$20-Million

The Yankees had eight arbitration cases and they settled all of them. From Chasen Shreve getting 800k to Didi getting ten-times that, the payroll is ow set. The final number is a little over $20-million under the luxury tax threshold.

So what happens now? Barring another trade of salary, the Yankees probably only want to spend a portion of that figure. They will want to leave room for possible in-season trades. That probably means they won’t be players for any of the big name free agents. Remember that it is the annual average value of a contract that is used for luxury tax calculations, so signing a player and backloading the contract doesn’t make a difference. I suspect it will allow Todd Frazier to return on a one-year deal if he is agreeable to that.

Five Weeks

After two weeks of brutal cold here in the Northeast, I hope it warms you a bit to know that we are just thirty-five days away from pitchers and catchers starting their workouts. And that should mean the “hot”stove will finally switch on and all these free agents will find homes, right? I wouldn’t count on it.

While I remember years where top free agents waited until the new year to sign, I can’t remember a year with so many unsigned in January. It depends which list you use, but generally out of the top-50 free agents, less than 20 have been signed at this point. Technically, the biggest contract in dollars was Justin Upton who chose not to opt-out of his current four-year/$88-million deal with the addition of one year at $18-million. It counts as an $106-million deal, but really isn’t. Carlos Sanatan’s three-year/$60-million deal with the Phillies is currently the biggest in dollars and AAV.

At this point, management has time on its side. Smart teams are going to wait and see if the market will come to them. I suspect guys like Hosmer will still get big paydays, but a lot of guys are going to have to scramble to find a job and take one-year deals.

For the Yankees, patience is perfect. There is no point in giving up prospects for a starting pitcher when there are many pitchers out there on the market. Likewise, it make sense to watch the infield market and see if a one-year bargain falls in your lap before spring training. The only trade I would want to see them make at this time would be a salary dump of Ellsbury. If the market suddenly picks up, go back to discussing trades, but don’t give up three good prospects for Gerrit Cole.