Kluber, author of a no-hitter and 2 Cy Youngs, retires from MLB

February 9th, 2024

After 13 seasons in the big leagues, is retiring.

The two-time Cy Young winner took to Instagram on Friday afternoon to post his retirement announcement. He thanked everyone who has helped him during this journey in five paragraphs, but when he got to the end of his note, he left the door open to remain in baseball in another way.

“As I take my leave from the pitcher’s mound, my passion for baseball remains unwavering,” Kluber said in his statement. “I eagerly anticipate exploring opportunities to continue contributing to the sport in a different capacity. … For all of those that will be part of my next chapter in baseball, I look forward to passing on what I have learned to the next generation of MLB players.”

Kluber was a natural at guiding young pitchers in Cleveland, whether he was fully aware of it or not. His tenure with the club began in 2011 and ended after the 2019 season, when he was traded to the Rangers. In that span, Kluber became the only two-time Cy Young Award winner in Cleveland history, taking home the hardware in both 2014 and '17. He was an All-Star in 2016, ’17 and ’18, and his 1,461 strikeouts and 27.7-percent strikeout rate rank second in franchise history among righties with at least 100 appearances.

Throughout Kluber’s time in Cleveland, young, up-and-coming pitchers eagerly waited for their chance to meet Cleveland’s ace and learn as much as they could from his success.

"I don't think it was really something that I ever set out to do," Kluber said in 2021. "It was just kind of the way that I went about my business the way that I knew how, and it was kind of just a byproduct of that. But I guess, yeah, it's cool to hear it after the fact. Like I said, it was never a goal of mine or anything that I was focused on while I was playing here."

After he left Cleveland, Kluber was plagued by injuries. He joined the Rangers but pitched just one inning for his new club before tearing his right teres major muscle. With that, his already-shortened pandemic season became much shorter. Kluber signed with the Yankees for his age-35 season in 2021 and achieved perhaps his greatest career milestone, throwing the 12th no-hitter in franchise history on May 19 against the Rangers.

Kluber enjoyed a fully healthy season in 2022, pitching to a 4.34 ERA in 31 starts for Tampa Bay, but with Boston in ’23, right shoulder inflammation put him back on the 60-day IL. His body was letting him know it may be time to walk away from the mound.

Now, Kluber is in a position to share his lessons learned and help those breaking into the Majors follow in his footsteps. He knows what it’s like to lead the Majors in ERA, like he did in ’17 with a 2.25 mark. He knows what it’s like to receive down-ballot MVP votes at a pitcher. He knows what it’s like to battle through injuries. He knows what it’s like to place in the top three for the Cy Young Award four times in five years. He knows what it's like to throw a no-hitter. He also knows what it’s like to be the new guy in the room after being traded or signed as a free agent.

Kluber could excel as a coach by simply passing on his own learnings. He had experience doing it just a few years ago for a young Shane Bieber, who reached the Majors in 2018 and learned from Kluber until the veteran’s reign in Northeast Ohio was over the following year. And soon, Kluber hopes to add many more names to the list of those who have benefited from his teachings.

"I was very fortunate coming up in 2018 with the entire staff here," Bieber said in ‘21. "I was kind of like a fly on the wall for any conversation I could be there for, trying to pick up as much as I could. But Klubes, specifically, kind of the standard model for where you want to go and what you want to be as a starting pitcher."