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Meet The New Guy: Corey Kluber

The Klubot has been to the shop a few times in recent years, but is still semi-functional.

Who is he and where did he come from?

He’s Corey Kluber, a former Cy Young-winner from Birmingham, Alabama who, for some completely incomprehensible reason, spends his winters in Winchester, Massachusetts (ohhhh, how fancy!)

The Sox signed him to a one-year, $10 million deal with a team option for a second year.

What position does he play?

He’s a pitcher, which you should have figured out from the “former Cy Young-Winner” thing.

Is he any good?

He was outstanding once (again, the Cy Young thing); an elite, big-game pitcher who never, ever walked anyone. His 2017 season was one of the single best seasons of the 21st century. That year, he led the league in pitching WAR, WPA, wins, ERA, ERA+, shutouts, strikeout-to-walk ratio, hits-per-nine, walks-per-nine and, obviously, WHIP, while finishing second in strikeouts-per-nine and fourth in innings pitched.

But, if you happen to own a calendar (oh, look at you, fancy-pants, you must live in Winchester!), you’ll note that that was six years ago. He started just eight games in the 2019 and 2020 seasons combined, thanks to a broken arm and a shoulder injury (though he is not a Tommy John recipient, as many people assume). He’ll be 37-years-old next April, and has lost a full four miles-per-hour on his fastball.

The good news is that he was fully healthy last season and is still an elite control guy, having issued just 21 walks in 31 starts for the Tampa Bay Rays. The bad news is he was mediocre overall, finishing the year with a 4.34 ERA. Part of his mediocrity was due to bad luck, as his FIP was nearly a full run lower, but it was also partly due to the fact that he got absolutely smoked by the AL East:

So, uhh, yikes.

Show me a cool highlight.

Hey! He threw a no-hitter! And not all that long ago!

What’s he doing in his picture up there?

Brushing his shoulder off after some punks from Woburn called it “Wimpchester.”

What’s his role on the 2023 Red Sox?

He’ll be in the rotation, at least to start the year.