Yankees News/Rumors: Jake Odorizzi, Corey Kluber two starting pitching options

New York Yankees, Jake Odorizzi

Starting pitching remains a major question for the New York Yankees this off-season, and with free agency developing slowly, don’t expect general manager Brian Cashman to make any quick moves in the coming days. He wants to settle on DJ LeMahieu’s extension before making any decisions at other positions, and starting pitching is one that desperately needs reinforcing.

With Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and JA Happ all hitting free agency and clearing about $52 million off the books, the Yankees have some money to play around with and throw at some decent options, but with ownership wanting to stay beneath the $210 million luxury tax threshold, it will be difficult to find a solid number two behind Gerrit Cole.

The Bombers could take a cheaper route and stick with some younger options already on the roster like Deivi Garcia, Michael King, and Clarke Schmidt, but they would be setting themselves up for failure, especially with injuries being a consistent problem the past few seasons.

Two starting pitchers the Yankees should consider in free agency:

1.) Jake Odorizzi

One solid option is Jake Odorizzi, who is 30 years old and preparing to enter his 10th season in the MLB. In 2020, he pitched just 13.2 innings before suffering an injury that cut his season short. He ended up finishing with a 6.59 ERA, but his sample size is mostly irrelevant. Looking at his 2019 statistics, Jake finished with a 3.51 ERA, 10.08 strikeouts per nine, and 35% ground ball rate.

His market value is at about $14 million, which is a decent price point since the Yankees are saving a ton of money with their three starters hitting the market. He would account for about half of what Tanaka was set to make in 2020.

2.) Corey Kluber

Kluber is a fantastic option for the Yankees if they want to save money in 2021. After pitching just 36.2 innings the past two seasons, Kluber is looking to regain his form and join a contending team.

He’s expected to throw for teams in early January, and if he looks good, the Yankees should 100% be in the market for his services. As recent as 2018, Kluber was considered one of the best starters in baseball, logging a 2.89 ERA with a 44.4% ground ball rate and 9.29 strikeouts per nine. He had a 5.5 WAR and dominated with 20 wins.

If Kluber was even half as productive as he was in 2018, the Yankees would get a stellar pitcher that can fit right into the rotation with ease. Again, he is a cost-efficient option that is still relatively young at 34 years old and could add value at a steep discount.