Yankees could replace Corey Kluber with another oft-injured ace

Alexander Wilson
justin verlander, yankees

The New York Yankees are gearing up for an exciting off-season, and while signing a star shortstop and a potential trade for Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson have plastered the headlines, general manager Brian Cashman is making some low-key moves.

The Yankees recently attended veteran starting pitcher Justin Verlander‘s workout as he rehabilitates from elbow surgery. Verlander hasn’t pitched since 2019, tossing 223 innings and recording a 2.54 ERA with the Houston Astros. During his bullpen session, reports indicated that Verlander hit close to 97 mph with his fastball, despite averaging 94.4 mph over the course of his career. His highest velocity was 95.6 back in 2009 with Detroit.

If the Yankees did bring him in on a short-term contract, it would be similar to how they viewed Corey Kluber, a veteran coming off injury who could produce at a starter level. However, there is a significant difference between Kluber and Verlander, and that is mentality and overall quality.

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The Astros’ former ace would be a dangerous pairing with Gerrit Cole at the top of the starting rotation, and with his high strikeout rates and low walk percentages, he would be an incredible addition if he can remain healthy at 38-years-old.

Verlander is coming off a contract paying him $66M over two years, but considering they were injury-riddled, he might settle for a deal in the $16-20 million per season range, if not less.

The Yankees can activate the trade market to find a supplement in the starting rotation after losing Andrew Heaney this off-season, but Verlander offers a potential elite talent who will likely dominate when active. Cole would appreciate his skills, given he’s played with him in the past and knows he can rely on him to sustain excellence on a weekly basis.

In the case the Yankees do land Verlander, they would also have Luis Severino, Domingo German, Jordan Montgomery, and Jameson Taillon as their primary starters. Injuries have plagued this rotation in the past, and adding a starter coming off two years rehabilitating doesn’t exactly scream reliability. However, that has been Cashman’s strategy, and if it pans out, which we say every year, the Bombers would be sitting pretty.

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