Following rotation departures, Red Sox add veteran starter in free agency
December 28th, 2022
The last few days have seen the Red Sox rotation take a couple of big hits in free agency. First Rich Hill, who started 26 games for the Sox last year, signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Then on Tuesday night, last year’s ace Nathan Eovaldi agreed to a deal with the Texas Rangers.
Now, Chaim Bloom has began the process of replacing those players in the rotation. On Wednesday morning, multiple reports shared that the Red Sox have signed 36-year-old righty Corey Kluber to a one-year, $10 million deal with a team option for 2024.
Red Sox have agreed to a 1-year deal with Corey Kluber with a club option for 2024, per @JeffPassan.
This doesn’t fix the top of the rotation, but he was solid last season with a 4.34 ERA/3.57 FIP and a 7.6 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9 with the Rays in 2022. 164 IP.pic.twitter.com/wO4mzpjqxY
In an offseason where they’ve missed out on multiple free agents due to geographical reasons, that didn’t prove to be an issue with Kluber. His family lives in Winchester, MA – his wife’s hometown.
Kluber spent last season with the Tampa Bay Rays. In 31 starts he went 10-10 with a 4.34 ERA and 1.2123 WHIP. His 1.2 walks per nine innings was the lowest rate in baseball.
Last year was Kluber’s first full season since 2018. He started just seven games in 2019, mostly due to a broken arm. A shoulder injury limited him to just one start in 2020, and then a separate shoulder injury kept him to 16 games in 2021. He’s also moved around quite a bit during that time, playing for four teams in four years.
Prior to that run of injuries, Kluber was one of the best pitchers in baseball. From 2014 to 2018 he won two Cy Young awards and was a four-time All Star with Cleveland.
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 16: Corey Kluber #28 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches during a game against the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field on September 16, 2022 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The Red Sox have tried on multiple occasions to bring Kluber in during the Chaim Bloom era. He ended up joining the Yankees in 2021, then the Rays last year.
Now, they’ll turn to him as a player who they hope can stabilize a rotation that had lost two pitchers that made a combined 46 starts last season. Michael Wacha, who made 23 starts last year, is also still a free agent.
SoxProspects.com currently projects Kluber to be the team’s No. 2 starter behind Chris Sale. He’s followed by James Paxton, Nick Pivetta, and Garrett Whitlock. That group combined to make a total of 44 starts last season, with Pivetta being responsible for 33 of those.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarthor via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.