Corey Kluber has a career ERA of 3.16 and has struck out 1,462 batters over 1,342.2 innings. This alone should speak to the dominance Kluber had during his prime pitching years. Kluber has won 2 AL CY Young awards and appeared in 3 All-Star games during his time in Cleveland with the Indians. He was a bonafide ace and the absolute definition of a workhorse. Kluber pitched more than 200 innings in every season between the years 2014 and 2018. Kluber was an 18 game-winner for three separate seasons and even hit 20 wins during the 2018 season. Then it all came crashing down in 2019.
2018 & 2019
Kluber was struck in the right forearm by a ball off Brian Anderson‘s bat in May of 2019. This caused a fracture in his arm that led to him being shut down for several months. During a rehab assignment in August of 2019, he was shut down due to an internal oblique strain. Kluber only pitched 35.2 innings during the 2019 season. Kluber was traded to the Texas Rangers ahead of the 2020 season. Where he was only able to pitch one inning before being shut down with shoulder tightness. The Rangers declined to pick up his 2021 option.
We now have a pitcher who will turn 35 ahead of the 2021 season. Kluber has only tossed 36.2 innings in the past two seasons that weren’t inspiring. He will be pressed to find a one-year, prove-it deal and has announced that he will throw for several teams in January. It would be hard to expect him to replicate his 2018 season, but I think there will still be something in his tank if he can avoid injury in the future. You can never have enough talented arms at the major league level, and Kluber has proved he can get major league hitters out. I think he could be a diamond in the rough for a team in contention or on the verge of contending for a playoff spot.