During the most recent episode of Dodgers Nation’s Blue Heaven Podcast, the conversation lit up when discussing recent rumors sparked by Ken Gurnick. The question was simple: Alex Verdugo for Corey Kluber, yay or nay?
Verdugo for Kluber
Yay or Nay? https://t.co/XUN9KikDh8
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) November 27, 2019
The question proved to be a point of engagement for the audience… I posted something about it on Twitter a few days ago which also got a lot of reactions.
The Dodgers better not trade Alex Verdugo for Corey Kluber.
— Tim Rogers 2080 ??subscriber: (@TimRogers2080) November 24, 2019
Social Media Reactions
Let’s take a look at some reactions to the Vedugo for Kluber trade idea.
I would trade Alex Verdugo for Corey Kluber but it the Dodgers are going to trade Alex Verdugo I'd rather he be part of the Mookie Betts package.
— BlueAnt (@meercatjohn) November 25, 2019
Seager & Verdugo
Kluber & Lindor
— The Evverymann ™? ?? (@TheEvverymann) November 25, 2019
— Humanity, Hoop, Ball (@Scullyfan) November 27, 2019
These are just a few of the opinions that were expressed on Twitter and during the podcast. It looked like more are against trading Verdugo but there were plenty of good points made about Kluber.
Should The Dodgers Trade Verdugo?
I thought that Alex Verdugo was excellent both on offense and defense during his rookie year. In fact, I wrote a piece advocating for him to be the leadoff hitter. He has an approach at the plate that the Dodgers sorely missed during the playoffs. My only concern is that he had a back injury which makes me nervous. However, he is only 23 with five more years of club control.
Additionally, he is reportedly healthy and ready for a full, regular off-season.
What About Kluber?
Corey Kluber has had an excellent career and turns 34 right as the 2020 season starts. He has won two Cy Young Awards and has been a strong finisher in other years. There has been some concern with Kluber’s pitch velocity.
Something of note is that Kluber’s Cy Young season in 2017 his pitch velocity was as follows:
- Four Seamer – 92.7 MPH
- Cutter – 89.0
- Curve – 84.4
- Sinker – 92.5
His numbers in his injury-shortened 2019:
- Four Seamer – 92.0 MPH
- Cutter – 88.1
- Curve – 82.9
- Sinker – 91.3
His velocities in 2018, in which he finished 3rd in the Cy Young Award voting, were more similar to 2019. Kluber’s 2019 was a mess as he suffered a broken forearm and an oblique injury so he only made seven starts.
Trying to guess how a 34-year-old pitcher that is coming off an injury will perform is not possible. If we look at our own Clayton Kershaw we can see that decline is inevitable. With Kluber, he missed a lot of time so the positive would be that he didn’t put a lot of mileage on his arm in 2019. Kluber does have two $17.5M club options for both 2020 and 2021 so he is a lot cheaper than some of the free agency options.
Some Final Thoughts
There is no way that I trade Alex Verdugo straight up for Corey Kluber. At the same time, I think Kluber might still have a season or two left of being very good but it is risky. He could be anywhere from injured to a fifth starter to a co-ace. I just feel that Verdugo has made himself into one of the more valuable players on the Dodgers.
So, go and get Kluber but leave Verdugo out of it.