The New York Yankees shouldn't be expected to stop at one blockbuster move this winter. They have a score to settle with the Boston Red Sox, and they have the assets to pursue upgrades for exactly that purpose.
Still, there's no harm in pushing them to pull off one in particular. In this case, the target is Corey Kluber.
For now, the two-time American League Cy Young Award winner is merely a target. Kluber is available as the Cleveland Indians deal with "market constraints," according to ESPN's Buster Olney. Per Jon Heyman of Fancred, the Yankees met with them at the general managers' meetings Tuesday:
Yankees have interest in Kluber, Carrasco and Paxton in addition to free agent targets Corbin, Happ and CC. NYY meeting with at least Indians today.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 6, 2018
Though the Yankees have already re-signed veteran left-hander CC Sabathia, their interest in Kluber fits with their desire to add more pitching however they can.
"I think we'll just gravitate to anything that will make sense," GM Brian Cashman told reporters. "It could be a combination; something could make sense via trade in the same category as free agency. I'm interested in adding more than one pitcher. I need to, I think, add multiple. If I can do so, we'll see."
Where Kluber is concerned, the hard part is convincing the Indians to even consider shipping him to New York.
Generally speaking, a team doesn't make a guy like Kluber available unless it's looking to tear it all down and rebuild. But this isn't that. As MLB.com's Jordan Bastian discussed, the Indians are merely keeping their options open. They're not giving up on contending.
This points to a dilemma: Why would they trade one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball to a top AL rival, much less one that outpaced them by nine wins in 2018?
The price would have to be very, very right for the Indians to even consider it.
At the least, the Yankees would have to take on Kluber's entire remaining contract. It pays him $17 million in 2019, and the Yankees would be obligated to accept or decline his 2020 and 2021 options (valued at $35.5 million total) following the 2019 World Series.
The Indians would also need the Yankees to fill some of their immediate needs. A Kluber trade would open up one of those in their rotation. The Indians also need outfielders. The Yankees don't have much to suit Cleveland on either front.
And yet, there might be a deal to be made if the Yankees are willing to sacrifice their best young players outside of Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar. Coincidentally, these include left-hander Justus Sheffield (MLB.com's No. 31 prospect) and slugging outfielder Clint Frazier, who originated in Cleveland's system. Outfield prospect Estevan Florial (No. 45) would also have to be involved.