Should the New York Yankees pursue Corey Kluber?

Andres Chavez

This week, T.R. Sullivan of reported that the Texas Rangers weren’t planning on picking up Corey Kluber’s $18 million club option. The team hasn’t made the move official yet, but that would mean the Klubot would be entering the free agent market if true. Could the New York Yankees be interested in the veteran right-hander?

Sullivan stated that “the plan is to not exercise his option and possibly re-sign him to a lesser deal.” While that is precisely what the Yankees may be planning to do with Brett Gardner, there is no guarantee that Kluber is going to want to return to Texas (as there is no guarantee that Gardy won’t look for a potentially larger role with another team.)

Texas is not expected to be a true contender next season, so Kluber may opt to sign with a better team. The New York Yankees are, by all intends and purposes, a stronger squad, and they have several holes in the rotation.

The Yankees need to replace some arms

The Yankees just lost James Paxton, J.A. Happ and Masahiro Tanaka to free agency. Right now, starting pitchers under contract are Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino (injured, expected to return in June or July but that’s far from a given) Domingo German (who served a long suspension) Jordan Montgomery and Deivi Garcia. Other prospects, such as Nick Nelson, Mike King and Clarke Schmidt, could push for starts in 2021, but that is, also, not a guarantee.

If the Yankees don’t re-sign some of their own free agents, they are going to need someone who can pitch at a high level and is a reliable option. While Kluber hasn’t been the model of health in the last two seasons (he missed most of 2019 with a right ulna fracture after being hit by a liner in the elbow; and a tear of right teres muscle took away his 2020) he is a career 3.16 ERA pitcher that, with a good spring training, could have something left in the tank.

With the Yankees, Kluber would be reunited with Matt Blake, as the two worked together in the Cleveland Indians for several years.

Should the Yankees make a run at Corey Kluber? Will the righty consider the Bombers? The offseason is very, very young, but it could be a flyer worth taking if the price (and, especially, the length of the commitment) is right.