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Two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber retires after 13 MLB seasons

Injuries dogged the righty over the back half of his career, but he’ll still go down as one of the pitchers of his generation.

Kansas City Royals v Cleveland Indians

One of the greatest pitchers of his generation called it a career on Friday, as righty Corey Kluber announced via Instagram that he’s elected to retire after a sterling 13 years in the Majors.

“With sincere appreciation, I am announcing my retirement from Major League Baseball, concluding a remarkable 13-year journey,” Kluber wrote. “I am deeply grateful for the support of numerous individuals and entities that profoundly influenced my path ... As I take my leave from the pitcher’s mound, my passion for baseball remains unwavering. I eagerly anticipate exploring opportunities to continue contributing to the sport in a different capacity.”

Originally a fourth-round pick by the San Diego Padres back in 2007, not a ton was expected of Kluber when he was sent to Cleveland in a three-team trade that brought Jake Westbrook to the Cardinals and Ryan Ludwig to San Diego at the 2010 trade deadline. He made his MLB debut as a September call-up in 2011 but wouldn’t become a full-time part of the team’s rotation until 2013, at which point he was already 27.

Out of nowhere, though, Kluber took off. From 2014-18, he was quite possibly the best pitcher in the game, posting a 2.85 combined ERA (151 ERA+) while averaging 218 innings and 246 strikeouts per season. He took home two AL Cy Young Awards over that span (2014, 2017) and finished third in 2016 and 2018. That 2016 season also saw him lead Cleveland make its first World Series appearance since 1997, a run spearheaded by Kluber — who was utterly dominant for most of October before faltering in Game 7 on short rest.

Kluber’s peak was frustratingly short-lived, largely due to injury — he fractured his forearm early in the 2019 campaign, then suffered a shoulder tear at the start of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season that he never fully recovered from. Still, the righty stuck around, delivering some solid work for the Yankees in 2021 — including his one and only no-hitter — and the Rays in 2022. He was actually Boston’s Opening Day starter last season, but he pitched to a disastrous 7.04 ERA over just 55 innings before his shoulder started barking again. At age 37, it was hard to see his body cooperating for one more big-league season.

Still, while his star shined a bit too briefly to earn serious Hall of Fame consideration, everyone who lived through it will remember his career for its spectacular highs. He retires with a career 116-77 record and a 3.44 ERA in 1,641.2 innings, good enough for 34.0 WAR — a pretty excellent total, considering he played only 10 full 162-game seasons. When he was on, there were few better, and he deserves some serious remembering when he appears on his first Hall of Fame ballot in five years’ time.