The Texas Rangers announced today that they declined their 2021 contract option on Corey Kluber, making him a free agent. The Rangers also announced that righthanded pitcher Ian Gibaut was claimed on waivers by the Minnesota Twins, and righthanded pitcher Luke Farrell has cleared waivers and been outrighted.
Kluber’s 2021 team option was for $18 million, with a $1 million buyout. The Rangers only got one inning of work out of him in the pandemic-abbreviated 2020 season before losing him for the year with a shoulder injury. The Rangers have expressed interest at having Kluber return, but for now, he is a free agent.
The Rangers acquired the former Cy Young winner last winter from the Cleveland Indians for Emmanuel Clase and Delino DeShields. This has been a lose-lose trade thusfar, as the Rangers got just a single inning from Kluber, DeShields was a disappointment in 2020 and appears to be a non-tender candidate, and Clase didn’t pitch in 2020 due to a PED suspension.
Farrell and Gibaut both appeared to be likely 40 man casualties this winter. Farrell missed most of 2019 due to a broken jaw suffered in spring training, but stuck around as a potential versatile swing man for 2020. He threw just 5.1 IP in 4 games for the Rangers this year, however, and fell out of the mix of pitching options quickly.
Gibaut was acquired by Texas from the Rays in July, 2019, for a PTBNL or cash, was non-tendered after the season, and then was signed to a minor league deal. An impressive summer camp landed him on the active roster to start the season, but inconsistency of command led to a 7.30 ERA in 14 relief appearances, with his most notable outing being when he threw behind Manny Machado after the infamous Fernando Tatis Jr. grand slam, leading to a suspension.
The 40 man roster is now at 32, though it will go to 35 when Jose Leclerc, Joe Palumbo and Brock Burke are activated from the 45 day injured list.