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Cubs, two dozen other clubs attend Corey Kluber’s showcase

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Needing arms, the Cubs attended the showcase of Corey Kluber on Wednesday.

Longtime Indians pitcher Corey Kluber had a large presence at his showcase, with as many as 25 teams were present according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. According to MLB Trade Rumors, former Cubs Steve Cishek and Anthony Swarzak were also present at the showcase.

Passan notes that his velocity was around 88-90 mph, which fits right in with the North Siders since none of their other starters throw harder than that. This was his first time throwing since the injury, so the velocity isn’t all the way worked up yet. He showed all of his off-speed stuff through 30 pitches.

Chicago undoubtedly has interest in Kluber. It would be hard not to given the club’s current pitching mix. The Cubs faced him multiple times in the 2016 World Series and once in the regular season. Kluber dominated them in that one start, going pitching 7 2/3 innings, giving up four hits, one run and striking out 11.

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Kluber has been plagued by injuries the past two years, however, missing most of the 2019 season and only pitching one inning in 2020. His best days are likely behind him, but there could still be something there if he goes to the right team.

Given what we’ve seen from the front office the past few of seasons, and with supposedly 25 teams in attendance, the bigger the market, the lesser the chance is of Jed Hoyer pulling this one off. It’s also hard to see them signing Kluber given that they want to trade a lot of players and re-stock the farm system and might punt on 2021. An aging arm doesn’t fit into that equation easily.

In recent days, trade talks around Willson Contreras and Kris Bryant have surfaced. This isn’t necessarily new information, but the fact it may actually happen now is what’s worrying fans when both guys being traded seemed preposterous a year ago. Bryant has been discussed with the Toronto Blue Jays, and more recently the New York Mets. The prominent team coming up in Contreras trade talks is now the Miami Marlins.

Kluber makes sense given his history of success and eating innings. The Cubs have thrived on innings from their starting pitchers during their run in recent years. Chicago only has three starters penciled in currently for 2021, and possibly a fourth with Adbert Alzolay. There is a – at a minimum – one rotation spot available.

In a typical season – even one year ago – Kluber fits the bill for a team like the Cubs. The organization has had success with these types of pitchers in the past. But given the team’s standing on the edge of a rebuild and the level of interest in Kluber’s services, this seems like a long-shot.

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