Yankees sign 2-time AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber

After locking in star infielder DJ LeMahieu for the brunt of the decade early in the morning Friday, the Yankees were not finished. Last night, they agreed to terms with right-hander Corey Kluber on a one-year, $11 million deal, pending a physical. Jake Storiale was first to report the news, which was shortly thereafter confirmed by ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Kluber was one of the premier starters of the 2010s, establishing himself as a true workhorse and achieving great success with the Cleveland Indians. From 2014-18, he pitched to a 2.85 ERA/151 ERA+ over 1091.1 innings, striking out 1228 and amassing 83 wins while averaging an incredible 218 innings pitched per season. The 33-year-old is a two-time Cy Young Award winner, taking home the honor in 2014 and 2017 -- the latter of which he also won the ERA Title. He finished top-3 in Cy Young voting in 2016 and 2018 and is a three-time All-Star.

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The Alabama native will look to rebound with the Yanks in 2021 after struggling to stay on the field the last two seasons. He suffered a broken right arm that would end his season after being hit with a comebacker in his seventh start of 2019, and the Indians would then deal him to the Texas Rangers that December. 2020 was even more forgettable; just 18 pitches into his first start of the year, he suffered a tear in his right shoulder that kept him out for the remainder of the shortened season. Kluber is, however, just two years removed from a campaign that saw him rack up 20 wins with a 2.89 ERA/150 ERA+ over a league-leading 215 frames.

The Yankees seemingly had the inside track on Kluber all along, in part due to his familiarity with pitching coach Matt Blake, who he worked with during his time in Cleveland, and director of health and performance Eric Cressey. Cressey oversaw Kluber’s rehab from the aforementioned shoulder injury this past year, and has been his personal strength and conditioning coach for the last several offseasons. Kluber even held his showcase Wednesday at Cressey’s facility, which, for the record, was attended by representatives of about 20 teams.

Lauded for his work in Cleveland as a role model and a mentor to young pitchers, Kluber is a much-needed reinforcement to a Yankees rotation with more question marks than surefire bets heading into Spring Training. He projects to slot in as the #2 behind Gerrit Cole, with some combination of Deivi Garcia, Jordan Montgomery, Clarke Schmidt, Michael King, and Domingo German in line to fill out the back-end; Luis Severino is expected to return from Tommy John surgery in the early summer. Brian Cashman could still opt to bring back Masahiro Tanaka or James Paxton, and a number of veteran starters remain available, both on the free-agent market and in trades, who could help round out the staff.

Article by Christian DeMoro


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