Kluber held a showcase on Wednesday where he threw 30 pitches while flashing a fastball that touched 90 MPH and showed good command of his offspeed pitches including a changeup, cutter, and curveball. Since his workout, Kluber’s market heated up quickly.
The SF Giants were one of many teams to observe the workout. While their level of interest is not known, Kluber is the type of reclamation project that they have targeted in recent years. The 34-year-old has battled oblique and shoulder injuries over the past two seasons that has limited him to just 36.2 innings.
However, the veteran starter has strung together an impressive career after being selected in the fourth round of the 2007 draft by the San Diego Padres out of Stetson University. This has included two Cy Young Awards (2014 and 2017), three all-star selections, and a trip to the 2016 World Series.
Despite being drafted by the Padres, Kluber was shipped to the Cleveland Indians at the 2010 trade deadline in a three-team trade that brought outfielder Ryan Ludwick to San Diego. The righty would debut with Cleveland in the following year where he would yield four earned runs across 4.1 innings.
Since his debut, Kluber has been one of the best pitchers in baseball. In ten seasons, the Stetson University product has registered a 98-58 record, 3.16 ERA, 2.99 FIP, 1.09 WHIP, and a 4.99 SO/W ratio.
Kluber was surprisingly traded to the Texas Rangers last winter in exchange for pitching prospect Emmanual Clase and outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. On the surface, this looked like a minimal return for Cleveland given Kluber’s career accomplishments.
With that being said, the right-handed hurler battled a nagging shoulder injury that only allowed him to complete just one inning with the Rangers in 2020. He entered free agency for the first time in his career following his brief tenure with the Rangers and was looking to rebuild value after missing substantial time over the past two seasons.
If healthy, the Yankees’ decision to sign Kluber is one that could quickly pay dividends for a rotation that needs a little extra help. After re-signing Kevin Gausman and bringing in Alex Wood and Anthony DeSclafani, the SF Giants did not seem like a good fit for Kluber, but they had interest and that could indicate that they are still looking for starting pitching help.