Take this for what it’s worth.
Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Philadelphia Phillies had representation at the throwing session of two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber earlier this week. It should be noted that three relief options – A.J. Ramos, Anthony Swarzak, and Steve Cishek – also threw at the same location Wednesday, and it’s hard to know if the Phillies were as interested in Kluber as they were in the relief options.
To this point, there’s no indication that the Phillies are a serious contender for the services of Kluber, but that could change. If they do plan to make a run at the three-time All-Star, they’d better do it soon, as ESPN‘s Buster Olney reported that after a successful showing in front of scouts, “the bidding war for Kluber is moving quickly and will likely reach a conclusion by this weekend.”
After spending the first nine seasons of his major league career in Cleveland, Kluber was traded to the Texas Rangers last offseason. However, his tenure in Arlington was especially forgettable, as he pitched just one inning before tearing a muscle in his right shoulder, an injury that proved to be season-ending in the pandemic-shortened season.
Whoever signs Kluber will be taking quite the risk, as he’s made just eight starts over the past two seasons. Still, he is just two seasons removed from going 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 5.5 fWAR, so it’s not hard to see why some teams are still intrigued by him. It will be interesting to see if Kluber, who will turn 35 in April, will command more than $10 million for 2021, as Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors projected he would at the outset of the offseason.
Clearly, the Phillies intend to add another starting pitcher this offseason, with uncertainty in their rotation after Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler and Zach Eflin. Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported last month that the Phillies had interest in veteran righty José Ureña before he signed with the Detroit Tigers. MLB.com‘s Jon Morosi reported earlier this week that the Phillies are interested in 36-year-old Aníbal Sánchez, who would be a much cheaper option than Kluber, of course, without the same type of upside.
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