Toronto Blue Jays free agent target: Corey Kluber
Reuben Gasee of Jays Journal will be doing an article series of mid-tier free agents the Blue Jays should pursue. This article will take a look at Corey Kluber.
The Toronto Blue Jays plan to be aggressive this offseason but their only move of significance so far has been re-signing Robbie Ray. That move is sure to be followed by more to come but the Blue Jays have some needs on their roster that they need to fill.
One area of need they will need to address is the starting rotation. There is currently a spot up for grabs in the rotation with the other four spots being taken by Hyun-Jin Ryu, Nate Pearson, Ray, and Tanner Roark although the latter two could be moved to the bullpen to accommodate a better pitcher.
To fill the empty spot in the rotation, one player that could realistically be brought in is Corey Kluber.
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Kluber’s 2020 season came with no significance as he was only healthy enough to throw one inning and sat out the rest of the season with shoulder tightness. In fact, Kluber has kind of found a home on the injured list as he was only able to make seven starts in 2019.
Prior to the 2019 campaign though, Kluber was among the premier pitchers in the major leagues. In 2018, Kluber got 20 wins with a 2.89 ERA, striking out 222 in 215 innings. He was a finalist for the Cy Young award finishing third in the American League.
2017 was the best season of his career as he took home the Cy Young award. He went 18-4 while posting an ERA of 2.25 which was the best mark in the league and struck out 265 batters over 141 hits given up in 203.2 innings pitched. His 18 wins was tied for the most in the league but led the league in complete games (five) and shutouts (three).
As Kluber spent most of his career with the Cleveland Indians, the Blue Jays front office is very familiar with the former ace since they came over from that organization. Likewise, Kluber is also probably very familiar with Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins which gives the Blue Jays an advantage in courting him and makes a signing seem plausible.
While there haven’t been many rumblings about his free agency, the Boston Red Sox, who are in dire need of pitching, have apparently been in on Kluber. The Blue Jays could sneak in and pry him away from their division rival.
As Kluber hasn’t been his former self in recent seasons, a contract of a few million with incentives based on performance and/or games pitched with a team option for a second year would make sense for both the team and the pitcher.
As a fan, would you want to see Kluber in a Blue Jays uniform?