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Corey Kluber Makes AL East Switch, Signs With Rays

Kluber spent the 2021 season with the Yankees after hardly pitching in 2019 and 2020.

Corey Kluber will stay in the American League East in 2022.

Pending a physical, the 35-year-old right-hander is joining the Rays, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Kluber’s deal is for one year and $8 million and includes additional incentives, per the New York Post’s Joel Sherman.

The Rays made a run at Kluber last offseason, per the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin. The pitcher has ties to Florida—he went Stetson University in DeLand—but the two-time Cy Young Award winner signed a one-year, $11 million deal with the Yankees.

Kluber was mostly solid for New York after pitching just 36.2 innings from 2019-2020 due to injuries. He finished the season with a 3.83 ERA over 80 frames. There were times when Kluber flashed the stuff that made him a long-time ace in Cleveland, like when he threw a nine-strikeout no-hitter against the Rangers on May 19, but he struggled to go deep into games and missed roughly three months in the middle of the season after suffering a subscapularis strain in his right shoulder.

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The Rays are now hoping they g a little more out of Kluber—at a lower price—after a year in New York saw him throw his most innings since 2018. He will join a rotation that currently includes candidates Shane McClanahan, Drew Rasmussen, Shane Baz, Luis Patiño, Ryan Yarbrough and Josh Fleming.

The Yankees, meanwhile, are looking at a rotation headlined by Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery. The hope is Jameson Taillon will be fully recovered from ankle surgery by April, and Nestor Cortes Jr. was a surprisingly effective addition to New York’s rotation in 2021. Luis Severino has not started since 2019 due to injuries but will likely get a chance to rejoin the rotation. Domingo Germán and Luis Gil could also compete for rotation jobs, but the Yankees would be wise to add an arm or two before the 2022 season. 

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