New York Mets should sign Corey Kluber using this simple trick
By Richard Heaton
The New York Mets acquired Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians on Thursday, but their hunt for the best rotation does not end there. Corey Kluber needs to be their next target.
The New York Mets killed two birds with one stone Thursday afternoon after their blockbuster trade with the Cleveland Indians. Acquiring both Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco instantly made the team much better.
But they can still use some help in the pitching department, especially with Noah Syndergaard missing the start of the season and Steven Matz‘ less than stellar recent performance.
The Mets have since been linked to secondary SP’s such as James Paxton and Jake Odorizzi, but their next prize should be Corey Kluber.
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Sure, Kluber is going to turn 35 during the first two weeks of the season and threw a combined 36 and 2/3 innings over the last two seasons but he’s still a solid and affordable option. If the Mets in fact are interested in Kluber, there is one route the team could follow in order to bring him to Queens.
First of all, Mets fans need to understand why Kluber is a good fit for the team. He is a very good pitcher when he is healthy and actually plays.
During the three-season stretch from 2016 to 2018, he won 56 games while pitching to a 2.77 ERA and recording 714 strikeouts. During that time, he led the league in shutouts three times and ERA+ and BB/9 twice.
He’s an affordable option who would serve as Syndergaard’s replacement for the first few months of the upcoming season.
If New York likes what they see in Kluber’s showcase next week, it would be a no-brainer for the team to offer him a contract. But there is one way that the Mets could extend an offer and take on minimal risk, depending on what Kluber is looking for.
The club should offer him a one-year deal but offer less money than what he’s seeking. This seems like a ridiculous idea but the Mets could make this work by offering a second year that features a buyout worth the difference.
Let’s just say, in theory, that Kluber wants $7 million in 2021. They could offer $5 million for 2021 but they could add on a contract for 2022 with a $2 million buyout, or other amounts based on what contract is decided on.
The risk that the Mets take on is no different than straight-up offering Kluber what he wants. If he doesn’t live up to his value, the Mets can enact the $2 million buyout at the end of the 2021 season and Kluber still ends up with exactly what he wanted.
From Kluber’s point of view, he would end up with at minimum, what he asked for, but comes with the potential of a second year. On paper, this is the same as a club option for a second season, but what the Mets directly spend in 2021 will be decreased, leaving more room for flexibility.
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Signing Kluber using this technique could work wonders for the team, landing them not only a solid secondary pitcher but also leaving them with room for more additions in the future.