UPDATE: ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that “Corey Kluber’s negotiations could go quickly after his session in front of scouts [Wednesday]. There is no thought he’ll need to throw a second time, given how [Wednesday] went.”
The Red Sox were one of approximately 25 teams to attend free-agent right-hander Corey Kluber’s showcase on Wednesday, as confirmed by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.
Kluber, 34, threw for teams at pitching guru Eric Cressey’s facility in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, “scouts came away impressed” with Kluber’s outing, as he sat around 88-90 mph with his fastball with “more velocity in the tank as he builds towards spring training.”
Throwing 30 pitches, Kluber also showcased all of his off-speed stuff, and a strong market is expected to form for the 34-year-old in the coming weeks, per Passan.
Kluber, who turns 35 in April, has made just eight starts and worked 36 2/3 innings the past two seasons due to a multitude of injuries.
In May 2019, the former fourth-round draft pick took a line drive off his right arm in the fifth inning of his start against the Marlins. He would go on to miss the rest of the year due to a right ulna fracture.
In July 2020, seven months after getting dealt from the Indians to the Rangers, Kluber suffered a season-ending teres major strain in the first inning of his first outing of the year against the Rockies.
On account of him only being able to make one start with Texas, Kluber had his $18 million team option for 2021 declined by the Rangers in late October, making him a free agent.
Since that time, the two-time Cy Young Award winner has been ramping back up to the point where he was ready to throw in front of scouts this week.
“I don’t have a mindset that I need to prove myself to anyone, so to speak,” Kluber told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers ahead of his showcase. “I just need to show people that I’m healthy. I’m not putting pressure on myself to go out there and do X, Y and Z. It’s just about showing teams I’m progressing through a normal offseason.”
As he prepares for a normal spring training, Kluber should have plenty of suitors looking to potentially buy low on someone who not too long ago was considered one of the best pitchers in baseball.
The Red Sox, of course, are obviously one of these teams. And as Cotillo notes, Boston may “have geographic advantage in signing Kluber [since] he makes his offseason home in Winchester, Mass., where his wife, Amanda, grew up.”
(Photo of Corey Kluber: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)