Yankees: Don’t question replacing James Paxton with Corey Kluber


All the social media payroll experts out there are hawking the New York Yankees’ decisions as if every move affects their personal checking account. Life should not be like this.

But if we’re here to do anything, perhaps it’s to justify whatever moves were made as well as make you feel more comfortable about the financials. At least that’s what we’d like to think.

And in wake of James Paxton rejoining his former team in the Seattle Mariners for $8.5 million, it has some wondering why the Yankees forked over $11 million for Corey Kluber.

There’s no need to worry, though. It was the right decision regardless of what happens.

“But that extra $2.5 million could’ve been put toward Brett Gardner, or another reliever, or maybe another trade acquisition!” Stop for a second.

We are very much aware Kluber has only thrown 36.2 innings since the start of 2019. But he dealt with a freak injury two seasons ago (a comebacker broke his forearm) and then suffered a shoulder tear thanks to the unfavorable factors that led us into the 2020 season. It’s not crazy to trust that those were outliers, given his career track record.

As for Paxton, he has a history of injuries. A lengthy one. He’s never made 30 starts in a single season; he’s never pitched more than 160.1 innings in a single season; he’s never finished in the Cy Young voting in a single season; and he has just 13 postseason innings under his belt. He debuted in 2013.

For just $2.5 million more, the Yankees got themselves a pitcher who has won two Cy Young awards; finished top-three in the voting four times; has thrown over 200 innings five times across 10 MLB seasons (four of which totaled 23 games pitched); has 45.1 career postseason innings under his belt; and has pitched in the World Series.

This is not a dig at Paxton. Most Yankees fans love what he brought to the table and wish him nothing but the best, but there’s no need to compare financials, especially when we very well know Paxton underwent back surgery just last offseason and was then shut down in 2020 thanks to a forearm strain, which could (hopefully not) creep back up in 2021 because those ailments rarely ever feel like they get fully resolved.

On top of all of this, Kluber is only two years older than Paxton with infinitely more accomplishments. The only argument we should be having is whether or not the Yankees should have pursued a co-ace without a recent slew of injuries/setbacks. That seems more of a constructive discussion rather than fretting about $2.5 million that isn’t — and never will be — your money.

So let’s enjoy baseball in 2021 and remove ourselves from the hypothetical accounting department. The Yankees deciding to burn money or save every last penny shouldn’t be dividing fans in any sort of way.