Right-hander Corey Kluber and the Boston Red Sox are in agreement on a one-year, $10 million contract that includes a club option for 2024, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN, rounding out a remaking of the team’s pitching staff through free agent signings.
Kluber, 36, is a two-time Cy Young Award winner whose strikeout-to-walk ratio was the second best in the American League last year as he punched out 139 and issued 21 free passes in 164 innings for the Tampa Bay Rays.
He joins a rotation that includes veterans Chris Sale and Nick Pivetta. Right-handers Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Houck, both of whom have been most effective in relief roles, will vie for spots, as will rookie right-hander Brayan Bello.
Boston already remade its bullpen with the signings of closer Kenley Jansen, right-hander Chris Martin and left-hander Joely Rodriguez. They also brought in Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida on a five-year, $90 million deal as well as third baseman Justin Turner.
While injuries limited Kluber to 116⅔ innings from 2019 to ’21, he proved a capable innings-eater for the Rays despite a fastball velocity that was 43rd among 45 qualified starters. Kluber threw his fastball a little more than a quarter of the time, relying more on a cutter — along with a curveball and an occasional changeup — to post a 4.34 ERA.
In his prime, from 2014 to ’18, Kluber was among the best pitchers in baseball. He won a pair of Cy Youngs with Cleveland, for whom he pitched through 2019. He was traded to Texas before the 2020 season and pitched one inning for the Rangers. Kluber played for the New York Yankees in 2021 before going to Tampa Bay on a one-year, $8 million deal.