Well would you? It’s a tougher call than you may think it is. Reports are indicating that the Dodgers and Indians have been discussing trade scenarios. One supposed trade talk involved Yasiel Pug and Cy Young winner Corey Kluber. Would the Dodgers actually trade Puig for Kluber? And if so, would that be a worthwhile exchange?
When looking at this from once angle, you would look at the fact that Puig is entering the final year of team control. He’s under salary arbitration for 2019 before entering free agency for the 2020 season. Is he in-line for a huge payday? Would the Dodgers be willing to give him a huge payday? Perhaps the Dodgers should dump him before they lose him to free agency and get something more than a draft pick compensation, presuming they offer him a qualifying offer.
Puig had a productive season in 2018, slashing .267/.327/.494 with 23 home runs, 63 runs batted in and a 120 OPS+ across 444 plate appearances. He stole 15 bases and posted an. 820 OPS in 125 games played. It’s also important to note that he’s not nearly the hitter he used to be when he first broke into the majors. In 2013 he posted a .391 OBP and batted .319. In 2014 he posted a .382 OBP and batted .296. His batting and on-base skills have seriously declined since he’s turned into Mr. launch angle.
Of course Kluber is one hell of a pitcher. The two-time CY young winner finished the 2018 season with a 2.89 ERA and won 20 games while striking out 225 in 215 frames. Kluber finished third in the Cy Young voting and is a three-time all-star. Despite being 32-years old, Kluber is signed through 2019 but also has two remaining option years which are both team options. Kluber earned 10.5 million dollars in 2018 and is due to earn 17 million in 2019 and 17.5 in 2020.
Apparently Cleveland is in need of outfielders and the Dodgers have plenty of those. The Dodgers would conceivably have Kluber for three years if they were to exercise his option years. Kluber has won at least 18 games over the last three seasons. It goes without saying that he’s an outstanding pitcher.
But would trading Puig be a mistake? It might be worth it to pick up a starting pitcher of Kluber’s caliber. It’s hard to acquire a pitcher of Kluber’s talent via free agency or trade. Acquiring Kluber would give the Dodgers a devastatingly talented starting rotation. Should the Dodgers try and package a deal surrounding Joc Pederson and Chris Taylor instead? Would Cleveland even entertain that? What’s your opinion on this potential deal?