Sources: Phillies scouted free agent Corey Kluber’s workout

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Jim Salisbury
·2 min read
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Sources: Phillies scouted free agent Corey Kluber’s workout originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Even as the Phillies attempt to retain J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius, they are looking to patch big holes in the bullpen and add depth to the back end of the starting pitching rotation.

So it was no surprise that the Phillies, according to multiple sources, were one of about 25 teams that scouted two-time American League Cy Young winner Corey Kluber during the free agent's showcase in Florida on Wednesday.

In addition to Kluber, veteran relievers Steve Cishek, AJ Ramos and Anthony Swarzak also threw at the event. Swarzak was in Phillies camp last spring on a minor-league contract.

Kluber, who will pitch at 35 in 2021, is looking to come back from two injury-marred seasons. He suffered a fracture in his right arm when he was struck by a line drive in 2019. Last season, he pitched just one inning for Texas when he had to shut down with a shoulder injury. In all, Kluber made just eight starts the last two seasons.

Kluber was the AL Cy Young winner for Cleveland in 2014 and 2017 and he finished third for the award in 2016 and 2018. If healthy, he could be a good gamble for a team on a one-year deal with a low base salary and incentives.

The Phillies are seeking inexpensive starting pitching depth behind Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler and Zach Eflin. At the moment, Spencer Howard and Vince Velasquez project to fill the Nos. 4 and 5 spots in the rotation, but Howard has had shoulder issues the last two seasons and has not built a sizable workload and Velasquez has been inconsistent over five seasons with the Phils.

Kluber is expected to have many suitors. 

It's not unusual for teams to practice due diligence and send scouts to watch free-agent pitchers, especially those with a positive track record like Kluber's, in the weeks before spring training. In the case of Wednesday's event, the Phillies may have been curious to see the relievers that were on hand, as well.

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