The Red Sox have had some contact with free agent starting pitcher Corey Kluber this winter, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.
Kluber, 36, makes his offseason home in Winchester, Mass., where his wife, Amanda, is from. The veteran right-hander has discussed potential deals with the Red Sox in each of his last two trips to free agency before ultimately deciding to sign elsewhere.
In January 2021, Kluber inked a one-year deal with the Yankees. After posting a 3.83 ERA in 16 starts (80 innings) for New York, the righty signed another one-year pact with the Rays last December and pitched to a 4.34 ERA with 139 strikeouts to just 21 walks over 31 starts (164 innings) for Tampa Bay this past season.
Kluber may no longer the dominant ace who won two Cy Young Awards in a span of four seasons with the Guardians from 2014-2017. But the three-time All Star has seemingly expressed a desire to pitch in Boston and could still provide the Red Sox with value as a steady rotation presence.
“I think they’re well aware of how I feel [about pitching close to home],” Kluber told Speier.
So far this offseason, the Red Sox have worked to solidify their starting rotation. They welcomed James Paxton back after he exercised his $4 million player option and revealed at the GM meetings that they planned on using Garrett Whitlock as a starter next season. Speier notes that the club has shown interest in free agent lefty Andrew Heaney and remains in contact with Nathan Eovaldi about a potential multi-year deal to return to Boston.
The Red Sox, according to Speier, are “expected to be one of the biggest spenders this winter.” But that spending is expected to be spread across several areas, meaning those within the industry are not anticipating high-end free agent starters such as Justin Verlander, Jacob deGrom, Carlos Rodon, or Chris Bassitt to be pursued by Boston anytime soon. Instead, it seems as though chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. are focused on veteran, mid-rotation options like Eovaldi, Heaney, and Kluber.
Kluber, who turns 37 in April, could land a one-year deal or a one-year deal with an option attached in free agency this winter. He earned a base salary of $8 million with the Rays this season and is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to receive $12 million in 2023.
Back in July, Kluber — who was born in Alabama — told MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo that he enjoyed spending his winters in Massachisetts and that Fenway Park was one of his favorite places to visit while on the road during the baseball season.
“I think it’s an awesome city. I think it’s a great place,” he said. “During the summer time, during baseball season, it’s hard to find a better place. I enjoy going there as a visitor. Fenway is one of, if not my favorite park in the big leagues. Just the environment, the history of it, all that sort of stuff. I just think it’s a very cool place.”
(Picture of Corey Kluber: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)