Corey Kluber, who logged all of one MLB inning in 2020, impressed at his showcase Wednesday (an event attended by no fewer than 60 scouts representing up to 25 teams), looking sharp with pinpoint control and respectable velocity (his fastball sat between 88-90 mph) throughout the 30-pitch session. Now that the 34-year-old has shown teams what he’s working with, it’s only a matter of time until Kluber resurfaces in a big-league starting rotation. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, bidding on Kluber has already begun with the veteran expected to find a new home by the end of the weekend.
Beset by injuries including a shoulder issue that hampered him much of last season, Kluber certainly carries risk, though his brilliant resume—two Cy Young Awards, three All-Star nods and a career 3.16 ERA—speaks for itself. The last time he was healthy in 2018, the 6’4” right-hander tallied a career-best 20 wins while finishing third in AL Cy Young voting.
The former Indians and Rangers ace would be a cheaper alternative to Trevor Bauer, who heads this year’s class of free-agent starters. The Yankees and Red Sox have each been linked to Kluber in recent weeks, though scouts from Arizona, Detroit, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Washington were also present for Wednesday’s workout in Florida.
Kluber may not be the pitcher he was in his Cy Young prime, but given his past success with Cleveland, he’ll always be a name worth monitoring, particularly in a sluggish free-agent crop with few, if any, true difference-makers.