The Rangers are expected to decline right-hander Corey Kluber’s $18 million option for 2021, instead opting to pay him a $1 million buyout, reports TR Sullivan of MLB.com.
Rangers have not made official announcement on RHP Corey Kluber but the plan is to not exercise his option and possibly re-sign him to a lesser deal.— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) October 28, 2020
The Kluber deal, viewed as a potential steal for the Rangers when it was made last December, has ended up being rather disappointing for both Texas and Cleveland thus far, though it’s possible that it could at least end up being a success in future years for the Indians. The Rangers gave up reliever Emmanuel Clase, who missed the entire season with a PED suspension that will stretch into next season, and outfielder Delino Deshields, who posted a .628 OPS for Cleveland and is a candidate to be non-tendered this offseason, for one season (and ultimately just one start, actually) of the two-time Cy Young winner.
Kluber finishes his Rangers career (for now) having thrown just one inning during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, allowing one walk but no hits or runs. He spent the rest of the season on the injured list with a shoulder strain, and after missing most of the 2019 season with a fractured forearm, he’s now pitched in just eight major-league games in the last two years.
While he will be 35 next season, he is an interesting bouce-back candidate if he can stay healthy: He has a 3.16 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP over 209 career games and was dominant as recently as 2018, when he posted a 2.89 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP over an AL-best 215 innings.