On a deal that has both risk and reward, the New York Yankees and right-hander Corey Kluber have reached agreement on a one-year contract.
The deal has a base value of $11 million, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Bergen (New Jersey) Record. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the agreement is pending a physical. A plodding, pinstriped winter of waiting and stalled negotiations suddenly revved into a whiplash-inducing speed on Friday. In a span of 12 hours, the Yankees finally brought back team MVP DJ LeMahieu on a six-year $90 million contract, re-signed all eight of their arbitration eligible players and secured a former ace for their rotation.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan was first to report the Yanks’ agreement Friday with Kluber.
A two-time AL Cy Young award winner, Kluber auditioned in front of MLB scouts this week at Cressey Sports Performance in Florida, operated by Eric Cressey, the Yankees’ director of player health and performance. Kluber has trained with Cressey during several of the past offseasons, prior to Cressey’s affiliation with the Yanks. And Kluber has worked with Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake, first at CSP and later as pitching performance director of the Cleveland Indians. The initial reports of Kluber’s showcase were positive, and there was wide interest in the right-hander’s services despite a recent downturn in performance accompanied by injuries. Kluber, who turns 35 in April, has pitched just 36⅔ innings over the last two seasons (he made one start last year with the Texas Rangers) due to a fractured arm (struck by a liner in 2019) and a shoulder injury.
Considering the Yankees’ proximity to the $210 million luxury tax threshold, the deal with Kluber could also signal the club’s departure from Masahiro Tanaka.