Ever since George Steinbrenner died in 2010, the Yankees have taken an economical approach towards running the organization by lowering the payroll and avoiding to spend more than the $189 Million luxury tax threshold. The Yankees took their economical spending a step further this offseason when they vowed they wouldn’t sign anyone off the free agent market, and they would make additions by trade. So far the Yankees have kept true to their word by trading for outfielder Aaron Hicks, infielder Starlin Castro and closer Aroldis Chapman. While many tempting free agent options came off the board this offseason, are the Yankees honestly holding onto this approach for the long run or are they spending economically now so they can have the money for big name free agents in the future?
There are plenty of names on the Yankees roster slated to come off the books at the end of this season (Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and Ivan Nova) and in 2017 (ex. CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez). Brett Gardner and Brian McCann are slated to be free agents in 2018 (or 2019 if their options are picked up), and Jacoby Ellsbury is slated to be a free agent in 2020 (or 2021 if the Yankees pick up his option). And with all that money coming off payroll, it couldn’t happen at a better time, because if there’s one potential free agent class the Yankees have their eyes on, it’s the free agent class of 2018-19.
Almost every big star name is slated to become a free agent prior to the 2019 season: Bryce Harper, Josh Donaldson, Matt Harvey, Andrew McCutchen, Jason Heyward, Dallas Keuchel, David Price, Jose Fernandez, Manny Machado and Clayton Kershaw. And while the Yankees are frugal now, they could surprise everyone and be the big spending team they were prior to George Steinbrenner’s death by signing a few of these big names.
It’s understandably frustrating to see big name free agents come off the board all while the Yankees twiddle their thumbs and stand pat. But if it leads to the Yankees going on a spending spree in 2018, then the organization could be easily forgiven…especially if we somehow see Bryce Harper in his prime donning Yankees pinstripes. That’s not too much to ask, right?