Ever since the Dodgers’ 2018 season came to an end they have been linked to Corey Kluber in trade rumors. Despite Kluber being an elite pitcher, the Dodgers do not need him with their surplus of pitching.
Along with the Bryce Harper rumors, the one rumor that has been attached to the Dodgers for the duration of the winter has been Corey Kluber. The Indians were looking to shed salary and acquire additional players to help them win while freeing up money to pursue other additions to their roster.
Now pitchers and catchers have already reported and the reports of the Indians looking to trade Kluber have all but disappeared. The trade never made much sense for the Dodgers given they are projected to allow the fewest runs in baseball in 2019. Not only is the Dodger rotation extremely talented, but the rotation also has depth as pitchers like Ross Stripling and Julio Urias are not going to crack the opening day rotation barring injuries.
Stripling was an all-star in 2018 and Urias is still a very young and talented pitcher with the ability to be a top of the rotation starter. Then there is the Dodger farm system that is stacked with quality pitching prospects such as Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, Dennis Santana, and Mitchell White. They even acquired Josiah Gray in the Puig deal and he is capable of being a good starting pitcher as well.
Andrew Friedman and the front office are playing the long term approach. Rather than go “all in” for a given season, they are trying to keep the Dodgers’ championship window open for as long as possible by always keeping their farm system strong and leaving payroll flexibility for possible additions. Adding a soon to be thirty-three-year-old pitcher while giving up top prospects would go against that approach.
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The Indians were not going to give Kluber away for little and would’ve likely asked for Alex Verdugo along with other top prospects such as Keibert Ruiz or Dustin May. Sure Kluber is a bonafide ace, but like Kershaw, he is on the wrong side of thirty and will be thirty-three years old just after opening day. With a lot of mileage on his arm, there is no doubt that the Dodgers would be getting the downside of his career rather than some of his best seasons.
Not every starting pitcher is built like a Justin Verlander or Max Scherzer as the Dodgers are seeing with Clayton Kershaw who has lost velocity at just thirty-one years old. The Dodgers already have a second ace in the making in Walker Buehler who demonstrated what he is capable of doing in last year’s World Series.
As we all learned in 2017, acquiring an ace guarantees nothing and Kluber’s postseason results have been spotty since his great postseason run of 2016. If injuries wreak havoc on the Dodger rotation like it did last season then the Dodgers could revisit the idea of trading for Corey Kluber but for now, the rotation is loaded and very talented in Los Angeles. It’s time for the players to perform to their ability and finally end the Dodgers’ championship drought.