CLEVELAND (AP) – Corey Kluber has been rewarded for his Cy Young season. The Indians can only hope he can be that good again.
Kluber and the club agreed to terms on a five-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Saturday night. The deal includes two club options, the person said, and is contingent upon him passing medical tests, which should be concluded within the next few days. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Indians do not comment during contract talks.
Kluber went 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA for Cleveland last season, his first full year in the majors. He’s scheduled to pitch Monday’s season opener at Houston, and it’s possible the Indians will wait until later in the week to announce the deal.
The club signed second baseman Jason Kipnis to a six-year, $52 million deal last season hours before the home opener. Cleveland opens redesigned Progressive Field on Friday against AL Central rival Detroit.
Kluber’s new deal locks up a valuable player the mid-market Indians strongly believe in, and it allows them to avoid going to salary arbitration with him over the next few years. Kluber was under Cleveland’s contractual control through 2018.
The right-hander signed a one-year deal worth $601,000 last month as talks initially failed to produce a long-term deal. However, his agent, B.B. Abbott, continued to have discussions with the club and the sides were able to reach a deal on the Indians’ last day of spring training.
Kluber will turn 29 on April 10, and general manager Chris Antonetti made it clear during camp that the club was interested in investing in him for the future.
“There’s not a better guy to believe in,” Antonetti said.
Last season, Kluber made $514,000 and became the third pitcher in club history and fourth overall since 1987 to win 18 games, record a sub-2.50 ERA and strike out at least 260. Hall of Famer Bob Feller (1946) and Luis Tiant (1968) did it for Cleveland, and Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez were the other major leaguers to accomplish the feat in the past 27 years.
The Indians also want to lock up No. 2 starter Carlos Carrasco, who was one of the AL’s top pitchers in the second half last season.
Carrasco went 8-7 with a 2.55 ERA in 15 starts. He split the season between the bullpen and rotation, but came on down the stretch, going 4-0 in six starts from Aug. 10 to Sept. 7. He shut out Houston on Sept. 17, striking out 12.
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