Yankees’ new projected rotation with Corey Kluber | Gerrit Cole gets potential co-ace – NJ.com

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The Yankees’ rotation received either a serious boost or a giant question mark.

On Friday night, hours after shaking the sport by re-signing DJ LeMahieu, the Yankees added two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber to the mix.

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They agreed with the soon-to-be 35-year-old on a one-year deal worth $11 million.

Let’s take a look at the Yankees’ new projected rotation with Kluber in it.

No. 1: Gerrit Cole

Of course it’s Cole. Nothing shocking here. He’ll be in the second year of a nine-year deal, coming off an impressive first season in the Bronx, in which he went 7-3 with a 2.84 ERA in 12 starts, striking out 94. Cole pitched in games 1 and 5 of the American League Division Series.

No. 2: Corey Kluber

No way around it. Kluber instantly becomes the Yankees’ No. 2 starting pitcher. Sure, he’s only made eight starts in the past two years. Sure, there’s risk. But there’s this: The Yankees have been hot for Kluber for years, going back to the middle of last decade when he was the Indians’ ace. Plus, they must know all there is to know about Kluber’s health. The right-hander spent the offseason working out with Eric Cressey. Kluber even held his workout with scouts at Cressey’s Florida facility on Wednesday. Before last season, the Yankees hired Cressey to revamp their strength and conditioning programs. They have always had inside knowledge of the highly accomplished starting pitcher. To give him $11 million seems like a huge vote of confidence.

No. 3 (eventually): Luis Severino

Severino won’t be back from Tommy John surgery rehab until the summer. When he’s at his best, he could be a co-ace with Cole. Don’t forget that Severino finished third in the Cy Young vote in 2017 and ninth in 2018.

No. 3 (currently): Jordan Montgomery

The Yankees love Montgomery. They love that he’s 6-foot-6, comes at hitters from an awkward angle and is lefty. He wasn’t very good in 2020, posting a 5.11 ERA in 10 starts. But it was also a weird season for everybody. The Yankees expect better from the 28-year-old. And he’s capable of being very good.

No. 4: Domingo German

Yes, German got lit up in the Dominican Winter League, but Yankees talent evaluators just believe he ran out of gas after not pitching the whole 2020 season due to his suspension under the league’s domestic violence policy. In 2019, German was a revelation, going 18-4 with a 4.03 ERA in 27 games (24 starts). The ability, surely, is still there. How long will it take for the 28-year-old to knock the rust off? And how will he be received in the clubhouse? (The bet here is that the latter will go fine.)

No. 5: Deivi Garcia

The rookie looked unfazed in the majors, going 3-2 with a 4.98 ERA in six starts last year, his debut. Can he handle a full season’s workload?

The extras: Mike King, Clarke Schmidt, Jonathan Loaisiga, Jhoulys Chacín

Jhoulys Chacín comes to the Yankees with 226 career starts. But he hasn’t been very good since going 15-8 with a 3.50 ERA in 35 starts for the Twins in 2018. The Yankees just added him on a minor-league deal. Clarke Schmidt is the most talented of the group, but manager Aaron Boone said that he might need “more seasoning.” Mike King could provide innings and features a killer two-seamer. Jonathan Loaisiga is talented, but is likely better off in the bullpen at this point.

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Brendan Kuty may be reached at bkuty@njadvancemedia.com. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.

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