It has been a longstanding policy that the Yankees do not offer contract extensions before a player’s old deal is up, but Brian Cashman told reporters on Sunday that they are considering breaking that policy and will discuss extensions with Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson this winter.
The Yankees are trying to get their payroll under $189 million by 2014, when the new collective bargaining agreement makes luxury tax penalties significantly more harsh. Cano and Granderson represent the two best players in their lineup and are both set to become free agents before the 2014 season.
Extending their contracts now gives the Yankees two benefits. First, it would give them a better idea of what the payroll will actually look like which would help them plan for the rest of the roster. It would also provide a benefit of slightly lowering the average annual value of their deals which would count as less toward the tax figure.
The Yankees currently have just three players under contract for 2014, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and CC Sabathia, for a cap hit of $74.4 million plus Derek Jeter‘s player option which is worth $8 million. Throw in another $10 million for 40-man roster benefits and the Yankees have just about $96.6 left to spend on their roster. Considering Cano and Granderson could each fetch up to $20 million or more each on the open market the Yankees have to be smart in the way they construct the rest of the roster.
That means they have to be creative with contract extensions to bring the AAV down a bit and it also means that they need to avoid paying for past performance. Especially with Granderson, who will be 33 by 2014, the Yankees need to know now what these guys are going to expect and go in a different direction if it is unfeasible. That’s why they are willing to break policy.