Like I said earlier today, we were well past the point of believing the Cubs were going to land Corey Kluber given the wide-ranging interest in the 34-year-old starter after his apparently impressive showcase in Florida this week, but that doesn’t mean it’s not disappointing.
The Yankees will reportedly be the ones to give the former two-time Cy Young award winner his big shot:
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
I'm told the Yankees-Kluber deal is done, but is pending a physical. https://t.co/5mOmIsjx75
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) January 16, 2021
We guessed Kluber might be the next free agent to sign in our last rumor round-up post and the Yankees were a heavy favorite, after finally landing their priority No. 1, D.J. LeMahieu. The prevailing wisdom is that he was seeking a $6-$7 million deal with plenty of incentives (UPDATE: $10M-$11M see below), but we’ll see if that winds up being the case. Relatedly, a one-year “prove-it” deal could make a lot of sense, given his potential upside, so I’m tentatively expecting that to be the case (as are others). Again, we’ll see.
As for the potential impact on the Cubs, well, I’m not so sure there is that many. Like I said above, Kluber went from the sort of “buy-low, low-risk” type the Cubs could afford to a very popular name on the free agent market pretty quickly. The fact that the Yankees, who absolutely intend to contend this season, ended up with him sort of proves that he probably looked a lot better than a typical buy-low guy.
The Cubs will need to add at least another starter at some point, though, and Kluber is another intriguing name off the board.
Immediate Update: Wow. That pretty much confirms it, yes? This is a lot more than I expected him to get a month ago. He must’ve looked really good at that showcase.
Kluber deal is indeed in $10M to $11M range with Yankees. Pending physical.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 16, 2021
Update II: If the Yankees really do project to be a hair over the luxury tax threshold, which they apparently really wanted to avoid, you have to wonder if they’ll now be more aggressive elsewhere on the roster.
Thought Kluber would get a small base like $5M and a chance to make much more with IP/GS, but a source says he expects the deal to be for north of $10M. #Yankees must really believe Kluber is healthy because I think they now project over the $210M luxury tax threshold.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 16, 2021
Others are reporting that the deal is for $11M and also that the Yankees are still under the CBT, but we’ll see how the dust settles.