The Red Sox have officially signed right-hander Corey Kluber to a one-year contract for the 2023 season that includes a club option for 2024, the team announced on Thursday. In order to make room for Kluber on the 40-man roster, fellow righty Connor Seabold was designated for assignment.
Kluber agreed to a one-year deal with Boston late last month after spending the 2022 season with the Rays. The 36-year-old will receive a base salary of $10 million in 2023 but will have the chance to earn an additional $2 million in performance bonuses if he makes 30 more starts.
If Kluber does make 30 or more starts this coming season, the value of his club option for 2024 increases from $11 million to $13 million. If the Red Sox exercise the option and Kluber makes 30-plus starts in 2024, he would be in line to receive $2 million in performance bonuses.
All told, Kluber will make $10 million in guaranteed money this year. If all bonuses are reached and the option is picked up, his deal can max out at $27 million ($12 million in 2023 and $15 million in 2024) over the next two seasons.
Kluber, who turns 37 in April, posted a 4.34 ERA and 3.57 FIP with 139 strikeouts to 21 walks over 31 starts (164 innings) for Tampa Bay last season. His 3.1 percent walk rate ranked first among qualified pitchers while his 38.8 chase rate ranked third, per FanGraphs.
A native of Alabama, Kluber was originally selected by the Padres in the fourth round of the 2007 amateur draft out of Stetson University (DeLand, Fla.). He was dealt to Cleveland as part of a three-team trade in July 2010 and broke in with the Guardians (then the Indians) the following September.
While in Cleveland, Kluber established himself as one of the most dominant starting pitchers in the American League. He won his first Cy Young Award in 2014 and took home his second in 2017 in the process of making three straight All-Star teams from 2016-2018.
After injuries limited him to just seven starts in 2019, Kluber was traded to the Rangers in exchange for outfielder Delino DeShields and reliever Enmanuel Clase that December. He made just one start for Texas during the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign before being shut down with a torn right teres muscle.
Kluber reemerged with the Yankees in 2021 and pitched to a 3.83 ERA (3.85 FIP) in 16 starts (80 innings) for New York. A right shoulder strain kept him sidelined from May 27 through August 30 of that year, but the Red Sox still tried to sign him before he inked a one-year pact with the Rays last December.
To his credit, Kluber avoided the injured list completely in 2022 while seeing his most action since 2018. The 6-foot-4, 252-pound hurler averaged 86.3 mph with his cutter, 80.7 mph with his curveball, 88.9 mph with his sinker, 82.9 mph with his changeup, and 88.9 mph with his four-seam fastball, per Baseball Savant.
Kluber makes his offseason home in Winchester, Mass. (where his wife, Amanda, is from) and has long been a logical fit for Boston given the local connections. In the wake of Nathan Eovaldi (Rangers) and Rich Hill (Pirates) leaving in free agency, Kluber is now slated to join a Red Sox rotation mix that includes Chris Sale, Nick Pivetta, Garrett Whitlock, James Paxton, Brayan Bello, and maybe even Tanner Houck.
For his major-league career, which spans 12 seasons with four teams (Guardians, Rangers, Yankees, and Rays), Kluber owns a lifetime 3.31 ERA and 3.09 FIP with 1,683 strikeouts to 347 walks across 256 appearances (251 starts) spanning 1,586 2/3 innings of work. He has also forged a 4.02 ERA in 47 career postseason innings between Cleveland and Tampa Bay.
Kluber, who spoke with reporters over Zoom earlier Thursday afternoon, will wear the No. 28 with the Red Sox, which was last worn by designated hitter J.D. Martinez.
(Picture of Corey Kluber: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)