Despite just trading him away to start 2020, the Cleveland Indians are a team that remains interested in bringing back Corey Kluber.
Corey Kluber has had a rough 2020-2021. He went from being the Ace of the Cleveland Indians to being traded away to the Texas Rangers. He then suffered a major injury in his first start for the team and was out for the rest of the season. Then allegations of him using banned substances to doctor balls came out, and well, he’s had better years.
Despite all that being said, Kluber is someone that the town is still crazy for. With the trade of Carlos Carrasco, there now remains a hole in the rotation that needs to be filled. The Tribe has a strong No. 1-No. 3 with the Ace of the AL Shane Bieber being the front guy, and Zach Plesac filling in at No. 2. Then the likeliest No. 3 is Triston McKenzie while the no. 4 starter will probably go to Aaron Civale.
That means that Adam Plutko and Cal Quantrill are in line for the fifth starter spot, as are some Triple-A prospects. It’s also a spot that Corey Kluber could really excel in; assuming he’s healthy.
Kluber’s been extremely injury prone the last two years, something Zack Meisel, who broke the story, was quick to point out.
Some fans may wonder why they’d bring him back if they traded him in the first place. The difference between signing him now, as opposed to keeping him the last offseason comes down to cost and expectations. Kluber’s looking to continue his career, while last year he was hoping to cash in on his career. The fact that the Rangers opted to let him go is a strong sign that other teams may be wary about him.
The Indians are in an odd place that a lot of other teams maybe aren’t. They have a strong crop of young arms, they’re just not ready yet. They also don’t have enough front-line arms in the majors to make the signing seem unnecessary. If the team still had Carrasco then this wouldn’t even be worth mentioning, but the Indians need a fifth starter who’s tested and game ready.
If Kluber is even half of what he used to be, banned substance controversy or not, he’s worth going in on. Stuff fades, but what doesn’t is one’s attitude. Some pitchers the Indians have had over the years could get a bit shellshocked when they gave up a run or two. Not Kluber. Whether he was pitching a shutout in the 9th inning or was down four runs in the first, Kluber never showed any real emotion.
That type of demeanor is exactly what the team needs and if Kluber can be had for peanuts? Then absolutely bring him back.