Corey Kluber’s run as Cleveland’s ace appears to be over. He’s heading to Texas.
The Indians are close to completing a trade that will send the two-time Cy Young Award winner to the Rangers, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Sunday.
Cleveland will get outfielder Delino DeShields and pitching prospect Emmanuel Clase for the 33-year-old Kluber.
The teams have been discussing the deal and finalizing terms, said the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks. All that remains are physicals.
Kluber has been one of the AL’s most dominant pitchers for six seasons. The right-hander won the Cy Young in 2014 and 2017 while anchoring the Indians’ strong starting staff.
But his future with the Indians grew more uncertain last season when the club managed to stay in the playoff chase until late September despite not having him after May 1.
Kluber broke his right forearm when he was struck by a line drive during a start at Miami and never made it back. He came close to returning to the Indians’ rotation but suffered an oblique injury during a minor league rehab appearance that ended his comeback.
The Indians picked up his $17.5 million contract option for 2020 immediately after last season. His deal includes a club option for $18 million for 2021.
A three-time All-Star, Kluber is 98-58 with a 3.16 career ERA. Before last season, he pitched at least 203 innings in each of the previous five seasons while recording more than 200 strikeouts in each of those seasons as well.
The Indians believe the time is right to move Kluber. Cleveland has several young solid pitchers, including Shane Bieber and Mike Clevinger, on its staff and can address other needs in return for Kluber.
The 27-year-old DeShields hit .249 with 24 stolen bases for Texas last season. Clase, a 21-year-old righty, skipped the Triple-A level last season and made his big league debut with the Rangers in August, going 2-3 with a 2.31 ERA in mostly a relief role.
Kluber won 20 games for the Indians in 2018 and he had 18 victories in 2014, 2016, and 2017.
Kluber will join a Rangers rotation that includes All-Star Mike Minor and Lance Lynn, who both reached 200 innings and 200 strikeouts last season.
Texas went 78-84, then missed out on a pair of free-agent targets at the recent winter meetings, watching star pitcher Gerrit Cole and slugger Anthony Rendon sign with other teams.
Kluber gets a $1 million assignment bonus for getting traded.
Because he was dealt, his $18 million club option for 2021 would become guaranteed if he pitches 160 innings next year and is not on the injured list at the end of the season.