Phillies consider adding 2-time Cy Young winner to rotation

Starting pitcher Corey Kluber #28, formerly of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
Starting pitcher Corey Kluber #28, formerly of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images) /
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The Phillies have interest in 10-year veteran starting pitcher Corey Kluber.

The Philadelphia Phillies could end up replacing one former Cy Young Award winner in Jake Arrieta in their starting rotation with another.

According to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury, the Phillies were among more than two dozen teams that scouted free-agent RHP Corey Kluber at his Florida showcase on Wednesday, in an effort to possibly add depth to the back-end of their rotation and complement Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Zach Eflin.

Kluber, who will turn 35 on April 10, is a three-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young Award winner that has pitched his entire 10-season career in the American League — first with the Cleveland Indians (2011-19), and this past season with the Texas Rangers.

The Alabama native was limited to just seven starts in his last year in Cleveland, and one start this past season with the Rangers, due to injury. “He suffered a fracture in his right arm when he was struck by a line drive in 2019,” Salisbury writes. “Last season, he pitched just one inning for Texas when he had to shut down with a shoulder injury.”

Kluber is not the first rotation name the Phillies have been linked to in offseason rumors. They reportedly had interest in Jose Urena, who instead signed with the Detroit Tigers. Also, the Phillies have been rumored to have interest in fellow right-handed veteran Anibal Sanchez, who began his career under Joe Girardi with the Florida Marlins, and later was under now-Phillies executive Dave Dombrowski with the Detroit Tigers.

Kluber’s best season came just four years ago in 2017, in which he led the majors in wins (18), ERA (2.25), complete games (5), shutouts (3), ERA+ (202), WHIP (0.869), and SO/W (7.36). As a result, he earned his second career Cy Young (joining his 18-win 2014 season), as well as finished seventh in the American League MVP Award race. Overall, Kluber is 98-58 in his career with a 3.16 ERA across 209 appearances and 204 starts.

“If healthy,” Salisbury continues, “he could be a good gamble for a team on a one-year deal with a low base salary and incentives.”

Also pitching at Kluber’s showcase were veteran relievers Steve Cishek, AJ Ramos and Anthony Swarzak. The Phillies invited Swarzak to spring training last season on a minor-league deal, and released him in late July ahead of Opening Day. Dombrowski and company likely paid close attention to the trio, in addition to Kluber, as they also look to address their 2020 bullpen woes.

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