With one of the best farm systems in the game, the Dodgers have the prospects to make a monster trade, and could land both Kluber and Lindor if they wanted to.
Los Angeles’ rotation was fifth in baseball in Wins Above Average in 2019. With Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill both free agents, however, it’s no surprise to see the Dodgers look to add a starter. Ryu could yet return, and a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, Kenta Maeda and Ross Stripling (as projected by Fangraphs) is more than competitive.
Cleveland would almost certainly ask for two of Dustin May, Alex Verdugo and Gavin Lux in a Kluber trade. The Dodgers refused to deal May or Lux at the trade deadline, but that was a different scenario – it was the Pirates requesting their top prospects for Felipe Vazquez, a rather different situation to a Cy Young winner like Kluber.
Kluber is owed less than $40 million over the next two years, and the Dodgers could let him walk after 2020. Having started just seven games in 2019, though, after an oblique issue, there’s concern about his health. No one knows what Kluber will look like when he returns to the mound. That risk should dampen Kluber’s value, but on a team-friendly deal, the Indians’ demands will be sky high.
The Dodgers’ desperation for a World Series title is well-known. Making ultra win-now moves is understandable. Their prolonged period of National League dominance, however, has been based on avoiding ripping the farm system apart. The production line of elite young talent is unrivalled – Lux, May and Verdugo are controllable, potential All-Stars. Keeping those three, who could all play big roles in 2020, should be the priority.
May has the stuff to be an elite starter in the Majors, just like Buehler. Should they want to add another rotation arm still, though, a deal with Ryu would be a good way to go. Or, perhaps, they could look at a less costly trade for someone like Matthew Boyd or Caleb Smith.