it was just solely Verdugo that Cleveland wanted, surely a trade would have happened by now. In the same breath, Verdugo may be the biggest bargaining chip of the Dodgers, so if he’s sent away early, it takes many other scenarios off the board. One of those could be the pursuit of catcher J.T. Realmuto of the Marlins, who, coincidentally, have asked for a package to be built around first baseman and outfielder Cody Bellinger.

The addition of somebody like Kluber could start a domino effect, most specifically leading the Los Angeles front office to shop a few of its surplus starting pitchers. The first name that comes to mind is Alex Wood, considering Cleveland’s shortage of lefty starters.

So, are the two Alexes—Verdugo and Wood—a reasonable proposition to the Indians? I think I would make the deal without blinking, which leads me to believe that Cleveland may want an even better return.

Kluber’s credentials speak for themselves, unless there’s something happening mechanically or healthwise for which scouts and pundits are oblivious. He’s thrown for 200 innings the last five seasons, and he’s won 18 games each of the past three years. Seemingly, he’s throwing better than ever, as his ERA has been under 3.00 and his WHIP under 1.00 over the last two seasons. On top of that, his 1.4 BB/9 last year was a career low.

And, when considering the buyout structure of his contract, he could potentially stick around through the 2021 season. With a salary of less than $18 million per year, he has bargain written all over him, even with all the mileage on his arm.

While the Dodgers don’t want to deal Bellinger to the Fish, and the Indians don’t want either Yasiel Puig or Matt Kemp as the centerpiece of a Kluber package, bringing Verdugo into the picture makes sense. Joc Pederson is only two years away from free agency, likely taking him out of the running for inclusion, and players like Chris Taylor or Andrew Toles don’t appear to have the upside that Cleveland desires.

There are plenty of free agent catchers and relievers on the market, and by adding a pitcher who has the ability to put up 20 wins with stellar numbers to boot, such an addition may outweigh an acquisition of a catcher who can hit .277/.340/.484 with 20 long balls.



96 thoughts on “Dodgers Trade Rumors: What Will It Take to Land Corey Kluber?

  1. If we trade 4 years of bellinger for two years of Realmuto, I will be very disappointed. Most off the other trade rumors I can live with, whether I agree or not, I like Realmuto, but not enough to give up a package headlined by belly. Heck, l wouldn’t trade belly straight up for Realmuto.

  2. If we trade Bellinger it would lead me to believe that Andrew thinks he has plateaued and won’t make much further progress as a hitter. Otherwise, considering how good his defense is and how versatile he is defensively, I can’t think of why we should trade him for anyone but Trout. For two years of JTR when we have two other catchers who could take over within the next two years? For three years of Kluber when we already have a far better than average group of starters? No thank you. On the other hand, maybe what I said above applies and they really think he’s gone about as far as he’s going to. I find that hard to believe, but you never know. They rarely make mistakes when trading young players.

  3. If any team asks for Belli, Friedman just needs to hang up. They will get the message. But Verdugo is another story. You are correct that it will take more than just Verdugo to get Kluber. I would make the untouchables Seager/Belli/Buehler/Lux/Ruiz/JT. May would be close but not off the table. There has to be a combination that will interest Cleveland to go with Verdugo. It will be painful, but a two time CY Award winner and top three four times, doesn’t come available very often and at $17MM to $18MM for 1 to 2 to 3 years with team options. How do you pass that up? The Yankees can match up if they want. Especially if they dangle Andujar.

    I would rather have Kluber than Realmuto. The Dodgers can make due at catcher with Barnes and Maldonado/Hundley/Wieters/McCann (James)/Caleb Joseph/Lucroy. It is a stopgap before Smith or Ruiz are ready. I am saying 2020. I am not nearly as optimistic as others may be.

    Friedman is not going to sign any of the big FA relievers of Kimbrel/Miller/Britton/Robertson/Familia/Ottavino. Robertson acting as his own agent is telling all that will listen that LAD is in consideration. But I think he is just trying to drive up his price with the East Coast teams. That is where he wants to be. I would love to have Ottavino, but Friedman is not going to pay him $10MM+ AAV for three years. He will likely get that. The best of the FA relievers available could be a flyer on Kelvin Herrera on a 1-year deal. Brach and Allen are going to be asking too much and are they really better right now than who the Dodgers have? I would not be surprised to see one or two of Jake Diekman, Xavier Cedeno, Dan Jennings, Hunter Strickland, Blake Parker, Brad Boxberger get offers on a first come – first served basis. I would not expect anything other than lightening in a bottle from any of them, but who knew about Ottavino before last year.

  4. I just can’t believe Friedman would consider trading Bellinger for anyone. He and Seager are the heart of our team for the next decade. Realmuto is just going to be too expensive so I hope we pass. I want Barnes to have his chance because I’m confident he will prove many of the doubters wrong. He’s just a solid all around ballplayer and he works well with the pitchers. As far as Kluber he would be a nice addition but I’d be hesitant to give Verdugo up for him simply because we are not as deep in OF as everyone thinks. If you took away Kemp and put Bellinger back at 1B where he belongs then you have Puig (in a contract year), Joc, Taylor (who may be the starting 2B), Kike (who is the backup at just about every position) and Verdugo plus Toles in the minors. I would offer them Dustin May, DJ Peters and Connor Wong. That’s our #3, 8 and 15 prospects all at positions of need for them and all within a year of being able to contribute in the big leagues for a 34 year old (albeit very good) starting pitcher with lots of miles on his arm.

    1. I think Cleveland wants players who are MLB-ready. May could be the closest, but he’s definitely not there. Peters will be very close one he learns how to control his bat and make contact. Based on Wong’s arm strength, I’m not sure he’ll ever get there.

  5. With the reported interest the Dodgers have in Nick Castellanos from Detroit I can’t believe it’s for him to play in LA but maybe they are kicking the tires on a 3 way deal with Cleveland for him. He would fill their need for a corner outfield power bat to hit in the middle of their lineup and would allow us to trade from a point of strength to Detroit which is our pitching prospects.

  6. I would also be furiously trying to unload Muncy while his value is at an all time high. I just don’t see him ever coming close to what he did last season and his power plus relative youth has got to be worth something especially to an AL team that can use him at 1B and DH.

      1. Package him with a young pitching prospect with some upside like Santana or White and you would get a nice return

  7. Muncy has little trade value until he shows he can hit off speed and produce another good year. Bellinger’S name only to bring people to the table. No way he gets traded!

  8. How about Farmer with the Barnes? I kind of troll along here. Farmer is not mentioned as a stop gap. How come?

    1. They like Farmer more at 3B with C as his secondary position. He’s one of those quad-A type guys who are better than AAA but not quite what you’d want getting lots of playing time in the big leagues. Farmer would be just fine as a bench infielder who also is your 3rd catcher but not as the primary backup who would have to start in case of injury.

  9. Bellinger is untouchable plain and simple. Bellinger, Seager and Buehler are off the table and you can probably add Urias in there too.

  10. I’m praying someone hurried up and signs Bryce Harper so I don’t have to hear about him anymore or worry that we make the mistake of paying him what he wants.

      1. Good signing for them. Will be a great influence on the young guys, but I was really surprised at the length and $ amount he got.

    1. If the Yanks are really out of the Harper sweepstakes it doesn’t seem like there are a lot of teams left for him to consider. Phils and White Sox are in for sure but no one else seems to be jumping up and down. I guarantee you at roughly equal dollar amounts between Philly, Chicago (southside) and L.A. he would pick L.A. every time. And I don’t want to scare you Alex, but Dodger uniform #34 is available.

      1. Two things Jef: 1) What about 43 since 34 was to honor Mantle’s #7? 2) You would think I might just have realized 34 was Fernando’s number since I own a Fernando jersey. I’m going to take a nap.

  11. New front runner for Harper is the Cubs. Supposedly they will be a press conference tomorrow. Nova traded to the White Sox and Tulo released by the Jays, who owe him 38 million. Phillies signing McCutcheon basically takes them out of the running for Harper, but they are still in on Machado. Headline on Dodger web site says they feel no pressure to make a splash. Funny, it said the same thing last year and the only major move was the Kemp trade. They will not trade Cody, bank on that. Same thing like when everybody said it would take Seager to get Hamels. Seager was going no where no matter what the Phillies wanted.

    1. I don’t see the Cutch signing removing the Phils from the Harper sweepstakes. They would probably be better served getting Machado but I definitely don’t think you can count them out on Harper. After all, there are three outfield positions and they’re just dying to spend a lot of money. What is the Cub press conference supposed to be about? Are they going to announce they’ve signed him?

      1. That came from Harpers camp as to the press conference. Mostly nothing but rumors so far, but Heyman and Morosi, who I follow on twitter seem to believe he is down to 3 teams, and the Phillies are not one of them. Machado is visiting 4 teams the next few days. I am beginning to believe that Andy is nothing but hot air right now and the blurb that they do not feel pressure to do something impactful during the meetings which to me suggests it is business as usual and no major moves in the next 24-48 hours unless they sign some fringe free agent.

      2. What’s with all this negativity Bear? Have you already forgotten the Quackenbush signing?

  12. Hey Alex, kluber is 32, he turns 33 in April, so he has a contract thru his year 34 season, with an option for his year 35 season. Does that year change anything in your thinking about him?

    1. As far as trade value? Very little. Kluber has thrown A LOT of innings in his career. It’s just a gamble Friedman has been known to avoid.

  13. I don’t think signing McCutchen takes the Phillies out of the Harper chase they have the money, and I think they would make Aaron Althear, and nick Williams the 4th and 5th OFers. This was more about the Phillies covering their selves, in case they can’t sign Harper. Although as I’m writing this bear, with McCutchen in tow they could go all in on manny now. With a machado, along with segura, and McCutchen deals, that would make them much better than last season.

  14. Rosenthal just reported that the Dodgers and Reds are in discussions with multiple scenarios. Puig in play and maybe Wood. Could they be discussing Scooter Gennett and maybe some relief help?

  15. Please please please someone sign Harper already! I do not want to live with that mistake clogging the payroll for the next decade.

  16. Latest from Rosenthal has one version, or part of this deal, that would bring us homer bailey, and his 28 mil for prospects. Andrew has definitely got some strange irons in the fire. Whatever he does, none of us will have predicted it.

    1. Why on earth would we give up any prospects or even a used toaster for Homer Bailey plus take on his contract? He was 1-14 with a 6.09 ERA last year.

    1. Homer Bailey, the 2019 version of Brandon Morrow. Hang in there Bear, I can see the smoke coming out of your ears. Wait until a trade is announced. Then you can go CRAZY. In other news, the Nats are in heavy on LeMahieu. Can Homer B. play second base?

      1. Any deal where Puig goes to the Reds and includes Bailey is dumb. Unless the send Iglesias, a catcher and cash. Bailey is so far removed from being good it is unreal. You have to wonder where Andy’s head is. And I believe it is in the lower receptacle if he pursues Bailey. I know Cleveland does not want Puig, they want Verdugo. I just think Bailey is a worse version of Bronson Arroyo.

  17. Homer Bailey was the worst pitcher in baseball last year by just about any measurement. If the goal is to shed payroll then I don’t understand why they would take on more salary. It just doesn’t make sense.

    1. Absolutely…..Bailey sucked worse than anyone in the league and I remember the Dodgers lighting him up like a Christmas tree.

      1. I think you’ve put your finger on it Bear. Homer is going to be the Dodger Christmas tree this year. Luckily they hadn’t gotten one for the office yet. Now we just have to find a way to put Iglesias at the top of the tree.

  18. This is Andy’s 5th year at the helm of the good ship Dodgers. Anyone expecting him to all of a sudden change his modus operandi is in for a huge disappointment. Trades for name players in the winter are not his forte. The salary dump to get under the CBT is a prime example. And Kemp threw a wrench into that by having such a great spring and forcing himself on the team when all they wanted to do was get him out of Dodge. I hear Friedman apologists always praising the fact that the Dodgers have won 4 straight divisions under his leadership and gone to the last 2 World Series. Premium free agents are not to be found. His big free agent last year was Tom Koehler, who, not surprisingly is now an exe Dodger. He has never signed any free agent for more than 3 years except his own. Turner and Jansen are the only 2 players who have received more than 3 years. So what in the wide wide world of sports makes anyone think he is going to step out of character and sign Harper for 10? He and Machado have been predicted to get deals that long. The Yankees have made it known today that although they are interested in Machado, they are not interested in signing him for 10 years. Same hang up with some teams vies a vies Harper’s desire for a contract like that. That’s why his options are shrinking fast. Going to the Cubs makes sense since his best pal is Bryant. We in the Dodger fandom are subjected to the fringe players day in and day out. If Kluber is on their radar, quit talking about it and go out and make the deal. If it costs Verdugo, so be it. If they can get someone besides Homer Bailey for Puig, and improve the team, I am all for it, but Bailey? Please, the guy is an over paid slug. They need a catcher. That should be the # 1 priority.

    1. You believe the word that leaked out about the Dodgers not going over the CBT so I’m wondering why you think the Cubs would sign Harper when they’ve also made it clear that they have spending restrictions this year. You assume that the Dodgers are holding up the Kluber trade. How do we know it isn’t the Indians who might not yet be done fishing for the best offer? I think you’re being too hard on poor Andrew. After all Bear, the Dodgers have won 4 straight divisions under AF’s leadership and gone to the last 2 World Series. (just stirring the pot) 🙂

      1. Yeah, stirring the pot is your specialty. The Cubs might have spending restrictions, but they are still talking to Harper. If the Dodgers really needed the guy, then ok, go for it. They do not need him, at least not right now. They have bigger needs. Yep, the Indians could very well be holding things up since I believe the Dodgers are not the only team with a huge interest in Kluber and or Bauer. And if I am being hard on poor Andy, it is because his track record is not that great.

      2. Just call me Chef Jeff. One thing for sure, we all want the same thing, a WS victory. I can’t believe how slow things are at the meetings. It’s one thing for Andrew not to be dealing but, for now, nobody is.

  19. Latest from Rosenthal as of 15 mins ago, 10:00 PM MST, Dodgers are talking to the Cardinals about Jose Martinez, the guy who has been displaced by the Goldschmidt trade. Makes even less sense than Bailey.

      1. Maybe they plan to flip him. The thought of Martinez at first and Muncy at second is kind of scary.

  20. Just looked at Martinez’s numbers they are better than I thought they would be 305/364/457 49bb 104 ks, with good platoon splits. I like his strike out numbers we have plenty of those already. Hey bear, don’t pull any punches, why don’t you tell us what you really think of a homer Bailey deal.(thought I would help Jeff with the stirring) If you guys remember when Andrew traded for Alex Wood he took on some bad contracts, so this wouldn’t be unprecedented. It all depends on who else we get in a deal, The Indians are supposed to be interested in some of the reds guys, maybe this what it’s going to take to make a kluber deal happen.

    1. You could be right about Muncy Keith. Doc gave him the kiss of death yesterday by saying he expected him to be an everyday starter next year.

  21. Winter Meetings. Yawn.

    Has anything happened yet?

    I binged watched Godless and finished my Louis L’Amour novel.

    Hey Andrew, I was just kidding about Bailey. But, would I be surprised? Not at all. If taking on that contract collects prospects Cleveland is interested in then I’m all for it. I just read Bailey’s CBT number is $17.5M. Puig, Wood for Bailey+, we get Kluber and Bailey goes to the pen for a year. It could work.

  22. Got a question for the stat geeks here…… of the Top 20 paid players in MLB, how many of them earned Championship rings after signing their big deals? Price did. Verlander got traded into one. Trout, Kershaw, Stanton, Greinke, Cano, Cabrera, Cespedes, Pujols, Hernandez, Votto, Mauer,…… just curious and not sure how it plays out. I know a few have rings, but not necessarily after the big bucks kicked in.

  23. If the Dodgers were to get Homer Bailey in a trade I can’t believe they would keep him. They would most likely just DFA him and eat his remaining salary so the guys coming with Bailey had better be good.

  24. Louis L’Amour is the best scoop, think I’ve read all his novels two or three times, some of my favorites more. Which one did you just finish? With what’s going on at the winter meetings we might as well talk good westerns.

  25. The Last of the Breed Keith.

    Bailey might surprise in the pen Alex. “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. Yet that will be the beginning.” I don’t expect that deal to materialize. In fact I have no expectations. Expectations breed disappointments.

    1. Homer Bailey will not surprise anyone in any role besides batting practice pitcher. He is absolutely terrible. Terrible terrible terrible.

  26. Screw the reclamation projects and trying to look smart. It’s time to inject some proven, battle tested talent in the bullpen just like Houston, Boston and New York all have.

  27. Dodgers are on Bailey’s no trade list, same as Greinke. What scares me is all the blurbs saying Bellinger is a player the Dodgers would trade…….Dodger fans would riot.

      1. If you take a look at that list, it looks like he picked the 15 teams most likely to trade for him. Considering that the D’backs are not going to contend for a while, he will just use that no trade clause to get some extra $ if he’s traded. Not saying he would go to every team on the list but I doubt he would be adamant about staying on a team that won’t be a contender.

  28. The only way I would want to see belly traded, would be for an Arenado caliber player, elite players only. Last of the breed is my favorite L’Amour book scoop, read it probably six times. Milo Talon, and the Sackett books are all pretty good too.

  29. Yes they are Alex, most of the good teams are on his list. He wants leverage in a trade, so any team he thinks would trade for him is on the list.

  30. So Roberts cane out and said today that Maeda will 100% be in the rotation next year which bumps someone out now since everyone figured they would leave Kenta in the bullpen. Also Urias is on an innings limit.

  31. Personally, I always thought Maeda would be in the rotation, and we would move someone, probably Wood. Kentas’ contract is so incentive laiden, it would be pretty dirty to not at least give him the chance to be part of the rotation. He has been good about moving to the pen when we needed him to, even though it was taking money out of his pocket, he never complained.

    1. I do not think Wood was ever a consideration. I think what Maeda to the rotation does is to take Stripling out of consideration. It would appear that Stripling and Ferguson will be the RH and LH long men and spot starters.

  32. So far everything is nothing. They have not made a move and supposedly they are in on every player. Bour signed with the Angels, Morton to the Rays, Lynn to Texas, and the Reds traded Rainey to the Nats for Tanner Roark,

  33. Be careful what you wish for Bear. They may make a trade in a few minutes and you’ll be welcoming Homer Bailey to L.A. Maybe we should just hope they don’t do anything.

  34. I think they are all in the rotation. Some more than others.

    L’Amour – not inherently great literature, but many keep reading. Romance novels for men. Quick reads. Great getaway.

    Stripling for Cervelli? That’s actually a great idea. Stripling goes right into their rotation, 120 innings of 3.5. Cervelli goes behind the plate and OPS’ .750 in LA.

    I checked Bailey’s peripherals at Baseball Savant and he’s on the list. He’s touched 95 with a spin rate of 2080, ahead of Ryu and Hamels, right there with Robert Gsellman and Asher Wojciechowski………

    I have no idea if he’s got anything left but if taking him on can help get Kluber I’m all in.

    1. I would say that Stripling for Cervelli was fair if Stripling only had one year of control left but he has four and isn’t even arbitration eligible for another year. Also, as much as I like Cervelli, he’s extremely injury/concussion prone and only has one year of control. With all of that in mind I don’t do that deal one for one.

      1. I admit, we’d be dealing from an area where we have extra assets. If the Pirates fans think an All Star pitcher isn’t enough I’d throw in Bellinger. That should satisfy them.

      2. Of course they do. I would too if I were a Pirates fan. But I’m not, I’m a Dodgers fan. He’s an ALL STAR! (I guess we should have traded him right after he got back from D.C. 🙂 )

  35. That’s more like it, decent pitcher for a decent catcher, both with one year of control left. Good job assistant GM Jeff.

    1. Thanks for your confidence Keith. Now if you could just get the GM job in Pittsburgh we could complete the deal. So what do you think? Number of trades/signings done by Andrew by midnight tomorrow. Over/Under 1.5. I’m guessing over.

  36. I’m saying under, only one, but it’s going to involve four teams, and seventeen players. Ultimately we leave with kluber, Cervelli, gennet, and bears boy, Bailey.

      1. Homer has 2 no hitters, which is 1 more than Kershaw. Homer also had TJ in May of ‘15, so, with a 15 month recovery period he should be ready any day.

    1. Well Keith, looks like we’re at one already. Let’s see what happens for the rest of the day. I was thinking two when I asked the question last night but AF might just get rolling here. Would really be fun to see the trade you’ve described.

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