Corey Kluber signing with Rays after injury-plagued Yankees season

The Yankees are done with Corey Kluber after one season, but if he finds the consistency and health he lacked in pinstripes, they won’t have to look far to find out.

Kluber agreed to a one-year deal worth $8 million plus incentives with the Rays, The Post’s Joel Sherman confirmed on Sunday. The two-time defending AL East champions will try to tap back into the 35-year-old right-hander’s upside that he showed at times during an injury-plagued season in The Bronx.

After signing with the Yankees on a one-year, $11 million contract last offseason, Kluber posted a 3.83 ERA across 16 starts, including a no-hitter against the Rangers in May. But he also missed three months on the injured list with a right shoulder strain shortly thereafter.

Upon returning from his latest injury — various physical issues also limited him to just 36 ²/₃ innings between 2019 and 2020 — Kluber recorded a 5.40 ERA in six starts down the stretch before the Yankees fell to the Red Sox in the AL wild-card game.

Overall with the Yankees, Kluber struck out 82 and walked 33 in 80 innings. He battled command issues, especially early, as his 3.7 walks per nine innings were the second-highest rate of his career for seasons in which he has thrown more than five innings.

Former Yankees pitcher Corey Kluber is signing with the Rays on a one-year, $8 million contract.
Bill Kostroun

The Rays have proven adept at getting the most out of their pitchers in recent years while not demanding heavy innings from starters, so they could end up being a strong landing spot for Kluber.

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The Yankees, meanwhile, currently have starting pitching depth that includes Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon (coming off ankle surgery), Jordan Montgomery, Luis Severino, Nestor Cortes Jr. and Domingo German. Still, they are expected to be in the market to add another starting pitcher, though it remains to be seen whether that will happen before a potential lockout begins at midnight on Wednesday.

“I think you’d all agree you can never have enough starting pitching,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said at the MLB owners’ meetings this month. “I think starting pitching is a need year after year.”

Before Justin Verlander re-signed with the Astros for two years and $50 million, the Yankees viewed him as a potential target coming back from Tommy John surgery. They also expressed interest in Noah Syndergaard before he turned down the Mets’ qualifying offer to sign with the Angels on a one-year, $21 million deal.

The top arms left on the free-agent market include Max Scherzer, Kevin Gausman, Robbie Ray, Marcus Stroman, Clayton Kershaw and Carlos Rodon. Scherzer and Gausman — who appear to be bigger targets of the Mets than the Yankees — are both expected to sign before the likely work stoppage, according to MLB Network.

The Yankees could also look to the trade market to bolster their rotation, with the Reds’ Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle and the Athletics’ Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt and Frankie Montas looming as potential candidates to be dealt.

Artmotion U.S.A

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