The starter-needy Red Sox are showing interest in free-agent right-hander Corey Kluber, per Jon Morosi of MLB.com. Kluber, who’s coming off an injury-wrecked season, could start throwing bullpen sessions this month after suffering a Grade 2 teres major strain, Morosi adds.
As a two-time Cy Young winner who fell on difficult times during the previous two seasons, the soon-to-be 35-year-old Kluber looks like an intriguing buy-low candidate. The former Indian missed almost all of 2019 after suffering a fractured forearm, and this past season’s shoulder problems with the Rangers limited him to one appearance and one inning. The Rangers then declined Kluber’s $18MM option for 2021 in favor of a $1MM buyout.
Despite Kluber’s recent hardships, it isn’t hard to see the appeal. The last time he was healthy, in 2018, Kluber fired 215 innings of 2.89 ERA/3.12 FIP ball with 9.29 K/9 and 1.42 BB/9. His 92 mph-plus fastball velocity hasn’t abandoned him since then, so it would be easy for any team to dream on Kluber returning to form on an affordable, short-term contract.
The Red Sox need all the help they can get in their rotation, as ace Chris Sale is still working back from Tommy John surgery and No. 2 Eduardo Rodriguez missed all of 2020 because of issues stemming from COVID-19 and myocarditis. Without those two around, Boston’s rotation sputtered to a 5.34 ERA/5.50 FIP. The team’s top healthy candidates slated to return include Nathan Eovaldi, Tanner Houck and Nick Pivetta, but no member of that trio has a track record that’s nearly as impressive as Kluber’s.