With the recent news that two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber is going to throw a bullpen session on January 13th, should the SF Giants pursue Kluber as one of Farhan Zaidi’s patented reclamation projects?
Corey Kluber, the longtime ace in Cleveland, has had severe injury problems in the last few years. In 2019, he fractured his throwing arm on a line drive. Then he was traded to the Texas Rangers in 2020 but the potential SF Giants target pitched one inning for the team before tearing a muscle in his shoulder which put him on the shelf for the rest of the year.
Now, Kluber is healthy enough to pitch again and there will be a ton of teams watching his bullpen session to see whether he still has anything left from his Cy Young days. The situation is similar to when Giants legend Tim Lincecum pitched a bullpen session following his hip injury in 2015. Many teams showed up to see if The Freak, a two time Cy Young winner in his own right, still had the goods.
There are many questions still surrounding Kluber, who will turn 35 in a few months. First and foremost is can he stay healthy? Will his velocity be the same? Can he go deep into games? Those questions will not all be answered in a 30 pitch bullpen session, but it will at least give teams a small glimpse into the risk they would be taking in signing Kluber.
Now to the question as to whether it would be wise for the Giants to take a chance on signing Kluber. Obviously, the Giants still have a need with starting pitching. We saw last year with Kevin Gausman‘s excellent performance that the Giants are capable of taking in a pitcher who has struggled and getting him back on track. They can also boast one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in baseball which is enticing to a pitcher trying to get back on the horse.
The main problem is that many other teams are bound to be interested in Kluber and they are in a much better position to take a risk on a guy who will still command a sizable salary than the Giants currently are.
So, while Kluber is definitely intriguing, he may not be the best fit for the Giants when it is clear that they are still likely several years off from contending in the NL West.