Sunday, February 25, 2024

Corey Kluber retires: Two-time Cy Young winner for Cleveland calls it a career after 13 MLB seasons

Two-time American League Cy Young winner Corey Kluber announced his retirement on Friday. The three-time All-Star played the majority of his career with Cleveland (2011-19) before bouncing to the Texas Rangers (2020), New York Yankees (2021), Tampa Bay Rays (2022), and Boston Red Sox (2023).

Kluber announced his retirement on Instagram and indicated he would like to remain in the game in some capacity.

“With sincere appreciation, I am announcing my retirement from Major League Baseball, concluding a remarkable 13-year journey. I am deeply grateful for the support of numerous individuals and entities that profoundly influenced my path,” Kluber wrote. “… As I take my leave from the pitcher’s mound, my passion for baseball remains unwavering. I eagerly anticipate exploring opportunities to continue contributing to the sport in a different capacity.”

Now 37, Kluber started Opening Day for the Red Sox last season, though he pitched to a 7.04 ERA in 55 innings before being shut down with a shoulder injury in June. He did not pitch again. He retires with a career 116-77 record and a 3.44 ERA in 1,641 2/3 innings. That works out to 34.0 WAR, an excellent total considering he played only 10 full 162-game seasons.

Originally a fourth-round pick by the San Diego Padres in 2007, Kluber went to Cleveland in the three-team trade that sent Jake Westbrook to the St. Louis Cardinals and Ryan Ludwick to San Diego at the 2010 trade deadline. He made his MLB debut as a September call up in 2011 and stuck for good in 2013, which was already his age-27 season.

From 2014-18, Kluber was arguably the best pitcher in baseball, posting a 2.85 ERA (151 ERA+) while averaging 218 innings and 246 strikeouts per season. He ranked second only to Max Scherzer in innings and WAR those five seasons. Kluber was named AL Cy Young winner in 2014 and 2017, and he also finished third in the voting in 2015 and 2018.

Kluber helped Cleveland reached the World Series in 2016 — he made three starts in the World Series, two on short rest, including Game 7 — and he had an 18-strikeout game on May 13, 2015. That is still the most strikeouts by an AL pitcher since Roger Clemens had an 18-strikeout game in 1998. Kluber also threw a no-hitter with the Yankees in 2021.

Although his resume is short of Hall of Fame standards, Kluber certainly stands out as one of the best pitchers of his generation. He will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot in five years.

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