The Red Sox will sign Corey Kluber to a one-year contract

The Red Sox and the right-hander Corey Kluber have agreed on a one-year contract, plus a club option for 2024, it is reported Jeff Passan of ESPN. Kluber will be guaranteed $10 million, it is reported Alex Speyer of the Boston Globe. The option is worth $11 million, and the deal also includes certain incentives — one Jon Heyman of The New York Post.

Kluber, 37, was once one of the best pitchers in April, winning Cy Young awards in both 2014 and 2017. Those were part of a six-year stretch with Cleveland from 2013 to 2018, with Kluber posting a 2.96 ERA. in that time, along with a 27.7% strikeout rate, 5.2% walk rate, and 44.9% ground ball rate.

Injuries limited him to just eight starts between 2019 and 2020, with a broken forearm and a torn teres muscle the primary culprits. He’s been in the backfield ever since, but as more of a backstop instead of an ace, he’s been in Cleveland, signing one-year deals with the Yankees and Rays for the past two seasons. He made 16 starts in 2021 with a 3.83 ERA and 31 starts in 2022 with a 4.34 ERA. His 34.7% strikeout rate in 2017 dropped to 24% last year and 20.2% in 2022. He still avoided free passes, something he excelled at for a long time, as his 3% walk rate this year was several times below his career high. 5.4% mark.

Statcast pegged Kluber’s four-seam fastball at 88.9 mph in 2022, a significant drop from pre-injury when he was in the 93-95 range. However, he still found ways to be effective overall, with an average exit velocity in the 80th percentile, a hard hit rate in the 75th, and a barrel velocity in the 57th. Given his age and checkered health history, MLBTR projected him for a one-year, $12 million deal, with Kluber just under that, though unknown motivations could potentially make the difference.

More to come.


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