General manager Brian Cashman made TWO big moves on Friday. DJ LeMahieu re-upped with the Yankees earlier in the day, but New York also added a veteran arm in the form of 34-year-old Corey Kluber before the day ended:
Right-hander Corey Kluber and the New York Yankees are finalizing a deal that will bring the two-time AL Cy Young winner to the Bronx, pending a physical, sources familiar with the agreement tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 16, 2021
My immediate thought is to pump the brakes on a Masahiro Tanaka return, which could wind up being a good thing for Tanaka’s value if he lands in a more friendly pitcher’s park. Landing with the Angels or Padres would be fun. Of course, if Tanaka returns to Japan, then he gives us no value at all.
As for the Yankees, Kluber offers the best upside of available free agent arms that the Yankees can afford, as they appear to have never been serious about Trevor Bauer. Therefore, taking a shot on a two-time Cy Young winner’s return to form is a savvy move. New York’s rotation now looks like:
The eventual return of Luis Severino from Tommy John could really give the Yankees a formidable trio up top, a really stout group of Cole-Severino-Kluber that could compete with anyone come playoff time.
As for fantasy baseball, Kluber’s over all Draft Champions ADP this season (57 drafts) is 247.30. And in seven January drafts, his ADP is a whopping 273.71. So that’s the good news. The bad news is the general driving up of pitchers as draft season heats up, as well as the “Yankee tax” you’ll likely be paying. Given the lack of reliable starting pitching available this year—it seems to fall off a cliff—it wouldn’t surprise me to see more drafts where Kluber is drafted around the 150 range (he has a min. pick of 149).
Could you make a case for him over Patrick Corbin, Dustin May, or Tyler Mahle in the 150s? I think you could. What about his teammate Jordan Montgomery, who is being selected at 188.57 currently? Your time to buy in on Corey Kluber is now, before that ADP makes it impossible to stomach.