Clevelinks: Cleveland Indians extend Corey Kluber; Adding Rafael Soriano

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The Cleveland Indians locked up Corey Kluber with a five-year deal and two club options. Also, the potential of adding Rafael Soriano is brought up again.

Yesterday was a really exciting day for the Cleveland Indians. After an offseason of speculation and debate, the Indians finally extended Corey Kluber to a five-year deal with two club options. Kluber, 29 in a few days, pitched very well last season. Posting a 2.35 FIP and 7.2 fWAR, the Klubot won the AL Cy Young Award. At the time of me writing this, the financial details are unknown, but I’m going to take a wild guess and say that Kluber will make $36 million over the lifetime of the contract, and the two option years are for $12 million with a $2 million buyout on each.

Here at Wahoo’s on First, the Kluber extension has been a matter of much debate and speculation. Just two weeks ago, Brian Heise noted that the Indians have all the leverage in the negotiations. A little farther back in early February, Kyle Downing took on That Guy, who wanted to lock up Kluber for life. All the way back in May of last year, Matt Bretz predicted that the Tribe would regret not extending Kluber before 2014, a prediction that may come true.

The Cleveland Indians have never really had a strong bullpen. Sure, we have seen the Bullpen Mafia come and go, but the Tribe’s bullpen has never been a top ten ‘pen by fWAR in the last five years, and ranks 25th in fWAR over that five-year timespan. While WAR is not an end-all-be-all statistic, it is still a good way to measure value. And it’s not like other statistics are too peachy on the bullpens of the past, as it ranks 25th in strikeout differential, 15th in opponent average, and 24th in xFIP- over the past five years.

With this in mind, a strong bullpen is a must for a contending club. The Cleveland Indians have many young guns in Cody Allen, Kyle Crockett, and Bryan Shaw and a few solid veterans to back them up, but many of these players are young and unproven. Matt Bretz suggested that the Indians could sign Rafael Soriano, and he went on to list the pros and cons of doing so. Soriano has pitched well over the past few seasons, but lost the closer job in September. Some scouts are also worried that his stuff evaporated as the season wore on, and he would likely require a fairly large salary for a reliever on a small-market team.

More from around the AL Central:

Should the Cleveland Indians Sign Rafael Soriano? – Wahoo’s on First

2015 AL Central Preview: Cleveland Indians – Southside Showdown

Kansas City Royals Could Hit Mike Moustakas Second – Kings of Kauffman

Our MLB 2015 Predictions Simulation From MLB 15: The Show – GameSided

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Next: Should the Cleveland Indians Sign Rafael Soriano?

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