Dodgers Are Still Pursuing Corey Kluber, Apparently

kluber

It’s been more than a month now since the Dodgers have been tied to Cleveland ace Corey Kluber in trade talks, and needless to say, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride. Seemingly, there was a point a few weeks ago where the sides were supposedly close to a deal; yet, there was another juncture when the Indians were believed to have taken their ace off the table completely.

Regardless of what’s already happened, the Dodgers are still corresponding with Cleveland, according to Jon Morosi on Wednesday. Morosi notes there are several other teams involved, including the Padres, Phillies, Brewers and Reds.

However, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune followed Morosi’s report with information saying that the Padres were not in on Kluber, but are instead more focused on acquiring a third baseman. Initially, Morosi speculated that the Indians could have been interested in San Diego outfielder Manuel Margot.

As far as Los Angeles goes, it has been implied 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 left for 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. Several weeks back, the Marlins were believed to have asked for a package to be built around first baseman and outfielder Cody Bellinger.

Based on what transpired in the recent seven-player trade with the Reds, one would assume that the Dodgers likely offered up Yasiel Puig and/or Matt Kemp in a package to acquire Kluber. From the very beginning, though, it appeared as if Cleveland was interested in a young, controllable outfielder(s), and at the same time, players who were major league ready.

It’s still tough to figure out why Cleveland wants to move Kluber, aside from removing salary from the club’s payroll. The Indians were reported to be happy with where the club’s payroll stood after it dumped Edwin Encarnacion in a three-team deal with the Mariners and the Rays, yet the trade rumors continue to swirl.

Kluber’s set to earn an even $17 million in 2019 along with team options that run through the end of the 2021 season.

That salary would be a bargain, unless there’s something happening mechanically or healthwise for which scouts and pundits are oblivious. The two-time Cy Young Award winner has 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.

As it stands now, to begin the 2019 season, the Los Angeles starting rotation would look something like Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill.

While someone of Kluber’s caliber would certainly be an upgrade, many pundits feel that the catching spot should be the Dodgers’ biggest priority when it comes to cap space or shipping out valuable prospects.

 

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54 thoughts on “Dodgers Are Still Pursuing Corey Kluber, Apparently

  1. I’m increasingly concerned about why the Indians would even consider trading Kluber. Yes, they always have to watch their payroll but in the grand scheme of things he’s still their ace and relatively inexpensive for the next three years. I would not give up Verdugo in a Kluber trade. Maybe the Indians are just figuring that with the number of pitches Kluber has thrown in his career, the odds that he lasts another three years without serious injury aren’t worth the gamble. In that case, I don’t think we should gamble either. I know that Bauer is a total flake but he had a great year last year. As I mentioned previously, he strikes me as being what Greinke would be if he talked. So, could we get Bauer without giving up Verdugo? If so, I would give it serious consideration.

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  2. I just can’t see Friedman giving up enough young talent that it would take to get both Kluber and Realmuto. Catching is the bigger need. And history shows he’s more likely to sign Pollack over Harper. But he will do something. This wasn’t just a salary dump.

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  3. Another thing nobody has mentioned about kluber is his CAP number, he is in his last year of a 5 year 42.3 million contract with a team option for 2020, and 2021, he received 4 million performance bonus this year. I’m not sure how the bonus figures into the CAP number but his number should be somewhere between 8.5 million, and 9.25 million. Now we all are assuming if kluber comes in Hill would be traded. Hills cap number is 16 million, which is a savings of 6.75, to 7.5 million. The only other way we could save that kind of cap money would be to trade Hill, and replace him with Urias, Ferguson, or Strippling, which would really affect the depth of the pitching staff. I’m not 100% sure I’m doing the numbers right, but you guys get the idea.

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    1. I get it Keith and though I didn’t look up the numbers I think you’re close. That’s why I was thinking trading Joc and Hill might go a long way in creating enough space to bring on ….. somebody.

      Cashman keeps saying he wants no part of the Harper sweepstakes. I don’t buy it. Harper says he’s not high on going to Philadelphia. I think being high is the best way to go to Philadelphia. At any rate this could go on into next year. In the mean time Duke is playing Temple in the Underpants Bowl. Wait.. what? Independence Bowl? Oh. Ok. Whatever.

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    1. I still have 4.5 days Keith. I know Andrew won’t let me down. That said, I’d much rather he make a good move after New Year’s than a bad move before. You know, of course, that I have close ties to the front office and, although I’ve been sworn to secrecy, I’m going to divulge that we’re almost ready to solve our catching situation. We’ve made a 5 year/20 million offer to Drew Butera. Just waiting for his answer.

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    1. Our pleasure. Just showing you how much fun you can have when you retire. And I am on a roll because I am sooooooooooooooooo tired of Friedman.

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  4. I think we have the prospect capital to make a run at one of Kluber or Realmuto. I don’t see Friedman completely tearing the farm down for two guys, it goes against all his years of doing business. Most think catcher is more pressing but I disagree. Realmuto is a fine catcher but he’s not elite at any one thing and he won’t be the center of your offense hitting .270 with 20HR per year. Chris Taylor, Kike and Joc all hit close to that power total. Kluber gives your rotation 3 aces and would be cheaper to acquire than Realmuto. I believe if given the opportunity Austin Barnes can shine as a starting catcher in the big leagues. He’s already well liked by the pitching staff and solid defensively and he also runs the bases well. He may not have Realmuto’s power but I firmly believe he can hit for average and save us a ton of prospects we can use for other areas if need be.

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      1. Then you still have the prospects to go get someone but you could say the same for Realmuto. If you go with Barnes then of course you sign a decent vet to back him up also.

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      2. Gonna be pretty empty at Camelback with only 2 pitchers and 1 catcher Dennis. Maybe you could round up a few more. You’ve still got 49 days.

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  5. I think Wieters would be my first choice for his lefty bat with some pop but I would be ok with Maldonado and his defense too. Or you could trade for Kluber and then trade for Cervelli who would cost a fraction of Realmuto and you’d have a 50/50 split with Barnes behind the plate. Cervelli is a great clubhouse guy too.

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      1. They could be persuaded to move him for a young controllable pitching prospect or two I bet. I’d give them Santana and Mitchell White.

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      2. Please, someone stop that man before he does something we all regret. Alex, we can’t go giving two guys who could eventually wind up in our starting five for one year of an injury prone, albeit good, catcher. I love Cervelli but I wouldn’t do that deal.

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      3. Agreed, although I think White started looking better again toward the latter part of the year. The Pirates won’t give up Cervelli for nothing but both White and Santana is just too much.

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    1. White, quite possibly not, but Santana could be really special, either as a starter or ultimately possibly as a reliever. Remember Cervelli is a one-year rental with a concussion history. In my opinion, not worth the gamble, but as they say, “that’s what makes horse races.”

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  6. I’d love David Robertson or Zach Britton for 3/$30 but I’d also be fine with someone like Cody Allen or Kelvin Herrera for 2/$15 like Joakim Soria got from Oakland.

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  7. Quick comment: I think it’s pretty funny how we all (myself included) seem to think we know what Friedman is up to. I think he’ll do something before New Year’s. Alex thinks he’s done spending on good bullpen pieces, etc. This, folks is the guy who traded Kemp, Puig and Wood for Homer Bailey and then released him. Much as I’d like to say I saw that coming (before the first word came out about those discussions) but I never had a clue. Andrew Friedman is a slight of hand artist. You may hate his act, but he isn’t going to advertise his coming moves.

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      1. I’m truly sorry Dennis but RVS is part of the Kluber deal. It’s RVS and seven outfielders to be named later for Kluber and the Indians hitting coach.

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    1. I don’t view the Cincy deal as any stroke of genius but rather a moment of absolute stupidity. He just wanted Puig gone and the cost of that was Wood and Bailey.

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  8. I just realized AJ Pollock would tecquire us giving up the 31st pick in the draft and $500K in slot money if we signed him so he’s out. No way in hell Friedman gives up a draft pick.

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      1. Not to worry guys, we’re getting Haniger. That’s one reason we brought Jeff Kingston on board. He knows Haniger’s pluses and minuses from his time with the M’s and he’ll be able to let Andrew know exactly what DiPoto would go for in a trade. Four years of control, much cheaper than Harper, right handed power hitter who at least plays a decent outfield. It’s a done deal. Now if I can just get ahold of Andrew to tell him about it.

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      1. Yeah, but, in his time here he hasn’t exactly kicked the door down, so…. ask not for whom the bell Tol……. wait, I’ve been suspended. Never mind.

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      2. Oh man, it’s infected the whole site. OK Schlossman, you’re also suspended for 3 days and don’t even think about putting on fake glasses and mustache and watching from the dugout. (I’m not really sure that baseball bylaws allow me to suspend the guy who started the site, but I’m not letting that stand in my way).

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  9. “ (I’m not really sure that baseball bylaws allow me to suspend the guy who started the site, but I’m not letting that stand in my way).”

    That’s why you’re jefe Jefe.

    Dodger hat in trash? Just the thought is suspension worthy. But I agree that Toles should get his chance. I would give him a lot of exposure this Spring. If he looks good he can always be moved then for something of need. If he doesn’t look good then he can be moved for another opportunity somewhere else.

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  10. Story on MLB.com says that the Tribe will most likely keep Kluber and Bauer at least until the trade deadline. That’s the time when desperate competing teams trade valuable chips for a chance to win and go to the series. Take note I said chance. Some actually make it, and some, like the Astros who added Verlander on the 31st of August in 2017 actually win the whole enchilada. The Dodgers made so called major moves at or before the deadline the last 2 years and made it to the series. Where each time the deadline pick up did not provide the spark necessary to get them over the hump. Granted, this year they faced a far superior opponent. Machado’s WS performance was less than inspiring. Although he had a decent NLCS, where he did not win the MVP because they gave it to Bellinger and he actually out hit Cody in that series, but he also proved himself a major A-hole by purposely stepping on the Brewers 1st baseman’s heel. In the Series he was abysmal. .182 average, no extra base hits and 3 RBI’s. That was it folks. Your big mid season pick up….Where as Freese, an under the radar pick up before September 1st, his over .300 during the playoffs and WS and hit 2 homers with 6 RBI’s. Darvish had 2 shots at glory in the 2017 series and lasted a total of 3.1 innings. Which was puzzling because he pitched well in the 2 series prior to the big dance. I am pretty sure that they will not get Kluber. Since they like versatile players so much I am wondering how come we hear nothing about them being interested in Marwin Gonzalez. Yeah, he who hit the homer off Jansen in the series that tied a game that the Astros won in extras. The guy is multipositional, has some pop, and is relatively cheap which makes him perfect for Ol Andy

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