When half your articles become about reacting to what people are saying on the internet, it just might be that you’re spending too much time online. Then again, it’s hard not to react to sensationalized reactions. (Remember when Aaron Judge was regressing to a singles hitter this summer? Yeah, fun time.) Especially when you post something about the potential of the Yankees trading for Corey Kluber and the reaction is he is a consolation prize or sloppy seconds in the Gerrit Cole sweepstakes.
Somehow people will be mad if the Yankees got Corey Kluber instead of Gerrit Cole and while Cole looks better on paper, games aren’t played on paper
Look. If I’m playing fantasy baseball and have the choice between Cole and Kluber, I am obviously getting Cole. Here’s the thing. If Cole leaves the board before I can get to him and I have a shot at Kluber, it isn’t exactly settling.
To say getting Kluber is settling is like living in the universe where Justin Verlander didn’t end up marrying Kate Upton but instead he ended up with Katie Holmes. It’s true that Kate and Cole are the fun new things right now, but that doesn’t diminish what Katie and Kluber have done in the past.
Katie Holmes dated Batman so she PROBABLY wouldn’t want a guy who cheats and can’t buy a W in the World Series for his life. Now that is settling.
KLUBER IS ELITE
Between 2014 and 2018 Corey Kluber was the face of elite. Here are his accomplishments and where he ranks around the league:
109.1 IP (2nd)
2.85 ERA (5th)
2.84 FIP (6th)
.220 Opponent AVG (8th)
.266 OBP (4th)
.353 SLG (10th)
10.1 K/9 (11th)
1.8 BB/9 (12th)
28.4 K% (8th)
5.2 BB% (15th)
2019 IS A FREAK ANOMALY (You’d hope at least)
His 5.80 ERA in 2019 was one of the worst representations of Kluber since his rookie year. He started 7 games and logged 35.2 innings. Of course, the ERA was misleading as he had a 4.06 FIP and accumulated a .6 fWAR. It wasn’t elite by any means but it wasn’t as disastrous as it might seem if you’re just looking at ERA only.
Another thing to take into account is just how small a sample size 35.2 innings is. Kluber didn’t really get a chance to turn things around. Given how great he’d been for the last five-years, there’s a really great chance he might have returned to form. That is something great players do. Case in point with Jacob deGrom.
Over in Flushing, deGrom is to the Mets what Sam Darnold and Jamal Adams are to Jets fans: one of the few single rays of hope. DeGrom won the NL Cy Young award for his second year in a row but he didn’t start 2019 strong. In fact, for the month of April, deGrom did not look like himself.
Mets fans writing slam poetry of deGrom’s regression in a few years. They can’t even look at red apples it hurts so much.
He had a 4.85 ERA, a 1.38 WHIP and a 3.79 FIP. He was also snake bit by the longball as he gave up 5 home runs in the month. Granted his strikeouts were through the roof as he sported a 14.88 K/9.
In the end, deGrom returned to deGrom prominence and earned himself a Cy Young. Just as deGrom is elite, Kluber is too. Why couldn’t Kluber have done the same?
PIVOTING TO KLUBER IS NOT SETTLING
If the Angels go on and pay Gerrit Cole $300 million for eight-years, there’s a really great chance the Yankees don’t match that. You really can’t blame them either. Paying anybody that much for that long comes with a ton of risk. He’s no Jacoby Ellsbury but what’s to say he doesn’t blow out his arm after year two? These are all things the Yankees have to take into consideration.
If they trade for Corey Kluber they are only on the hook for him up until 2021. In that time he’ll have an AAV of $17.5 million. A move such as this one is similar to last year where the Yankees chose to trade for James Paxton instead of making a commitment to 30-year-old Patrick Corbin.
There’s a difference between cheap and smart and this would be classified as smart – granted this SHOULD NOT stop them from going after Cole. If I’m living in a perfect world they just get both. Gerrit Cole had a 7.4 fWAR last year and if you add Kluber, you get somebody who has shown a ceiling of 7.2 fWAR.
We can only dream.