The six Yankees the rest of MLB will be watching closely

How many times have we all attended a high-end auction with the intention of bidding no more than $5 million on a desired item, got caught up in the moment and went all the way to $10 million, only to

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How many times have we all attended a high-end auction with the intention of bidding no more than $5 million on a desired item, got caught up in the moment and went all the way to $10 million, only to fall just short?

We feel a mixture of disappointment and relief afterwards, right?

Hence we can relate to the clubs that helped get Corey Kluber the stunning amount of $11 million from the Yankees to join them for the 2021 season. The Yankees didn’t bid against themselves. Kluber’s pre-2019 résumé, his sterling reputation as a teammate, his work with the ultra-respected Yankees director of player health and performance Eric Cressey and a great January bullpen session ran up the competition for his services in a manner that still surprises industry folks.

For that reason, the eyes of baseball will be on Kluber, who will turn 35 in a few weeks and who tallied a 5.56 ERA in 36 ²/₃ innings from 2019 through 2020, arguably more than any other Yankee. Did the Yankees, under some economic constraints (if far fewer than most), overcommit to a broken-down stud? Did they brilliantly capitalize on their superior room for error to land themselves a Game 2 starter for the postseason? To which of these extremes will reality wind up closer?

Here are five other Yankees who will be under the microscope by the rest of the industry:

Jameson Taillon

The R2-D2 to Kluber’s C-3PO, Taillon came aboard via a similar Yankees strategy of prioritizing upside over reliability. Even though he is coming off a second Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, Taillon, 29, drew strong interest on the trade market, just as Kluber did in free agency. The Yankees prevailed when they agreed to give the Pirates a quartet of interesting young players, including 2020 major leaguer Miguel Yajure.

A second Tommy John surgery produces fewer successes than just one procedure, and we often forget that not everyone makes it back from even the first one. Can Taillon give the Yankees two quality seasons before he reaches free agency?

Gary Sanchez

It’s the talented guys who garner external attention, and Sanchez’s raw tools still are not in question. A catcher who can hit and has displayed the ability to frame and (sufficiently) block pitches as well as control the running game, even if he hasn’t exhibited all of these skills simultaneously, gets attention the way an extremely tall basketball player does in the NBA (speaking of which, best wishes to Shawn Bradley, a nice man). If the 28-year-old Sanchez flames out with the Yankees this season, there’ll be multiple clubs wondering if they can buy low and effectively tap his talent.

Jameson Taillon, Gary Sanchez, Corey Kluber
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg (3)

Clint Frazier

Just as Dominican 16-year-olds who receive $3 million signing bonuses (as Sanchez did in 2009) will eternally draw eyes, if you get selected fifth overall in the amateur draft, as Frazier did by the Indians in 2013, then you’ll be followed. Throw in Frazier’s roller-coaster ride with the Yankees since joining them in the 2016 trade with Cleveland, his current upswing landing him the starting left-field job, and folks want to see how the 26-year-old capitalizes on his best opportunity to date.

Domingo German

Like everyone else on this list, the right-hander has performed well this spring, making himself a strong contender for the Yankees’ fifth starter job. His road back from a domestic-violence suspension differs from that of his predecessors because of how much time has missed (the 2020 coronavirus delay ensured that his 81-game suspension, which began in September 2019, went through the entirety of last season) as well as his teammates’ intimate knowledge of German’s offenses because he committed them around some of them, during the season, which compelled the 28-year-old to apologize to those teammates at the start of camp.

Brett Gardner

A bonus shout-out to the venerable Yankee, who always has been and remains highly respected around the game even as an alarming percentage of his own team’s fan base frowns upon his very existence. If this is it for the 37-year-old, will he go out on top (of the minds of other clubs’ evaluators)?

This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Ken Davidoff

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