The Argument for Corey Kluber
While the Dodgers could use an upgrade at catcher, the argument can be made that the most important part of a catcher is his defense. Martin and Barnes are both vastly superior to Realmuto on the defensive side of the game, and the Dodgers could use another elite starting rotation for the postseason. Clayton Kershaw has his well known postseason struggles pop up every year, and Walker Buehler is an emerging ace but the playoff rotation could use a boost.
Hyun-Jin Ryu had a very good season for the Dodgers and will be back as a projected playoff starter for the Dodgers. Away from Dodger Stadium, however, Ryu is a different pitcher as evidenced by his ERA ballooning to 3.58 on the road compared to 1.15 at home. In the postseason, Ryu posted an ERA over eight on the road and was knocked around in Milwaukee and Boston. Ryu is a very solid regular season starter but unless you start him only at home in the postseason, then he could run into trouble.
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Then there is the fact that Rich Hill will turn 39 years old before the regular season. While Hill does not have the typical mileage of the usual 39-year-old starting pitcher, father time is still undefeated. If Hill struggles in 2019 or gets injured then the Dodgers will definitely need to acquire another starting pitcher. The Dodgers can protect against this by acquiring Corey Kluber. and also upgrade their playoff rotation.
The Red Sox rode their two veteran starters to a World Series title and the Dodgers could do the same in 2019 by throwing Clayton Kershaw and Corey Kluber out in the first two games of a postseason and possible World Series. Walker Buehler as the Dodgers number three playoff starter would be unfair. Then the veteran Hill could bring his playoff success to the table as the Dodgers’ fourth playoff starter.
While J.T. Realmuto would be a big upgrade over the Martin/Barnes duo offensively, the Dodgers can get by with better defense and a less potent bat with the strength of their starting lineup. The better addition would be Corey Kluber who would give the Dodgers an elite playoff rotation and three elite starters for the regular season. In a poll we ran, 58% of you agreed Kluber would be the bigger addition.