The Rays have signed two-time AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber to a one-year, $8 million deal that could max out at $13 million with incentives, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, and the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin reported on Sunday morning.
Free-agent RHP Corey Kluber in agreement with Rays on one-year deal, pending physical, sources tell @TheAthletic. Kluber, 35, missed more than three months with right shoulder strain before rejoining Yankees in late August. Finished with 3.83 ERA in 80 IP, including no-hitter.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 28, 2021
Kluber, who will be 36 in April, hasn’t had a fully healthy season since 2018, but he was very good when he was on the mound in 2021. Over 16 starts with the Yankees, Kluber posted a 3.83 ERA with a 1.34 WHIP, 82 strikeouts, and 33 walks in 80 innings, and he threw a no-hitter on May 19. Unfortunately for the veteran starter, injuries once again held him back, and he didn’t pitch from May 25-August 30 with a shoulder strain.
He’ll now add a veteran presence — one that seemed to be lacking down the stretch after Rich Hill was traded — to a Rays rotation that is also set to include Shane McClanahan and Shane Baz, with Yonny Chirinos, Josh Fleming, Luis Patiño, Drew Rasmussen, and Ryan Yarbrough among the candidates to fill out the starting five. Of course, the Rays have evaded the traditional starting pitching structure more than any other team in the majors, so it’s not a given — in fact, it might even be an unlikelihood — that they’ll utilize a normal five-man rotation in 2022.
This will be Kluber’s fourth team in four seasons. After beginning his career with nine seasons in Cleveland, he was traded to Texas for the 2020 campaign before spending last season in New York.