Corey Kluber has been rumored to be drawing interest from the Boston Red Sox. One of the 2020 Red Sox’s biggest holes was their severe lack of pitchers. Kluber would add an additional veteran presence to the Sox rotation. Alongside Chris Sale (eventually), Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, and Nick Pivetta/Tanner Houck, Kluber would slot in as maybe the 3rd or 4th starter. I believe Kluber would be a good addition for the right price. However, some are viewing this as a done deal simply based on the fact Kluber has a residence in Massachusetts. Though this is true, Kluber is still drawing interest from multiple teams. Kluber will probably be throwing for these teams’ representatives later this month (via Buster Olney).
The Corey Kluber of the Past
It is worth noting that Corey Kluber is not currently playing at the level most Red Sox fans remember him from. Kluber was an integral part of the Cleveland
Indians team that knocked out the Sox in the 2016 ALDS. With 7 shutout innings, he put Cleveland up 2-0. It seems as though 2018 was Kluber’s final season pitching at a Cy Young Award level. From 2014-18, Kluber had four 18+ Win seasons, leading the league twice.
But since then Kluber has appeared in only 8 games, following injuries. Kluber has had a tough road to recovery following his Tommy John surgery and has dealt with shoulder injuries as well. I don’t think it is rational to pencil in Kluber for any great amount of statistics, due to his injury history and lack of reps over the past 2 years.
Potential & Expectations
A realistic ERA to expect from Kluber, if signed, is around a 4.00-5.00 level. I don’t think he’ll be completely 100%, but I do think he could be a quality inning eater. I would trust Kluber more than the likes of Zack Godley and Matt Hall, who both (sadly) took the mound for the Red Sox in 2020. It’s also worth noting that Kluber has a much higher ceiling than most of the Red Sox pitchers of yesteryear. In all, this seems like a low-risk high reward type of signing the Red Sox could take on.
But furthermore, the value of this signing will be based on Kluber’s price tag. Kluber’s last contract was worth 38.5 Million over 5 years. It’s reasonable to assume his upcoming contract will have a much lower value. If a pitcher like Mike Minor can get 18 Million over 2 years, I think Kluber will get a semi-similar value. A good price for Kluber, in the Red Sox’s terms, is probably something around 1-2 years, with 4-7 Million per year.
In all, Corey Kluber would be a decent signing for the Red Sox to add rotation depth, but only for the right price.