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Cubs free agent target: Corey Kluber

Because why not?

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Corey Kluber was once one of the best pitchers in baseball. From 2014-18, a five-season span, he was completely dominant: 160 starts, 2.48 ERA, 10.1 strikeouts and only 1.8 walks per nine innings, two Cy Young awards.

We saw this first-hand in the 2016 World Series when Kluber, one of Cleveland’s only healthy starters, made three starts and limited the Cubs to five runs in 16 innings — but he had to start on short rest in Game 7 and, of course, the Cubs scored four of those five runs off him then.

Anyway, after 2018 Kluber got hurt. He made just seven starts in 2019 and signed with the Rangers for 2020. He got hurt again and started just once for them. For 2021 he signed with the Yankees, pitched fairly well until May — including a no-hitter May 19 against his old Cleveland team — then hurt his shoulder and missed three months. He came back and pitched... well, not terribly after late August.

He’ll be 36 in April. So why take a chance? Kluber isn’t going to be that 2014-18 guy anymore.

I’d say it’s worth a chance because he’s healthy again and could eat up a few innings. And, if the Cubs aren’t in contention, he could probably be flipped at the deadline if he’s doing well. Hey, maybe the Yankees would take him back.

At this stage of his career I’d think a deal for Kluber would have to include incentivees, as proof he is healthy. So how about this: $5 million base, then $1 million each for 10 starts, 15 starts, 20 starts, 25 starts, 30 starts. That would make it a $10 million deal if he’s healthy enough to make 30 starts, something he hasn’t done since 2018. Then tack on a $10 million option for 2023 with a $1 million buyout.

Who says no?


Corey Kluber...

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    ... the Cubs should sign him to a deal like the one proposed in the article
    (162 votes)
  • 7%
    ... the Cubs should sign him, but it will cost more in dollars and/or years
    (30 votes)
  • 49%
    ... too old and/or injured. Pass
    (188 votes)
  • 0%
    Something else (leave in comments)
    (3 votes)
383 votes total Vote Now