The New York Yankees have just made their situation worse by not re-signing Corey Kluber. Although they still have several other important positions to fill, adding fuel to an already blazing fire doesn’t help. With all the elite pitchers slowly making deals, what are the Yankees waiting for?
No More Justin Verlander and Bye Bye Corey Kluber
Everyone knows that Justin Verlander was available and that the Yankees were looking to get him. The Yankees offered him a one-year $25 million deal. The Houston Astros offered the same deal. Why did Verlander stay with the Astros? The Yankees didn’t offer him a player option for 2023. According to Ken Davidoff of nypost.com, the Astros originally offered Verlander a one-year $18.4 million dollar deal, which Verlander rejected. It would have been nice to see a reunion between Verlander and Gerrit Cole, who pitched for the Astros in the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Looks like that is never going to happen.
A new problem just arose for the Yankees. According to sources, Kluber agreed to a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays, pending a physical. Ken Rosenthal, a senior writer of The Athletic, stated this on his twitter:
Things just seem to be getting from bad to worse for the Yankees. Not only do they need pitchers, but they decided to get rid of a good one. Kluber’s career ERA is 3.19 with a total of 225 games played. He has 18 complete games, allowed 140 home runs, 1,239 hits, pitched 1,422.2 innings and struck out 1,544 batters. Batters have a .233 average against him.
The Yankees can get Max Scherzer, but at this point it is anyone’s guess what the Yankees are going to do. It is understandable to get rid of some players and acquire others based on payroll and use some players as trading pawns. It makes sense. Getting rid of Kluber does not, unless they are opening the door for big-name players like Scherzer. With Kluber gone and possibly acquiring Scherzer, it would bring in an amazing pitcher. According to Pete Botte of nypost.com, the Yankees signed a one-year deal with Kluber in 2021 for $11 million. Now the Rays have him for $8 million. That helps a little bit with saving some cash, although Scherzer is a big-name player who would require a big-time contract.
Scherzer would be a great pitcher for the Yankees. His career ERA is 3.16, pitching in 407 games, striking out 3,020 batters and pitching 2,536.2 innings. He has been playing since 2008, after being drafted in the first round, 11th pick overall during the 2006 draft. His win-loss record is an amazing 190-97, which is a winning percentage of 66 percent. He is another player that seems to get better with age, like Verlander. Just like the Energizer bunny, he just keeps going and going.
Kershaw is a free agent. He, too, was drafted during the 2006 draft. He was the seventh pick overall in the first round. His debut was in 2008, just as Scherzer’s was. Kershaw has been playing with the Los Angeles Dodgers his whole career. His career ERA is 2.49 with a stellar record of 185-84, this comes out to a winning percentage of approximately 68 percent. He pitched 2,454.2 innings, striking out 2,670 batters, holding batters to a .209 average, while allowing 1,859 hits. he also has pitched 25 complete games.
There are some negative aspects to acquiring an elite pitcher like Kershaw. He comes with a hefty price tag. According to Clint Pasillas from dodgersnation.com, Kershaw is finishing up his three-year, $93 million extension after opting out of a seven-year $215 million deal. This would mean that any team who takes him, would have to offer him a substantial amount of money to keep him playing.
The other downside of Kershaw is his injuries. He has had several in his past from left shoulder inflammation, lower back discomfort, to mild disc herniation, back stiffness, etc. His latest injury is left forearm discomfort that sent him to the minors, only to be returned to the Dodgers where he elected free agency.
The Yankees have some choices to make as to what to do for their pitching rotation. It is bad enough they need to figure out who they want as their starting catcher, Gary Sanchez or Kyle Higashioka. They also need a short stop, first baseman, and another outfielder. They are running out of time and elite players. So what are the Yankees waiting for?
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