With a member of their rotation hitting the open market, should the New York Yankees bring Corey Kluber back?
The World Series is on the verge of wrapping up (if it hasn’t already), which means the Bronx Bombers have a multitude of decisions to make ahead of the long offseason that awaits them. Personally, I believe this will be a busy winter for the Yankees, as they’re expected to be in on the two big-name free agent shortstops in Corey Seager and/or Carlos Correa. However, I do think the Yankees will be active in the pitching market, too, which leads me to wonder: should the Yanks re-sign veteran starter Corey Kluber?
Season of Ups and Downs
Much like the Yankees, Kluber had a very inconsistent, up-and-down 2021 campaign. There were times where he looked dominant from his days in Cleveland, and there were also times where he looked like the 35-year-old vet that had a little too much mileage on his arm. From injury issues to no-hitters this season, Kluber’s 2021 totaled out to a 3.83 ERA in 80 innings and 16 starts.
Kluber missed a little more than three months with a shoulder strain, and upon returning to the Yankees, he made 6 starts, pitched to a 5.40 ERA with a 3.96 FIP and 4.61 xFIP.
Everyone knows that Kluber has an injury history, especially over the past three seasons, missing large parts of 2019, 2020, and 2021. Since 2018, Kluber has pitched a grand total of just 116.2 innings and has made 24 starts, which is a little less than a full season’s worth.
Should the Yankees Bring him Back?
The Yankees signed Kluber on a one-year, $10 million pact last offseason, and, quite frankly, I expect Kluber to make around half of that this winter. Based on his inability to stay on the field the past few years and the severe drop-off Kluber has faced performance-wise, I don’t think any team would be keen on giving him more than a one-year contract. That’s not even factoring in his age, which, at 35, is not the most desirable for a pitcher.
Personally, I don’t think the Yankees are going to target Kluber on a potential return this offseason, nor do I think they should. There has been no smoke regarding a potential return to the Bronx for the veteran unlike another key free-agent in Anthony Rizzo. There are quite a few pitchers that are most certainly better than Kluber, including Kevin Gausman, Marcus Stroman, Eduardo Rodriguez, Robbie Ray, and even Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw (although I don’t see Kershaw leaving Los Angeles any time soon).
Either way, I do believe the Yanks will be looking to make a potential splash this offseason, and there are plenty of pitchers that will likely provide more, both health and performance-wise, in 2022.