Red Sox designate Connor Seabold for assignment

The Red Sox needed to clear a spot on their 40-man roster before making the signing of veteran starter Corey Kluber official on Thursday afternoon. They did so by designating fellow right-hander Connor Seabold for assignment.

Seabold, who turns 27 later this month, was regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 22 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranked seventh among pitchers in the organization. The Red Sox originally acquired the California native from the Phillies alongside Nick Pivetta in the August 2020 trade that sent relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree to Philadelphia.

For the better part of the last two seasons, Seabold has served as upper-minors rotation depth for the Red Sox. He posted a 3.50 ERA in 11 starts (54 innings) for Triple-A Worcester in 2021 and followed that up by producing a 3.32 ERA in 19 starts (86 2/3 innings) with the WooSox in 2022.

Unfortunately, that success has not translated to the major-league level as of yet. Seabold made his big-league debut in September 2021 and made five additional starts for Boston last season. In those six outings, the righty allowed 25 earned runs on 38 hits, 10 walks, and 19 strikeouts over 21 1/3 cumulative innings of work. That is good for an ERA of 10.55 and FIP of 6.82.

Seabold has dealt with his fair share of injuries in his time with the Red Sox organization. He was sidelined with right elbow inflammation during the early stages of the 2021 campaign and spent time on the injured list with a pectoral strain and right forearm extensor strain in 2022. Perhaps as a result of those arm issues, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound hurler averaged just 92.1 mph on his four-seam fastball in the majors, per Baseball Savant.

With the addition of Kluber, the Red Sox have only further bolstered a starting rotation mix that already included Chris Sale, Nick Pivetta, Garrett Whitlock, Brayan Bello, James Paxton, and Tanner Houck. When you add others like Josh Winckowski, Kutter Crawford, Bryan Mata, Chris Murphy, and Brandon Walter, Seabold undoubtedly became more expandable.

The Red Sox now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Seabold, who has one minor-league option year remaining and could be of interest to other clubs as a result. If he clears waivers, the Red Sox would be able keep Seabold in the organization without committing a 40-man roster spot to him.

Regardless of his fate, though, Seabold becomes the latest in a long line of players to be lopped off the Red Sox’ 40-man roster this winter. He joins the likes of Eduard Bazardo, Yu Chang, Franchy Cordero, Tyler Danish, Jeter Downs, Eric Hosmer, and — most recently — Darwinzon Hernandez.

(Picture of Connor Seabold: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox officially sign two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber

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)

Red Sox agree to one-year deal with two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber

The Red Sox have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with free agent right-hander Corey Kluber, as was first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The deal, which is pending a physical, comes with a club option for 2024 as well.

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Kluber will earn $10 million in 2023. Jon Heyman of the New York Post reports that the option is worth $11 million and the deal includes additional incentive bonuses.

Per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Kluber’s 2023 salary can increase to $10.5 million if he makes 20 starts, $11.25 million if he makes 25 starts, and $12 million if he makes 30 or more starts next season. The value of his option for 2024, which does not come with a buyout, increases to $11.5 million if he makes 20 starts, $12.25 million if he makes 25 starts, and $13 million if he makes 30 starts.

“The contract then stipulates that those bonuses carry over to 2024 if the option is exercised,” Cotillo wrote on Wednesday. “Kluber would be due the same bonuses based on games started in 2024 (maxing out at $2 million).”

All told, Kluber’s deal with the Red Sox can max out at $27 million over two years ($12 million in 2023 and $15 million in 2024) if he makes 30-plus starts in 2023, has his option picked up, and then makes 30 or more starts again in 2024.

Kluber, who turns 37 in April, spent the 2022 season with the Rays after signing a one-year, $8 million pact with the club last December. In 31 starts for Tampa Bay, the veteran righty posted a 4.34 ERA — but much more respectable 3.57 FIP — with 139 strikeouts to 21 walks over 164 innings of work.

The Red Sox have been interested in signing Kluber in each of the last two offseasons but were ultimately unable to secure his services. Prior to his one season with the Rays, Kluber spent the 2021 campaign with the Yankees. This time around, however, Boston was able to land one of its top targets one day after fellow starters Nathan Eovaldi and Rich Hill agreed to deals with the Rangers and Pirates, respectively.

Kluber, who lives in Winchester, Mass. (where his wife, Amanda, is from) during the winter, is now slated to join a starting rotation mix in Boston that already consists of Brayan Bello, Chris Sale, Garrett Whitlock, James Paxton, Nick Pivetta, and possibly even Tanner Houck heading into the 2023 season. While the Red Sox were unable to bring back Eovaldi, they were previously interested in a reunion with Michael Wacha, though the addition of Kluber may have altered those plans.

A former fourth-round draft pick of the Padres coming out of Stetson University (DeLand, Fla.) in 2007, Kluber was traded to the Guardians in 2010 and first broke in with Cleveland the following September. As part of a nine-year tenure with that franchise, Kluber made three All-Star teams and won the American League Cy Young Award in 2014 and 2017.

The Guardians traded Kluber to the Rangers in Dec. 2019. He was limited to just one start with Texas during the COVID-shortened 2020 season due to a tear in his right teres muscle. Kluber left the Rangers for the Yankees last January and has since forged a 4.17 ERA (3.66 FIP) over 47 starts (244 innings) in his short stays in the Bronx and St. Petersburg.

For his big-league career, which spans 12 seasons and four teams (Cleveland, Texas, New York, and Tampa Bay), Kluber owns a lifetime 3.31 ERA and 3.09 FIP to go along with 1,683 strikeouts to 347 walks across 256 appearances (251 starts) spanning 1,586 2/3 innings pitched. He has also produced a 4.02 ERA in 47 career postseason innings.

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, Kluber operates with a five-pitch mix that consists of a mid-80s cutter, a low-80s curveball, a high-80s sinker, a low-80s changeup, and a high-80s four-seam fastball. This past season, he ranked in the 99th percentile of the league in walk rate (3.1 percent) and the 96th percentile in chase rate (35.7 percent), per Baseball Savant.

Kluber becomes the sixth major-league free agent the Red Sox have signed so far this winter, joining the likes of relievers Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin, and Joely Rodriguez, outfielder Masataka Yoshida, and infielder/designated hitter Justin Turner. As noted by Cotillo, Kluber, Jansen, Martin, and Turner are all 35 years of age or older.

As things stand now, Boston’s 40-man roster is currently at full capacity. The signings of Kluber and Turner have yet to be made official, so chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. will need to clear at least two spots before those announcements can be made.

(Picture of Corey Kluber: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox showing interest in Corey Kluber

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)

Trevor Story makes game-saving play as Red Sox hold on for 4-3 win over Rays

The Red Sox kicked off one of their longest road trips of the season with a series-opening win over the Rays in St. Petersburg on Friday night. Boston barely defeated Tampa Bay by a final score 4-3 at Tropicana Field to improve to 7-7.

Matched up against a familiar foe in Corey Kluber to begin things, the Sox wasted no time in attacking the Rays starter. A pair of first-inning singles from leadoff man Trevor Story and Xander Bogaerts put runners at the corners for Alex Verdugo, who drove in Story on an RBI single back up the middle. Bogaerts himself scored on an RBI groundout from Jackie Bradley Jr.

Given an early 2-0 lead to work with out of the gate, Michael Wacha was rudely greeted to begin his third start of the season. With one out in the bottom of the first, the right-hander served up his first of two solo shots to Rays phenom Wander Franco. This one left Franco’s bat at 109.7 mph and traveled 389 feet into the right field seats to make it a 2-1 game.

The Sox were able to respond, though, and that happened when Rafael Devers led off the third inning with his third home run of the season. On a 1-0, 84 mph cutter from Kluber, Devers clubbed a 380-foot solo shot down the right field line to give his side a 3-1 edge. Bogaerts tacked on another by lacing a 107 mph double and scoring on a one-out RBI single off the bat of Enrique Hernandez. Travis Shaw nearly extended the inning with a three-run home run down the right field line like Devers’, but it was instead deemed a foul ball and Shaw struck out.

With a three-run cushion to operate with now, Wacha received some help from his infield in the bottom of the third. After putting runners on first and second with two outs, Bogaerts robbed Yandy Diaz of an extra-base hit by snatching a 110.7 mph line drive in mid-air to extinguish the threat.

An inning later, Story made a sprawling grab up the middle to rob Manuel Margot of a one-out single. Wacha continued to roll on through the fourth and was one out way from getting through a scoreless fifth. Franco prevented that from happening, though, as he took the righty deep once more to cut Tampa Bay’s deficit to two. Randy Arozarena struck out to end the fifth, which would wind up being Wacha’s final inning.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 82 (50 strikes), Wacha surrendered just two runs on three hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts in his five innings. The 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball and changeup a combined 69% of the time he was on the mound Friday.

In relief of Wacha, Austin Davis received the first call from acting manager Will Venable out of the Boston bullpen in the sixth inning. With some help from Verdugo, who recorded his second outfield assist of the year by gunning down Yandy Diaz at second base, the left-hander faced the minimum on 17 pitches — 10 of which went for strikes. Fellow southpaw Matt Strahm was next up for the eighth and immediately gave up a leadoff single to Margot.

Kevin Kiermaier effectively traded places with Margot while grounding into the first out of the inning. Kiermaier then went from first to third on a Mike Zunino single that was accompanied by a Bogaerts throwing error and scored from third on a Brandon Lowe groundout.

With two outs in the seventh inning of a 4-3 game, Venable went back to the bullpen and brought in Hansel Robles to face off against Franco. Forcing the switch-hitter to hit from the left side of the plate, Robles got Franco to fly out to Verdugo in left to strand the potential tying run at second base.

Robles’ job was not yet done, however, as the hard-throwing right-hander came back out for the eighth. He struck out one and induced a pair of groundouts to send things along to the ninth inning.

Jake Diekman was unable to lock things down in the ninth. The left-hander instead walked the bases loaded while recording the first two outs of the frame to leave things in the hands of Matt Barnes.

Branes was brought in to face Franco and had nowhere to put him. Looking to reclaim his role as Boston’s closer, Barnes got Franco to ground out to Story, though it was no easy play.

After sliding to his left to field the 101 mph grounder, Story quickly got back to his feet and made the throw over to Bobby Dalbec at first base to record the final out. Barnes was credited with his first save of the year as he closes out the 4-3 victory.

Next up: Whitlock set to make first career start

As the Red Sox go for their second straight win over the Rays on Saturday, right-hander Garrett Whitlock will be making his first career big-league start for Boston. Tampa Bay has yet to announce who will be starting for them.

Regardless, first pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Enrique Hernandez and Trevor Story: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

New Podding the Red Sox episode: Andrew Benintendi trade rumors, Corey Kluber’s market, and missing Winter Weekend this year

After debuting with a short, two-minute trailer last week, Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast is back with its first full official episode on Friday.

In said episode, which is available on iTunes and Spotify among other platforms, I discuss recent topics surrounding the Red Sox and their offseason thus far, such as trade rumors involving Andrew Benintendi, free-agency rumors surrounding Corey Kluber, Marcus Semien, and others.

Finally, I wrapped this episode up by taking a moment to highlight Red Sox Winter Weekend, the club’s signature offseason fan fest that likely would have commenced at MGM Springfield on Friday night were it not for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Apologies for this being another relatively short podcast due to the fact I was doing it solo. I’m still trying to line up some guests in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for that.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

(Picture of Andrew Benintendi: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox attend two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber’s showcase in Florida

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)

Red Sox are ‘preparing for a series of moves’ in an effort to upgrade 2021 roster, per report

Despite having a relatively quiet offseason thus far, the Red Sox may be preparing to make a series of roster moves ahead of the start of spring training, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Per Olney, “the expectation [for the Sox] is that they will [make moves] in an effort to upgrade the ’21 team.”

Since ending the 2020 season with the fourth-worst record in baseball (24-36), Boston has made a handful of major-league caliber additions to its roster so far this offseason.

In November, right-hander Joel Payamps was claimed off waivers from the Diamondbacks, while the likes of Eduard Bazardo, Jay Groome, Bryan Mata, Hudson Potts, Jeisson Rosario, Connor Seabold, and Connor Wong were all added to the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 deadline.

In December, righty Garrett Whitlock was selected from the Yankees in the major-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft, while a pair of former Rays — right-hander Matt Andriese and outfielder Hunter Renfroe — were signed to one-year deals for the 2021 season. Andriese’s contract includes a team option for 2022.

Outside of that, the Red Sox have jettisoned quite a few players — Tzu-Wei Lin, Yairo Munoz, Robert Stock, Kyle Hart, etc. — off its 40-man roster. They have also added (or re-signed) lesser-known players to minor-league deals for 2021.

Outfielder Cesar Puello, left-hander Stephen Gonsalves, and right-handers Daniel Gossett and Kevin McCarthy stand out among that group given the fact that all four have major-league experience.

Having laid that all out, it becomes quite apparent that the Sox have yet to make a huge splash either via trade or free agency pickup. And to be fair, not many teams except the Mets and Padres have to this point.

With that in mind, as well as taking what Olney tweeted into consideration, it would appear that Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. are preparing to make some noise one way or the other this winter.

Outfielder Andrew Benintendi has been thrown out there in trade rumors with the Sox seeking young pitching or outfield help in return, two-time Cy Young Award winner and current free-agent right-hander Corey Kluber is slated to pitch in front of interested teams in Florida on Wednesday. These are just some of the avenues Boston could be exploring as spring training draws closer.

As for other specific players the Red Sox could be in pursuit of this winter, Bloom somewhat addressed that topic when asked about his ‘offseason check list’ during a radio interview on WEEI late last month.

“Right now, there’s a lot of players on it,” Bloom said in regards to his list. “Part of that is a function of where we are, where there’s a lot of different ways we can improve, and part of it is how we are looking to improve. In the short-term, we have touched base with so many different players who we think could help us, who could fit us. There’s pitching, obviously, but also on the position player side. I think there’s different ways we can improve and different profiles of players we can bring in to help us.

“We also don’t want to take our eye off the ball that at the end of the day, we’re not just looking to put a little plaster in here and patch some holes,” he added. “We’re looking to take this organization back to where we can compete for championships consistently, year in and year out. And that means we got to be open to different moves, different acquisitions that might not just be about 2021. But, it just speaks to [the fact] that there’s a lot of different ways that we can improve. The No. 1 question we ask ourselves on anybody is: Is this pushing us towards that goal of sustaining a championship contender here? If the answer is yes, then we can explore it further, we can figure out how it impacts us in the near-term, what it might mean for other players, and hopefully we check as many of those boxes as possible.”

On top of being open to different sorts of roster moves, Bloom also expressed confidence that the Red Sox would be able to add a few more new players to improve the team before pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers next month.

“I would hope that by the end of this offseason, there’s a number of different guys we’ve brought in here,” he said. “There’s certain possibilities on the trade market, creative things that could come together. They may not, because those things are harder to do — they take at least two to tango. But, different things that hopefully can impact us beyond just this year as well.”

And, again, for what it’s worth, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is still at full capacity. So, if in the next few days or weeks the club designates a player or multiple players for assignment, that could signal that another move could be coming, if that makes sense.

Then again, if a player of Benintendi’s status were to be traded, that kind of supplementary roster move might not be necessary. It really all depends on what Bloom and Co. have in store.

(Picture of Chaim Bloom: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox ‘uninterested’ in exploring four-year deals for free-agent pitchers this winter, prefer ‘shorter-term deals of up to to two or three years in length’

Before coveted Japanese right-hander Tomoyuki Sugano returned to the Yomiuri Giants of the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization on Thursday, it appeared as though the Red Sox had at least some interest in signing the 31-year-old hurler before his posting period ended.

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, “the Sox had some interest in Sugano – who possesses excellent command of a four-pitch mix anchored by a low-90s fastball along with a slider and splitter – but his asking price exceeded the team’s level of interest.”

This is mainly the case because Sugano was reportedly seeking out a contract of four years or more from interested clubs, which apparently goes against Boston’s philosophy when it comes to signing free-agent pitchers this offseason.

In other words, the Red Sox “have been uninterested in exploring deals of that length for pitchers” and “have been focused on shorter-term deals of up to two or three years in length this winter,” per Speier.

Free-agent righty Jake Odorizzi would seemingly fit that mold after The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported on Wednesday that the 30-year-old “expects to land a three-year contract in the $36 million to $42 million range” at some point this winter.

Aside from Odorizzi, who is familiar with chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom from their time together in Tampa Bay, Speier notes that while top free-agent pitcher Trevor Bauer likely won’t garner interest from the Red Sox on account of his hefty price tag, the club is still very much in need of starting pitching help following a dismal 2020 campaign from its shorthanded rotation.

With that in mind, Boston may look into signing other veterans still on the market such as Corey Kluber or Rich Hill, both of whom reside in Massachusetts during the offseason.

Kluber, a two-time American League Cy Young Award winner, is expected to hold a workout — one in which the Red Sox will attend — for interested teams in Florida on January 13.

(Picture of Chaim Bloom: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox ‘showing interest’ in two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, per report

The Red Sox are showing interest in free-agent right-hander Corey Kluber, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.

Kluber, 34, is coming off a 2020 season in which he only made one start and threw one inning for the Rangers on account of suffering a torn right teres muscle against the Rockies on July 26.

Texas had acquired Kluber from the Indians in exchange for outfielder Delino Deshields and pitching prospect Emmanuel Clase last December.

As a result of his only making one start this year, Kluber had his $18 team option declined by the Rangers at the end of October, making him a free agent.

After collecting two American League Cy Young Awards and finishing third or better in A.L. Cy Young voting four times within a five-year span with Cleveland from 2014 through 2018, Kluber has fallen off a bit recently regarding his durability.

Since the start of the 2019 campaign, the three-time All-Star has made just eight starts and accrued 36 2/3 innings of work due to injuries. Last year, he suffered a right ulna fracture in early May, which wound up costing him the rest of the season.

Despite those potential concerns, Kluber was cleared for normal offseason activities back in October and is slated “to be ready to go for spring training,” per WEEI’s Rob Bradford.

As noted by Morosi in the tweet above, Kluber makes his offseason home in the greater Boston area since his wife, Amanda, is a Massachusetts native.

With that connection in mind, Kluber and the Red Sox certainly seem like a possible match, especially if the Texas native was willing to sign a short-term, incentive-laden deal in order to re-establish his value.

Of course, what the veteran righty is seeking in terms of contract details has yet to be revealed, but one thing is for certain: the Red Sox are in need of starting pitching, and for chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co., Kluber certainly fits the bill.