SPANISH HARLEM – Last Friday news broke that the New York Yankees were finalizing a deal for DJ LeMahieu and not to be outdone, they also took a chance on Corey Kluber, adding another pitcher to the rotation. Let’s take a longer look at those deals and what they mean to the Yankees.
LeMahieu is back with the team that never wanted to let him go. For 6 years/90 million, the New York Yankees were able to bring back their best overall hitter for 15 million per year. The money is not a problem because the deal is a lot less than most people speculated, and that’s a good thing if you ask me. I know the years may be a bit rough to handle but when you think about how valuable he was to the Yankees and how healthy he has remained throughout his career, you can see why the organization had no problem going with the extra years.
LeMahieu has been their best player the last two seasons and that’s even when you consider stars like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres. Not an easy crew to stand out in, nor expected. He has been better than advertised and losing him would have left a giant hole in a lineup that is built on power. The offense is better when he is in it and those around him are in a better position to do damage when he is on base. He grinds in his At Bats and can hit to all fields. He is the only player of his kind on the team and a rare find around baseball with great hitting and solid defense… at multiple positions. The Yanks are a better team with him and everyone knows it.
Not too long after finding out that LeMahieu would be back with the Bombers, news broke that they would also be adding Kluber to a starting rotation that needed to add an arm or two. The upside is that he is a two-time Cy Young Award winner the (key word here) one of the best pitchers in baseball for most of his career. On the other hand, the Yankees landed a pitcher that hasn’t pitched much the last two years. This is definitely one of those high risk high reward type of deal. If healthy, you can see how important he could be to a possible playoff rotation but the bad news is that we don’t actually know what player we are getting. It’s fair to say that the Yankees haven’t had much luck with pitchers coming off injuries but fans can still hope for the best possible outcome.
The sad thing that came out of the Kluber signing is that it probably marks the end of Tanaka in pinstripes. He wasn’t the number #1 type pitcher many had hoped for when he signed but he was darn good as a Yankee. He fought through an arm injury and changed his pitching approach to maximize his potential – which he certainly did. Nobody should say a bad thing about him. Though he wasn’t dominate in the regular season, you can’t say that about the playoffs. Last season notwithstanding, he was clutch and terrific when his turn came up. At times brilliant, other times rough to watch, but you always knew he was trying his best.
I hope the Yankees find a way to bring him back but from speculation it seems he is looking for something closer to the 20 million range. Not sure if any team will be willing to offer that but the organization should want to bring him back. The Yankees are looking to stay under salary cap (Why, I ask?), so it will have to be interesting to see how high they will go to retain him, if that’s possible.
Come Back Tomorrow for Different Matt…
Until Next Time.