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This Yankees-Corey Kluber Trade Could Actually Work

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 15: Corey Kluber #28 of the Cleveland Indians poses with their All-Start uniforms prior to the game against the New York Yankees at Progressive Field on July 15, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
New York Yankees v Cleveland Indians | Jason Miller/Getty Images

And no, we're not just going to add Francisco Lindor to it because you want us to. Unless...


While the Yankees' interest in Gerrit Cole is incredibly legitimate, franchise-changing, and potentially mutual, they'd be wise not to stop there, if they're lucky enough to obtain this offseason's unquestioned ace. We watched the team's rotation depth get tested in spades last year, with back-end work going to an opener and Nestor Cortes for two solid months. And with Domingo German's status in question next season, as well as Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton theoretically hitting free agency after 2020, the Yanks can't put a pause on their pitching search...ever.

So, how about Corey Kluber for a buy low?

The 33-year-old is under control at a bargain through next year only, but comes with a team option for 2021 if he's able to adequately rebound from an injury-marred 5.80 ERA partial season. For the five years before last season, however, Kluber was mind-bendingly durable and one of the best since Greg Maddux at dictating the game from first pitch. When he was on, you weren't hitting him. Needless to say, the Yanks could use a rock like that, even if it might take a gamble to get him.

Corey Kluber Trade Rumors

How's this for a deal, given all we know about Kluber? Estevan Florial, Antonio Cabello, and Luis Cessa for Kluber and Bradley Zimmer?

The addition of Zimmer to the deal gives the Yankees some outfield depth in the form of a former Tribe top prospect who fell out of favor based on injuries in 2020. Without Aaron Hicks, and with Brett Gardner's status iffy, they could use some quality and versatile innings-eaters who can play center, and he fits their team profile.

In exchange, the Yanks give Cleveland a former top prospect who brings concerns of his own in Florial, a lottery ticket bat in Cabello who's still only 19 and ranks 11th in the NYY system, and Cessa, every Yankee fan's favorite punching bag, but a (clears throat) relatively effective innings-eater with potential.

Seems like a win-win. Florial can't headline a deal much bigger than this at this point, but plenty of needs are fulfilled on both sides if something like this were to go down. And no dollar concerns to speak of in the Bronx! Kluber's worth under $10 million a year.