Yankees view Kluber and Taillon as high risk, high reward

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FILE - In this July 9, 2020, file photo, Texas Rangers pitcher Corey Kluber throws during an intrasquad game in Arlington, Texas. The New York Yankees reached a deal with Kluber worth $11 million for one year, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday, Jan. 15, because the agreement is subject to a successful physical. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

NEW YORK – Brian Cashman knows the New York Yankees are taking big risks by adding pitchers Corey Kluber and Jameson Tallion, who have combined to pitch one inning during the past two seasons, and letting go of Masahiro Tanaka.

“Ultimately, gaining two for — current theory — the price of one is maybe a better strategy,” the New York general manager said Friday.

After losing to the eventual AL champion Tampa Bay Rays in a five-game Division Series, the Yankees allowed Tanaka, James Paxton and J.A. Happ to become free agents, signed Kluber to an $11 million, one-year contract and acquired Taillon from Pittsburgh for four prospects.

To drop payroll below the $210 million luxury tax threshold, Cashman traded right-hander Adam Ottavino to rival Boston, saving $7.15 million.

“The last thing I wanted to do was put him in the hands of our competitors, but ultimately I’m not afraid to do business with anybody if it serves whatever our purposes have to be, and so yeah, that was a payroll flexibility maneuver,” Cashman said.

New York is replacing Ottavino with side-arming right-hander Darren O'Day, who has a pending $2.5 million deal. The Yankees’ other major offseason move was re-signing AL batting champion D.J. LeMahieu to a $90 million, six-year contract.

“He’s obviously understated and quiet. There’s no question he is one of the leaders and somebody that so many people in our clubhouse not only want to look to but look up to,” manager Aaron Boone said.

New York enters spring training with a projected rotation of Gerrit Cole, Deivi García, left-hander Jordan Montgomery, Kluber and Taillon.