By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/thenyextra.com
The Yankees likely secured second baseman DJ LeMahieu for the rest of his career with a six-year, $90 million deal.
They were shrewd enough to basically give him a $3 million raise, but bowed to his extensive year demand.
However, they initially don’t appear to be acute enough with their signing of pitcher Corey Kluber to a one-year, $11 million contract.
Kluber fills a starter void even though he has pitched sporadically over the last two years. He has pitched in eight games with a 2-3 record and a 5.80 ERA.
He threw just one inning before he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.
Does this justify an $11 million flyer on a former Cleveland all-star who could regain his form?
The Yankees are banking on it. Published reports had as many as 25 teams at Kluber’s recent workout and the Dodgers were in hot pursuit.
The 34-year-old righthander has the history of being a three-time All Star and and a two-time Cy Young award winner in his pocket.
That alone sounds like sufficient and typical Yankee material.
His contract basically squelches any rumors of Masahiro Tanaka returning to the rotation. The Yanks roughly have about $7 million left to spend before they would go over the luxury tax threshold that they are trying to avoid.
The question of the payroll surely will come into play over the next few months, notably before the team breaks camp before the opener.
Kluber will need to show he can be productive, or the finger-pointing will begin.
In published reports, Kluber has received supportive and approval emojis from several teammates on the social media accounts.
Kluber’s addition leaves the Yanks with Jordan Montgomery, Deivi Garcia, and Domingo German under ace Garritt Cole. German is questionable due to his 2020 suspension due to domestic violence after an impressive 2019 debut.
Either(or both) rookie Clark Schmidt and Michael King could land a spot early or later in the season. Luis Severino should be back around the All-Star break after Tommy John surgery.
Kulber does bring a veteran presence the Yankees sought to a young staff behind Cole.
The question is what kind of presence will he provide.