Dodgers Rumors: Corey Kluber to LA Looking Like a Longshot
The Dodgers and Andrew Friedman are looking for ways to improve their roster for the 2019 season. Corey Kluber once looked like a possible upgrade but now that idea is looking more like a longshot.
The MLB hot stove has reached frigid temperatures as the position player market has completely stopped for the Dodgers and the rest of the league. Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned and outside of the reliever market where Zach Britton and David Robertson have signed new deals, the rest of the market remains slow.
The Dodgers and Andrew Friedman continue to look for ways to improve their two-time defending NL champion roster, as the Dodgers try to finally end their World Series roster. While the Dodgers once looked like the favorites to land Corey Kluber, it now appears that a deal is more of a longshot now as the Indians look for a Chris Sale type return.
For reference, the Chris Sale deal in the winter of 2016 saw the White Sox net four top prospects from the Red Sox including the number one prospect in baseball, in Yoan Moncada. The Red Sox also sent Michael Kopech to Chicago who was their fifth ranked prospect at the time along with Luis Basabe and Victor Diaz.
According the Dodgers’ new prospect list, that would be the equivalent of sending new number one prospect Keibert Ruiz to Cleveland along with Will Smith and two lower ranked prospects. That would be quite the hall for Corey Kluber who remains under contract for three more seasons, but is heading into his mid thirties where he could see some decline.
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The Dodgers’ starting rotation is already one of the best in baseball and led the National League with a 3.19 ERA which ranked them second overall in baseball just three points behind the Houston Astros rotation which posted a 3.16 ERA. It’s not that the Dodgers lack starting pitching, it’s more that Andrew Friedman is looking for quality over quantity.
Last postseason the Red Sox starters dominated the Dodgers behind a 1-2 punch of Chris Sale and David Price. While the Dodgers have their own lethal 1-2 punch in Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler, Kluber would be a big upgrade on Hyun-Jin Ryu who was LA’s number three starter in the 2018 playoffs.
Ryu was effective at home, but on the road he struggled pitching to a 8.25 ERA and getting knocked around in the NLCS by the Brewers and the World Series by the Red Sox. Ryu also had an ERA two runs higher on the road during the regular season so it’s clear that Ryu struggles outside of Dodger Stadium. The possible addition of Kluber would likely remove Ryu from a playoff rotation with Rich Hill being the teams’ fourth playoff starter.
Spring training is just a little more than a month away so whatever the Dodgers plan on doing to improve their club, it will get done fairly soon. Catcher, second base, and outfield remain areas where LA is looking to upgrade and there are still plenty of free agents looking for a new home.