Louis DeLuca/Associated Press
Kluber pitched just one inning in 2020 with the Texas Rangers before suffering a Grade 2 strain of the teres major muscle. The shoulder injury shut him down for the rest of the season after he was acquired in a December trade for Delino DeShields and Emmanuel Clase.
His time in Texas resulted in just three batters faced with zero runs allowed.
The Rangers declined his $18 million option for 2021, instead paying the $1 million buyout as he hit free agency.
It was the second straight injury-filled season for Kluber, who only made seven starts in 2019 while dealing with arm and oblique issues. It creates significant question marks about the 34-year-old’s durability going forward.
The right-hander has been a dominant pitcher when healthy, however, especially from 2014 to 2018 with the Cleveland Indians. He won two Cy Young Awards during those five seasons, adding three All-Star selections and one ERA title.
Kluber had an 83-45 record during this stretch, adding a 2.85 ERA, 1.016 WHIP and 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
The hope is he will return to full strength by the start of next season.
If he can replicate anywhere near his previous production, the Yankees will have gotten a steal in free agency.
New York is in need of pitching depth in 2021, and Kluber can provide a lot of help next season if he can stay healthy.