Yankees consider breaking policy to extend Cano and Granderson

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.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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7 Responses to Yankees consider breaking policy to extend Cano and Granderson

  1. walter says:

    These payroll numbers show just how important it is for Yanks to mix in some cheap young homegrowns on the 2014 roster. And yet Cashman seems to opt for the grizzled (or released) veteran over young blood every time.

    Not to reopen the Phelps/Garcia can of worms, but this seems to be part of larger pattern. Why hasn't Mustelier been promoted? Seems to me he could be part of post-Swish solution in outfield? Why is David Adams still in AA? Shouldn't Abe and Zoilo Almonte also be considered? Obviously, Yanks should not be rushing prospects just to ready them for 2014. But I would certainly like to see some evidence that they are planning and grooming half dozen or more current minor leaguers for useful contributions at ML level by then. All of those mentioned above — plus Mitchell, Banuelos, JR Murphy and maybe even Mason Williams should be at least in mix, I would think. All the talk of trading for more high-priced veterans seems like idle distraction from what should be prime focus right now in player development.

    • Garcia is actually a big part of how the Yankees are preparing for the future. Last season, and this one, the Yankees have chosen to go with guy like that instead of the big name free agents. Like you said, you don't just want to rush guys for the sake of rushing them, but you don't want to block them either. So they have stayed away from guys like CJ Wilson, Yu Darvish, and Mark Buehrle who in the past would have been typical targets, but would have cost a ton and blocked Banuelos, Mitchell, Hensley and the likes. Instead, Cashman has focused on developing players while signing veterans to short term contracts until those prospects are ready.

      • uyf1950 says:

        Freddy and his $4MM guaranteed contract plus incentives of $1.5MM (which he has no way of reaching) probably won't be renewed for 2013. His replacement if he doesn't start next season is probably Phelps at league minimum plus or minus that about a $4MM savings. The Yankees rotation next year could easily be: CC, Nova, Hughes, Pineda, Phelps and perhaps even Pettitte if he decides to give it another year. The Bullpen: Mo (at a reduced salary from his current $15MM), Soriano, Robertson, Joba, Logan possible Aardsma or even Cabral if he's still around and 1 or 2 other low cost players. The rotation and bullpen next season will be a lot less expensive then this year.

  2. uyf1950 says:

    Granted I'm far from an expert but when I look at the numbers for the Yankees to have any chance of getting to the $189MM luxury tax threshold for 2014 Swisher and Martin have to go. The Yankees won't be able to afford the approximately $15MM plus per season Swisher will command with a new deal. I would suggest a trade for Justin Upton who is under contract through 2015 at an AAV of just over $8MM per. As for the catching situation in 2013 the Yankees just need to bite the bullet and go for some combination of: Stewart/Cervelli/Romine. Defensively Stewart is not that much different than Martin and as for offense does it really matter because Martin has stunk. Lastly the Yankees need Pineda to be the pitcher in 2013 they thought he could be and cut ties with Kuroda that's a $10MM savings right there. The way I see it those savings in total could amount to over $30MM for the 2013 season for the Yankees.

    • That's pretty much the situation. I expect that Kuroda, and possibly even Pettitte, will be back for 2013 though. They will both probably sign 1-year deals that won't effect 2014 at all.

      • uyf1950 says:

        I can possibly see one or the other but not both unless Pineda suffers some sort of setback(s) during his recovery. I really think the Yankees want to give Phelps a shot at starting in 2013 and the only way to do that is NOT to renew both Kuroda and Pettitte.

  3. John Malt says:

    These payroll numbers indeed show that Yankees is afraid of change. I know it's a risk doing that but they should consider more options.

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