Analyzing The Yankees’ 2021 Payroll Scenario

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By TC Zencka | October 17, 2020 at 7:10pm CDTThe Yankees 2020 season was a hit by most measures – apart from the 2nd-place end behind Tampa Bay. The Rays took them out within the postseason as properly, which was significantly galling with a payroll that (for a full season) floated round $265MM. The Rays, in contrast, fielded a payroll of round $73MM. Versus the outdated days, when the Yankees division rivalry with the Pink Sox would possibly immediate a spending spree to place them excessive, the Rays pose a brand new form of menace. The Yankees can not delude themselves into pondering their loss in 2020 has something in any respect to do with cash. The Yankees need to discover the potential for doing extra with much less.
If there’s a mannequin for the Yankees to imitate, it’s the Dodgers extra so than the Rays. Although, contemplating that Andrew Friedman – the architect of those Dodgers – got here from the Rays, one may argue that modeling oneself after the Dodgers is mimicking the Rays. The Yankees – lest we neglect – aren’t any slouches themselves in the case of roster building. In addition to, it’s not any simpler to change into the Rays in a single day than it’s to change into the Yankees in a single day. Nonetheless, indicators level to the Yankees going through a dramatic reduce in payroll, per Joel Sherman of the New York Submit.
Sherman suggests the Yankees will wish to keep away from exceeding the $210MM luxurious tax line, which suggests taking a major step again payroll-wise. Making it simpler for GM Brian Cashman might be a complete slew of contracts coming off the books: James Paxton ($12.5MM), Masahiro Tanaka ($23MM), DJ LeMahieu ($12MM), J.A. Happ ($17MM), Jacoby Ellsbury ($5MM), and Brett Gardner ($7.5MM).
Taking into consideration potential arbitration raises, Sherman pegs the Yankees present 2021 payroll to be round $171MM, which leaves most likely a bit greater than $30MM in payroll house if the Yankees do intend to remain south of the luxurious tax line. Non-tendering or buying and selling Gary Sanchez would save $5MM, however they would want to fill his roster spot in that case.
In any other case, they want a center infielder – or to carry LeMahieu again. If LeMeahieu leaves, they may discover the potential for discovering a glove-first shortstop to shore up the protection whereas shifting Gleyber Torres to second. Whereas it’s not enjoyable to  think about the potential for shedding LeMahieu, they may most likely face up to his departure, particularly with Clint Frazier wanting like a viable beginning outfielder. To not diminish LeMahieu’s significance – he’s the batting champ, in spite of everything – however the Yankees would in any other case return most of a crew that scored the 4th-most runs within the majors in 2020.
As a lot because the Yankees like LeMahieu, they’ve higher want within the rotation – and the cash crunch is actual. If Tanaka had been to, say, settle for a qualifying provide, their obtainable cash will get reduce in half fairly rapidly. LeMahieu, in the meantime, is a contract that nets him $20MM per season, if MLBTR readers are to be believed.
Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino, Deivi Garcia, Jordan Montgomery, Clarke Schmidt, and Domingo German supplies supervisor Aaron Boone with a greater group of rotation arms than many groups have, however they’re largely unproven (or coming off misplaced seasons within the case of Severino/German). Particularly returning to a full 162-game season, depth is essential within the rotation, a lesson Yankees’ followers know properly. With none additions, the Yankees would lean closely on Cole for the second consecutive season. Pretty much as good as he was this yr, he can’t win a pennant all his personal.
All that mentioned, there may very well be some actual bargains on the free agent market this winter. It’s an offseason not like any we’ve ever seen earlier than. With groups planning to chop payroll virtually throughout the board due to the income losses brought on by the pandemic, it’s onerous to pinpoint any particular membership that’s undoubtedly going to spend huge cash. New York may discover shifting a few of their dedicated cash – just like the $13MM owed to Zack Britton and his 1.89 ERA in his last season on the books – however once more, given the income losses all throughout baseball, there aren’t more likely to be quite a lot of locations to dump payroll.

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