New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman took significant risks this off-season trying to stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold. With the Yankees trying to be financially responsible after the COVID-19 pandemic cut the season short, Cashman went after players coming off injuries.
Starting pitcher Corey Kluber was one of the players he targeted. Considering Eric Cressey was rehabilitating him following injuries in 2020, the Yankees had an inside scoop on how far along he was in the process.
Kluber signed a one-year deal worth $11 million this offseason, and the Yankees now have a two-time Cy Young award-winning pitcher on the roster. However, heâ€™s only pitched 36.2 innings of the last two years, meaning he has barely featured on the mound since 2018.
Nonetheless, Kluber says heâ€™s feeling great and should be ready for the start of the regular season in a few months.
“I feel really good right now. No issues with [my shoulder] now or anywhere along the rehab process. That’s encouraging,” he said. “I feel like I’m in a normal spot for spring training. I don’t feel like I’m still working on improving the shoulder or anything like that. I think it’s in a spot where, obviously, any part of your body, it takes maintenance throughout the year, but I’m not putting any more emphasis on that than anything else on this point.”
“Everything in the last few months has checked a lot of boxes as far as the things, first from Eric’s eyes, and then we got scouts’ eyes on him, now we’re getting our coaching staff and strength and conditioning and training staff on him. It’s February, but I would say weâ€™re encouraged certainly and yesterday was another step in that regard.”
Manager Aaron Boone was optimistic that the starting rotation will come together nicely, but he expects Kluber and new acquisition Jameson Taillon to ease their way into shape this spring training.
As far as Kluber, he was extremely bullish on Kluberâ€™s recovery:
“We have a lot of first-hand knowledge about where he was in his recovery and his training, kind of the measurables coming back from different injuries,” Boone said.
If Corey can return to form, he will likely slide into the second starting pitcher spot right behind Gerrit Cole. If all goes well, the Yankees could have one of the more intimidating rotations in baseball, but that would require a lot of things to go right, and historically over the past few seasons, the opposite has occurred.