According to Mark Sanchez of KNBR, the SF Giants were one of 25 teams to attend the showcase held by Corey Kluber on Wednesday.
The right-handed hurler sustained a tear in his shoulder that put him on the shelf for most of 2020, so he is the type of reclamation project that the SF Giants have been targeting in recent years.
Kluber reportedly threw 30 pitches and showed good command of his fastball, which topped out at 90 MPH, as well as his offspeed pitches including a changeup, cutter, and curveball. He is best known for his time with the Cleveland Indians, which included two Cy Young awards (2014 and 2017), three all-star selections, and a trip to the 2016 World Series.
The 34-year-old was originally drafted by the San Diego Padres in the fourth round of the 2007 draft out of Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. However, he was shipped to the Indians in 2010 in a three-team trade that netted San Diego Ryan Ludwick.
Kluber debuted with Cleveland in 2011 where he yielded four earned runs in 4.1 frames across three appearances. Since his debut, the long-time Indians starter has registered a 98-58 overall record, 3.16 ERA, 2.99 FIP, 1.08 WHIP, and a 4.99 SO/W ratio.
He was surprisingly traded to the Texas Rangers last offseason in exchange for Emmanual Clase and Delino DeShields Jr. As we have seen in recent months, the Indians would prefer to trade a valuable player such as Kluber, Mike Clevinger, Francisco Lindor, and Carlos Carrasco with some team control remaining to maximize the returns.
That said, the return for the Stetson University product was surprisingly bare given his career accomplishments. His time with the Rangers was short-lived as he battled a shoulder injury that only allowed him to accumulate one inning in 2020.
The veteran starter is a free agent for the first time in his career, and the showcase was needed to prove that he is healthy again. The Giants’ interest in a pitcher of Kluber’s caliber is not surprising given their need for sarters.
On that same note, San Francisco has quietly become a desirable location for pitchers to re-establish market value. However, it does seem like they have pivoted toward left-handed pitching as the rotation leans heavily on right-handed hurlers currently.
They might have a sincere interest in Kluber, but this seems more like a due diligence move on their part as the righty offers some of the highest upside of any free-agent pitcher this winter. Nevertheless, the Giants are one of 25 teams to have observed Kluber’s workout, so he should have plenty of interested suitors.