When the Indians plugged the trigger a three-team trade with the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres at the 2010 summer trade deadline, there wasn’t much hype around the city of Cleveland.
The Indians’ who were deadline sellers, traded away starting pitcher Jake Westbrook to the Cardinals, St. Louis sent outfielder Ryan Ludwick to San Diego while Cleveland landed pitching prospect Corey Kluber from the Padres.
At the time of the move, there was little to no excitement about the trade from Indians fans. Kluber was not ranked among San Diego’s top 30 prospects, and the city of Cleveland was distracted by the fact LeBron James had left the Cavaliers to form a dream team in Miami.
No one realized that the Indians’ wound up acquiring an arm that would soon become one of the best pitchers in team history.
Kluber made his MLB debut in 2011 but did not become a mainstay in the Indians’ rotation until 2013. He made 24 starts for the Tribe that season and pitched to a 3.85 ERA while posting a record of 11-5 to help guide the team to a surprise postseason berth.
Then in 2014, he began to become a household name. The right-hander made 34 starts in which we went 18-9, posted a 2.44 ERA and struck out 269 batters to stun major league baseball and take home the AL Cy Young Award.
By 2016, he was named to his first all-star game, which ironically took place in San Diego at the home of the team that gave up on him before he ever reached the majors. That season he posted an 18-9 record and 3.14 ERA to help the Tribe win their first division title since 2016.
In the postseason, Kluber tossed seven shutout innings in an ALDS victory over the Red Sox, went 1-1 with a 1.59 ERA in two ALCS starts against the Blue Jays and made three starts in the World Series in which he posted a 2-0 record and 2.81 ERA against the Cubs in a series Cleveland would lose in seven games.
He followed that up by winning his second Cy-Young Award in 2017 after he posted a career-best 2.25 ERA, went 18-4 and struck out 265 batters to help guide the Indians to a 102-win regular season.
Kluber earned another all-star nod in 2018, but in 2019 was riddled by injuries as he made just seven starts on the season. With the emergence of young arms such as Shane Bieber and Mike Clevinger, the Indians traded him to the Texas Rangers before the 2020 season-ending an era that would never be forgotten in Cleveland.
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The addition of Kluber made the Indians’ run-away winners of the three-team deal as while Westbrook pitched out of the Cardinals’ bullpen during their 2011 World Series championship run, never came close to the success of Kluber in Cleveland, while the Padres who made the team to improve their 2010 lineup missed the postseason that year and remain in the midst of a postseason drought that dates back to 2006 to this day.