How great is the Corey Kluber deal for the Cleveland Indians?

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What an Easter Weekend it was for the Cleveland Indians and Corey Kluber.

Over the weekend the Tribe agreed to a 5-year, $38.5M extension with their ace. The deal begins in 2015 and runs through at least 2019 with the possibility of running through 2021 with options. There was a lot of talk this spring about the Indians and Kluber working on a deal, with much of it suggesting such a deal was a long-shot. While I, for one, am not surprised that the two parties were able to come to an agreement, I am very shocked at just how cheaply the team was able to get Kluber to sign.

The Details of the Extension

First let’s look at all the details of the extension. As said, the deal is for five guaranteed years and includes two team options. The deal begins in 2015, replacing the one-year, $601K deal Kluber agreed to previously for the year. Here are all the details of the contract via Cot’s Baseball Contracts and Ken Rosenthal:

5 years/$38.5M (2015-19), plus 2020-21 club options

  • $1M signing bonus
  • 15:$1M, 16:$4.5M, 17:$7.5M, 18:$10.5M, 19:$13M, 20:$13.5M club option ($1M buyout), 21:$14M club option ($1M buyout)
  • value of 2019 salary may increase up to $4M based on finish in 2015-2018 Cy Young votes
  • value of options may increase up to $4M each based on finish in 2015-19 Cy Young votes
  • assignment bonus: $1M if traded
  • if traded in 2015-19, new club must exercise or decline both 2020 and 2021 options within 3
  • days after end of 2019 World Series
  • if traded in 2020, 2021 option converts to a vesting option guaranteed if Kluber has 160 innings pitched in 2020 and is not on the disabled list at the end of the 2020 season

That’s some complex information for a contract, but the basics to know are that Kluber will make $2M in 2015 and get moderate raises through the year 2019. Had Kluber not signed an extension, the Cleveland Indians would have had control of him through the year 2018 so the deal may in fact only add one year of team control.  This may not sound like much to the casual fan, but where this deal really looks like a great deal for Cleveland is in the finances.

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