Clearly, the New York Yankees were impressed by two-time Cy Young award-winning pitcher Corey Kluber during his workout on Wednesday. After missing nearly two years of baseball with two individual injuries, he is looking to make a comeback and cash in during 2022.
Kluber reportedly was only seeking one-year deals, signing an $11 million deal with the Yankees for the 2021 season, just hours after they landed DJ LeMahieu for six years and $90 million. However, Corey turns 35 in April and has pitched just 36.2 innings since 2018.
His first injury came in 2019 when he was hit by a line drive and fractured his right arm. After rehabilitating for quite some time, he picked up an abdominal strain that shut him down for the remainder of the season. Last year, he dealt with shoulder tightness and was diagnosed with a torn teres major muscle.
A few years worth of bad luck in the injury department can de-value a player, and the Yankees could be landing the steal of the year if he manages to regain his form. According to one pitcher who was present during Kluber’s workout, he looked robotic and as good as ever.
Relief pitcher Steve Cishek, who featured on MLB Network this past Thursday, raved about Corey Kluber’s performance in front of scouts.
“I was pulling in I just saw all the scouts, and all the front office personnel sitting in the stands like, ‘Wow, this is impressive.’ Like, it was a good show,” Cishek said. “So, I had to go over there and peek and see what Kluber’s doing, and he looked like himself. As smooth as ever. You wouldn’t be able to tell that he had adrenaline pumping in front of those guys. But I asked him after. He was like, ‘Yeah, of course.’ But he just looks like a robot, of course.”
Just how great can Corey Kluber be for the Yankees?
Just two years ago, Kluber finished 2018 with a 2.89 ERA and 20 wins. This was no anomaly, as he pitched in 215 innings, and in the year prior, he landed a 2.25 ERA over 203.2 innings. He has proved time and time again, he can be one of the best arms in baseball, and while he hasn’t pitched in two years, he’s not far off from his average fastball speed. During his workout, he reached a high of 90 mph with his fastball but only averaged 92 during the height of his career.
With preseason workouts and build-up, Kluber can return to his former self with some luck, and if the Yankees do manage to extract the most from him in 2021, they will have found their No. 2 guy behind Gerrit Cole. He could be the missing piece in the starting rotation that can catapult them to a World Series, which would be the first time in over a decade.