Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The Yankees enter the 2019-20 offseason looking to add to a team that came up just short of reaching the World Series this past season. They don't have many big decisions to make (more on that below), but have been both first and second-guessed about their continued lack of reliable ace-level starting pitching.
With Gerrit Cole about to hit the free agent market (the Yanks are expected to at least try to sign him) and other enticing starting pitching options expected to be available, the Yanks have a chance to drastically improve their rotation.
As they look to improve, the Yanks already have a lot committed to payroll for 2020 -- a number that will likely hover right around the luxury tax threshold. Their payroll obligations drop significantly starting in 2021. Here'a a deep dive...
SALARY ALREADY COMMITTED FOR 2020
The Yankees already have $154.6 million committed to payroll for the 2020 season, per Cot's Baseball Contracts.
That includes $26 million owed to Giancarlo Stanton (under contract through 2028), $23 million owed to Masahiro Tanaka, and $21.1 million owed to Jacoby Ellsbury
2020 is the final year of Tanaka's deal and it's also the final year of Ellsbury's deal. The Yanks have an option on Ellsbury for 2021 that contains a $5 million buyout. Cashman spoke about Ellsbury on Thursday during the Yankees' end-of-season news conferences, and suggested -- unsurprisingly -- that the team is not counting on anything from him next season.
In addition to the $154.6 million the Yanks already have committed to payroll for 2020 (that will change if Aroldis Chapman opts out of the final two years of his contract), they will also be handing out raises via arbitration -- with some of those raises being substantial...
EXPECTED ARBITRATION RAISES FOR 2020
The Yanks will have up to 12 arbitration-eligible players for 2020.
Of those players, it seems all but certain (barring trades) that they will be tendering contracts to and thus giving out raises to eight of them: James Paxton, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Tommy Kahnle, Gio Urshela, Chad Green, Jordan Montgomery, and Luis Cessa.
When you combine the expected salaries for the above players, you get $33.8 million. Add that to the $154.6 million the Yankees already have committed to payroll for 2020 and you get $188.4 million.
The luxury tax threshold for 2020 is $208 million.
POTENTIAL QUALIFYING OFFERS
Of all of the Yankees' pending free agents, the only one they are likely to consider extending a qualifying offer to is Didi Gregorius.
However, Gregorius struggled badly in 2019 after returning from Tommy John surgery. And the Yanks have Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu, and Miguel Andujar under contract for the 2020 season. So extending a qualifying offer to Gregorius shouldn't be viewed as a slam dunk.
If New York extends a qualifying offer to Gregorius and he accepts, they will be on the hook for roughly $18 million on a one-year deal for 2020. If they extend the qualifying offer and he rejects, they will receive a compensatory pick in the 2020 MLB Draft.
POTENTIAL EXTENSIONS TO 0-TO-3 PLAYERS AND/OR ARBITRATION PLAYERS
The Yanks locked up some of their young talent before the 2019 season, agreeing to extensions with Luis Severino and Aaron Hicks.
The early returns on the above deals weren't great (Severino missed most of the season due to injury, and Hicks is about to undergo Tommy John surgery), but that shouldn't preclude them from exploring the same kind of deals with some of their other young talent.
Among the players it could make sense for the Yanks to consider extensions for: Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Chad Green, who are all entering their first season of arbitration.
There is also the potential of engaging James Paxton in extension talks. He is set to hit free agency after the 2020 season.
PAYROLL SITUATION IN 2021 AND BEYOND
While the Yanks might have to do a bit of a dance in 2020 in order to not eclipse the luxury tax threshold, their payroll situation clears up a lot starting in 2021.
As things currently stand, New York has just $94.7 million committed to payroll in 2021. That number drops to $51.2 million in 2022, $45.5 million in 2023, and $41.7 million in 2024.
For 2020 specifically, the Yanks should have room to add any starting pitcher not named Gerrit Cole. If they sign Cole, though (he's expected to command at least $33 million per season), they would likely want to back-load or middle-load the deal to blunt its impact on the 2020 payroll.
Overall, though, the Yanks are in very good shape payroll-wise going forward.