Both the Mets and Yankees were reported to be among those expected to attend Corey Kluber’s showcase down in Florida on Wednesday. In fact, 25 teams showed up, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, and Kluber looked pretty solid.
Nearly 25 teams showed up at Corey Kluber's showcase today, and scouts came away impressed. His fastball sat 88-90 — and he's got more velocity in the tank as he builds toward spring training. Kluber threw 30 pitches, including all of his off-speed stuff. Strong market expected.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 13, 2021
#Mets, #Yankees had reps at Kluber’s 30-pitch mound sessions today in Fla. About 60 scouts from 25 teams attended, Kluber was near normal for begin of spring training (88-91mph). Looked healthy. Only 8 GS last 2 seasons, but great pedigree. #InterestingMarket
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 13, 2021
The reason the showcase happened in the first place was due to Kluber suffering a Grade 2 tear of the teres major muscle in his pitching shoulder. He didn’t need surgery, but he was shut down for most of the 2020 season to rehab and get back to his normal self.
During his session, Passan said Kluber was clocking around 88-90 mph. While that isn’t anything special, Kluber certainly isn’t going to go 100% in January, as more time in Spring Training to train and get to 100% is smart. Kluber threw 30 pitches and all of his off-speed stuff was said to look good as well.
So, with that much interest surrounding the former Cy Young winner, Kluber’s market should start to rise heading into the new season.
For the Mets, they could still use some more depth in their starting rotation, even after Carlos Carrasco was traded for. Noah Syndergaard is still rehabbing, which means the rotation looks like Jacob deGrom,Carrasco, Marcus Stroman, Steven Matz and David Peterson at the moment. Matz was inconsistent in 2020, and though Peterson showed promise, the sample size on him is too small.
In the Yankees’ case, they desperately need to upgrade their rotation despite having solid young arms like Deivi Garcia, Michael King and Clarke Schmidt on the rise.
Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and J.A. Happ are all free agents. That leaves Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery as the only two guarantees in the first five at the moment, with Luis Severino also coming back from Tommy John surgery like Syndergaard.
No matter which team signs Kluber, he is considered a high-reward pitcher who comes with risk if you’re expecting him to impact the top of the rotation (this applies to the Yankees if he is their only signing).
Pitching only eight games in the past two seasons — Kluber suffered an oblique injury in 2019 — is a red flag, especially at 34 years old. But Kluber’s stuff, which includes one of the best sliders in the game, is still electric when he gets in a groove.
We’ll see how his market develops, and more importantly, whether or not the Mets and Yankees are at the top of the list to land him.