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Inbox: What is Verdugo's future with Dodgers?

Beat reporter Ken Gurnick answers questions from Los Angeles fans
MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- When calling for Inbox questions, I wondered if the Dodgers have Corey Kluber or Bryce Harper on their Winter Meetings shopping list, and Ryan @ryanall26322308 wants those answers first.

Kluber would be a great fit anywhere. He's a two-time Cy Young Award winner under control for up to three years with a team-friendly contract. Add him to Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler, and the Dodgers would have their best top-three in at least half a century. The Dodgers, though, are skeptical that the Indians will move Kluber.

LOS ANGELES -- When calling for Inbox questions, I wondered if the Dodgers have Corey Kluber or Bryce Harper on their Winter Meetings shopping list, and Ryan @ryanall26322308 wants those answers first.

Kluber would be a great fit anywhere. He's a two-time Cy Young Award winner under control for up to three years with a team-friendly contract. Add him to Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler, and the Dodgers would have their best top-three in at least half a century. The Dodgers, though, are skeptical that the Indians will move Kluber.

:: Submit a question to the Dodgers Inbox ::

As for Harper, the next contract president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman gives for $100 million or $200 million or $300 million or more will be the first. Anything's possible, but committing that much to one player would be a total and complete departure from everything this ownership has done since it bought the club, especially if reports are true that the team still wants to avoid paying luxury tax. Reports this week that Magic Johnson had a recruiting meeting with Harper were denied by Johnson.

Do you think Alex Verdugo will still be a Dodger next season or is he the Dodgers' top trade bait?
-- J.T. @trombaj

To a trading partner, Verdugo probably is the most attractive outfielder not named Cody Bellinger in a crowded group. After back-to-back dominant seasons at Triple-A, Verdugo hasn't seemed to have won over decision-makers the way Corey Seager, Bellinger or Buehler did. Looks like a valuable trade chip to me.

Can the Dodgers get by with giving Austin Barnes the chance to catch more with a cheap backup until the young guys are ready?
-- oldman @wendelldunbar

They haven't given up on Barnes, despite his disappointing 2018 season. They want a short-term veteran bridge to pair with Barnes until their pipeline of deep catching prospects delivers a big leaguer. They missed out on Yan Gomes, but free agent Nick Hundley might be a fit if they don't pay up in prospects to get J.T. Realmuto.

They are days away from the Winter Meetings and they don't even have a GM? Any idea what is going on?
-- Greg Zerbey

The Dodgers have two experienced former general managers in Friedman and Josh Byrnes, and probably the biggest baseball operations and analytics department in the game. They aren't short-handed. Farhan Zaidi is a big loss, but probably because whatever the Dodgers' secret sauce is, the Giants now know all about it. With extensions for Kershaw and Dave Roberts, filling coaching vacancies, roster moves and the Winter Meetings, Friedman had said it might be a while before a replacement is found.

With seven starters on the pitching staff, do you see them trading any of them?
-- Glenn Munoz @GlennMunoz6

Yes, especially with rumors that they are interested in trading for Kluber and/or signing Japanese free agent Yusei Kikuchi, who projects as a third starter. If either is acquired, I could see Rich Hill or Alex Wood being expendable.

Understanding Alex Verdugo's journey was delayed because of the outfield logjam, can we expect prospects to move up faster for positions with clear "openings" (Will Smith at catcher; [Gavin] Lux at second base), or is the plan to be patient because of service time?
-- Jonny Solís @JonnySolisOffic

Maybe I'm naive, but I don't think this management team makes roster decisions based on service time. If anything, the Dodgers can't transition to younger, cheaper players fast enough -- but not before their time. The last three years they've had two winners and a third-place finish for National League Rookie of the Year. If they're good enough, they'll play.

Finally, not everybody agreed with my view of the Top 10 Dodgers trades of all-time. OK, nobody agreed. Here are a few that didn't make my cut.

From mxcarlin@gmail.com
Frank Howard + 4 for Claude Osteen +1. Future two-time league HR champ for future five-time All-Star; Jim Brewer for Minor Leaguer; Ron Fairly + 3 for Maury Wills and Manny Mota; Dick Allen for Tommy John; Willie Davis for Mike Marshall.

From David Anderson dkasr51@yahoo.com
Gino Cimoli to the St. Louis Cardinals for Wally Moon and Phil Paine.

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

Los Angeles Dodgers