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Inbox: Could Dodgers use one more starter?

Beat reporter Ken Gurnick answers fans' questions
January 17, 2019

Would you agree with me that we need a reliable starter who will help us to the top? If so, who? -- CUB 213 @kdizzinEvery team needs another reliable starter. The Dodgers already might have the best rotation in the National League, but they reportedly targeted Corey Kluber when it

Would you agree with me that we need a reliable starter who will help us to the top? If so, who?
-- CUB 213 @kdizzin

Every team needs another reliable starter. The Dodgers already might have the best rotation in the National League, but they reportedly targeted Corey Kluber when it appeared the Indians might entertain offers. A right-hander would help balance a rotation that is overly left-handed.
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I have referred to the Dodgers in my thoughts as "the great experiment" for the last couple of years -- build a roster of very good players and have them put on the face that it is OK to sit a lot of games because of sabermetric matchups. That can work in the regular season, but it seems to be a failure in the playoffs. On the surface, it seems L.A. lost the World Series because L.A. didn't hit, but I think the season philosophy of sitting players was the major contributor to the problem. Except for players who are totally into amounts of money paid as opposed to their legacy, why would a superstar in their prime sign with the Dodgers?
-- Steve Perry, Concord, N.C.

Not sure analytics can quantify whether platooning during the regular season reduces a player's performance in the postseason, when the competition level is greatly elevated. Rare is the player who isn't looking for the most money. But it's also a rare player who gladly accepts sitting on the bench. Any player joining the Dodgers should expect to be subject to matchups and platooning and factor that into contract decisions.
Is Bryce Harper still an option?
-- Ashley Ann Wilson #BryceHarperADodger? @AllTTV2015

Not any more or less than he's been. The Dodgers seem to have no appetite for 10-year-contract bidding wars. Harper seems to have no appetite for a short-term deal. If those positions don't change, there's no fit. Maybe the market convinces Harper to soften his position. I don't see the Dodgers softening theirs.

What do you believe the Dodgers will address through free agency from this point forward? Any particular names beyond Bryce or Manny Machado to watch out for/known connection to L.A.?
-- Ben Haber @HaberBen

If you look at president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman's history with the Dodgers, almost all key acquisitions have been through trades. He generally targets second-level free agents like Joe Kelly and steers clear of bidding wars for top-tier talent. The Dodgers seemingly need a right-handed outfield bat and possibly a right-handed starting pitcher. Considering the amount of unsigned free agents remaining, maybe that's where they will wind up. But the trade pool is deeper.
Are the Dodgers rolling with Alex Verdugo at right field this upcoming season? 1988 & counting.
-- @LAconfiDent1al

If he wins the job in Spring Training. Keep in mind that he was virtually a non-factor down the stretch last year and wasn't on the postseason roster. Being the organization's "top" prospect does not mean a guaranteed job. Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez are proven Major Leaguers. Verdugo has potential, but is unproven.
Is it a possibility that the Dodgers are still in the mix for J.T. Realmuto even though we traded for Russell Martin?
-- Eric Lee @EricLee99073430

Not if Miami continues to insist on Cody Bellinger in return. For all of the Realmuto trade rumors, the Marlins don't seem interested in dealing him unless somebody overpays, and that's not likely to be the Dodgers.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.