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Update: Dodgers, Hisashi Iwakuma agree on three-year deal

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Update #2 (9:45 PM EST): It’s a three-year deal, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

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Update (8:19 PM EST): Joel Sherman of the New York Post is reporting that the two sides aren’t in agreement yet, but it is believed that the two sides will indeed reach an agreement.

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Jim Bowden of ESPN and Sirius XM is reporting that the Dodgers and starter Hisashi Iwakuma have come to an agreement on a contract. There was a run on starting pitching in free agency and the Dodgers came up empty — watching Zack Greinke sign with the division rival Diamondbacks — so they reportedly pushed for Iwakuma on Saturday night and reached a conclusion on Sunday.

The Mariners and Giants were both reportedly in the mix for Iwakuma. The right-hander declined the Mariners’ $15.8 million qualifying offer, which means the Mariners will get draft pick compensation and the Dodgers will forfeit their first-round draft pick. They will, however, get two picks back as Greinke and Howie Hendrick each declined the club’s $15.8 million qualifying offers.

Iwakuma suffered a strained lat muscle during the first half of this past season, and he made only 20 starts as a result. He posted a 3.54 ERA with a 1.064 WHIP and a 111/21 K/BB ratio over 129 2/3 innings.

Details of the contract are not yet known but we will pass them along as soon as they are made available.

Indians trade Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers

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The Cleveland Indians have traded two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers. In exchange, Texas is sending center fielder Delino DeShields and pitcher Emmanuel Clase to the Indians. There are reports that the Indians will be getting more than just those two players, but no word yet. The deal is pending physical.

Kluber made only seven starts this past year thanks to a broken arm and a strained oblique muscle. When he did pitch he was no great shakes, posting a 5.80 ERA and 44 hits in 35.2 innings. Those were freak injuries that do not suggest long-term problems, however, so there’s a good reason to think he’ll bounce back to useful form, even if it’s a tough ask for him to return to the form that won him the 2014 and 2017 Cy Young Award.

Before his injury-wracked 2019 campaign, Kluber pitched over 200 innings in each of his previous five seasons so mileage could be an issue. For his career he’s 98-58 with a 3.16 ERA (134 ERA+), a 2.99 FIP, and a K/BB ratio of 1,461/292 over 1,341.2 innings in nine big league seasons.

Unless there is cash coming from Cleveland in the deal, the Rangers will be paying him $17.5 million this year and a 2021 option of $14 million pursuant to the five-year, $38.5 million contract he inked with Cleveland before the 2015 season.

DeShields, 27, is a career .246/.326/.342 hitter (76 OPS+) and that’s about how he performed in 2019 as well. He was demoted to Triple-A Nashville in May. Clase, who will turn 22 before next season, pitched 21 games, all but one in relief, for the Rangers in 2019 and will still be considered a rookie in 2020. He has been used mostly as a reliever in the minors as well.

Pending what else the Tribe is going to be getting, this appears to be a light return for a pitcher who, despite his 2019 injuries, should be expected to come back and be a workhorse. Unless there is some real talent coming back, in addition to DeShields and Clase, it would seem to be a salary dump for Cleveland and a steal for Texas. It is likewise perplexing how any of the many, many teams who could use starting pitching — the Angels and the Mets, among others, come to mind — could not top the package Texas offered.

As for the Indians, the commitment to Kluber for 2020-21 is $31.5 million if you exercise next year’s option, $18.5 million if you don’t. He’s one year and a freak injury removed from goin 20-7 with a 2.89 (150 ERA+), 0.991 WHIP, and 215 innings pitched. Cleveland is coming off 93 wins and should contend. Why you trade Kluber in that situation, regardless of the return, is a question they should have to answer to fans who expect to see winning baseball.