Yankees: Corey Kluber could be perfect risk for New York after Rangers let him go
The Yankees should find a way to bring Corey Kluber to New York.
The Texas Rangers thought they’d be going for it all heading into 2020. They worked out a trade with the Cleveland Indians to acquire stud pitcher Corey Kluber to join Lance Lynn and Mike Minor in the rotation.
But Kluber threw just one inning after being ruled out for the season with a shoulder injury and Minor regressed. On top of that, Texas had one of the worst offenses in the league. Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. literally ended their season with his grand slam that caused unnecessary controversy about the unwritten rules.
As a result, the Rangers are a mess, and they declined Kluber’s $18 million club option for 2021, which should open the door for the New York Yankees to take a chance on the right-hander despite the fact he’s made eight starts since the beginning of 2019.
Kluber currently has ties to the Yankees organization, most notably with pitching coach Matt Blake, and general manager Brian Cashman knows he needs to add a pitcher, whether it’s someone like Kluber or re-signing Masahiro Tanaka. Though Kluber is certainly a risk given he suffered a broken forearm in 2019 and a Grade 2 shoulder tear in 2020, his ceiling is proven to be a Cy Young-caliber ace.
It’ll certainly take some time for Kluber to get back on track, but if he manages to regain his footing by the middle of 2021 and the Yankees are sporting a rotation with Cole and Kluber leading the charge heading into the postseason, that could be one of the best 1-2 punches the organization has ever seen.
Another power right-hander who strikes out a ton of batters would go a long way for the rotation, too. Deivi Garcia isn’t an overwhelming righty; Jordan Montgomery is a crafty lefty; Tanaka throws low-90s; and the team can’t bank on Luis Severino being his normal self next season, especially since he’s not expected back until June or July.
And what we don’t need is the Red Sox swooping in here trying to get a bargain on a former Cy Young winner.
It’s more than likely Kluber will be forced to take a team-friendly deal given his injury issues the last two years coupled with the fact he’s entering his age-35 season, and the Yankees need to take advantage of that after passing up on so many such opportunities over the last few offseasons. Instead of splurging on Trevor Bauer (they won’t), the Yankees can get a discount on a veteran ace.
At the absolute worst, he’ll continue to endure injuries and it won’t work out. At the absolute best he’ll be a surefire No. 2 behind Cole. Somewhere in the middle? He could be a reliable back-end rotation arm. It almost makes too much sense.