Are the economical Yankees prepping to make a big splash in 2018?

Brian Cashman 5

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?

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43 Responses to Are the economical Yankees prepping to make a big splash in 2018?

  1. Celerino says:

    The payroll is projected to be 230 million, or 20 million higher than 2010, and they have never come close to being under the cap, so your firs point is incorrect. I also have to disagree with your last point. I don't think trading for Starlin Castro and Aroldis Chapman qualifies as twiddling their thumbs and standing pat. Half the names you listed will be 33 or so and looking for seven year deals, so I'm not going to get excited by them. They continue to spend, just not on seven year sucker deals. I remember a few years ago, Rob was opposed to them signing McCann and Ellsbury. I disagreed with him then, but in the end he was right. I prefer the course they are on now. A young farm and trade built team is more likely to produce champions than signing the next big free agent.

    • captnclock says:

      Why don't u all stop this speculation about what may be and be happy with what is the Yankees now. Every body wants to spend the Yankees money. No one team should win the World Series every year. Just enjoy baseball now and leave the future to future. Go yanks.

    • mosc says:

      I don't think the McCann signing was a mistake and Ellsbury's got a lot of years left. Too early to concede there either. He started 2015 very well. The only signing I really disagreed with is Beltran. He can't play the outfield and the yankees have too many DH options, even back in 2014.

  2. jimmy1982 says:

    no offense, but this would fall under my "who knows & who cares" category. whatever the yankees are prepared to do in 2018 is something of less importance to me than what they're prepared to do this year——-which is to not win again. i love your characterization of the signings of castro and chapman as "twiddling their thumbs" because, to me, theyre just so much window dressing to keep yankees fans happy. the signings are actually an irrelevancy, rendered moot by the fact that they didnt go and get what they needed most——a right-handed power stick. the hal kool-aid drinkers will point to the signings and say, "see, hals willing to spend!" i point to them and say," so what? if youre not in it to win it, then why bother?" we already HAD a good 7-8-9 bullpen before chapman, so unless hes prepared to pitch the 6th and 7th innings, what really IS the difference between truly unhittable (this year) vs. almost unhittable) last year? you still have to have the lead right to hand the ball over to any of them? i dont see castro as the addition that wouldve put us over the top in the wild card game vs. the astros. now maybe you say what about tex? what indeed? are you going to take your money, run to vegas, and lay it down on tex, or for that matter, arod or beltran staying healthy? didnt think so. the signing of a cespedes wouldve provided insurance against that. but hal sat it out. just not in it to win it. but boy 2019 sure looks good!

    • Jack says:

      Agree with you. Yankee fans are being hood winked by the bean counter Hal , arrogant Cashman and clueless Joe. The Yankee motto World Series or bust is dead .

    • Celerino says:

      I wouldn't say What about Tex, because Bird was just as good. I'm also glad the World Series or bust days are over, because it always means bust. The teams that win world championships are young and built from the farm. Should they have signed Cespedes? Maybe. Perhaps he would have repeated his career year or perhaps he would have repeated his year from 2014, when the difference between him and Gardner was 1 homer and 4 points in average and not as good a glove. Would that have been worth $25 million a year and a draft pick?

      • hotdog says:

        i like Gardner but Cespedes is an incredible talent…he's just not a guarantee and by that I mean that there's some inconsistency with his game…sometimes he looks like the best player on Earth and then you have a period which he had with the Mets towards the last weeks and into the playoffs where he couldn't hit anything…still, he's better than Gardner, possibly not worth the money but the Mets made it a short deal, 3 years…the Mets need him if they are to repeat in 2016 and they got him…an opt out isn't so bad…Yankees need more than just Cespedes for the 2016 season, they need a longer term commitment than 1 year and a starter would have been more effective…got to hope Kaplerian (sp?) moves quickly through the system and possible gets some starts in 2017…

      • Jerry says:

        No draft pick, but I'm pretty much in line with most of your thinking, except it seems like another bat would have really helped and if it was Cespedes, that would have been within the parameters of what they are trying to accomplish. Potentially just a one year deal. As for obtaining Castro and Chapman, an all-star 2 nd baseman and the best closer in baseball, most teams would love deals like those. I like the direction the Yankees are heading in and they are not done.

  3. hotdog says:

    i think at issue is how the Yankees can hold off adding key players until the 2019 season…sure, Chapman is big but he's a 1 year rental…Castro may or may not produce but we had to given up Adam Warren…the 2016 squad is not a bad team at all but to wait three seasons until they can begin to add some big names will keep this team on the fringes of making the playoffs until 2019 at the earliest and likely beyond that…i like Judge, Mateo, Bird and Sanchez but the odds of two of them making it as a regular isn't great…only one of our Killer B's still stands and the idea of a core four, the likes of Jeter, Posada, Rivera and Pettitte just is not going to happen and may only happen once in a lifetime…so yes, develop these players, give them a fair shot in the bigs but realize the future of this team has to rely on taking advantage of their resources which at the end of the day is all about the money…the Yankees will never be the KC Royals or the Houston Astros, they shouldn't need to wait until preparing for the 2019 season to make a splash…

    • Celerino says:

      We had a core four because we kept them. George wanted Felix Fermin to be the shortstop in 1996 and he would have cost us Mariano. Betances emerged two years ago. Bird and Severino last year. Sanchez is getting a shot this year, Judge probably next year. Supplement them with trades for guys like Castro, Gregorius, and Eovaldi. They won 87 games and scored the second most runs last year and upgraded the worst hitter. They are on the right track and its not going to take until 2019 to see results.

      • hotdog says:

        i'm not advocating that we trade our top prospects to make room for a new slew of superstars but the teams success since the 90's centered around homegrown and big names…Castro and Gregorius are good ballplayers but you need the stars who can hit .300 and/or drive in 100 in the lineup as well…Eovaldi learned a new pitch late last year and maybe he can win 14 or more again even with less run support but you still need a couple guys that can dominate a game and win 17-20…will that be Severino, maybe but the best Yankee teams went out and secured players like David Cone, David Wells, Doc Gooden, Jimmy Key and Mike Mussina…you need to have both homegrown and big names through trade and free agency…the Yankees won 87 games in 2015 and they played below .500 from August 1st on…now if Arod and Tex repeat results of their 2015 season, Gardner and Ellsbury start hitting again, Castro becomes the all-star type player he once was, Headley improves defensively and Beltran continues to produce and our starters maintain decent health records, we'll be fine but as far as dominating the A.L. again, that will have to wait until the green light goes on…if the Yankees were too cost conscious years ago and relied on small trades and primarily their prospects, they might be looking for #23 not #28…Castro, Gregorius and Eovaldi may be decent players but a team needs to supplement with top talent…the Yankees are on a track without any doubt and I hope it works out but it does not have to be at the exclusion of free agent signings…when Red Sox fans complained about the Yankees spending money I'd often say, "what are they suppose to do with their profits, they reinvest"…so what are they doing now…

  4. Nunzio says:

    The yankees under past seasons would sign free agents as fast as they could get one….. The way the team is structured under Hal and company 2017 will be a money year for them, they will know where Bird, Judge, Castro and the left side of the infield are at, the pitching staff will always be suspect and of course as 2017 approaches we will know more, trades will be a bigger option than taking on ridiculous free agent contracts….. the Yankee farm is getting stronger and will be trade ready to make deals, the yankees always love to get experienced pitchers that are in there thirties and are always willing to sell young for old, especially now as the farm is growing….2017 will have many new arrivals and let's hope there not over stuffed free agent heavy ended contacts……we need to stay young and develope if we want long term results.

    • hotdog says:

      good points Nunzio…i think Cashman wants to find a young talented controllable pitcher and is more leery about signing older guys to mid-long term contracts…at one point there was a thought about trading Gardner and Miller to the Mets in exchange for Zach Wheeler, it was just a proposal made by a writer but it speaks to the difficulty in finding a young talented pitcher via trade…and Wheeler probably would not have been worth it…i think the best way to get these pitchers is probably via trade at the trade deadline…who knows, maybe we'll have some excess at the trade deadline…if they really want to trade Gardner, they'll have to hope he plays well and maybe they'll move him for a young talented pitching prospect…no one is going to do that right now…

    • Jerry says:

      And let's not forget all the Cuban players and other amateur players they signed just a couple of years ago. There were about 40 players in all and very young, so it will take some time for them to grow ,but potentially some studs in there.

  5. Brooklyn joe says:

    Who says they're waiting for the 2019 season, Castro is a solid young player and fills a necessary void at second, Bird,Castro, and Didi form a core of good young affordable players for years to come. We all complain about lack of home grown position players,why sign an expensive bat and block Judge from making a contribution by the end of the season. Major money comes off the books for 2017 and additions will be made with who knows maybe Harper and Harvey on their way by 2019 ,and if you think Wilson is as good as Chapman you're living in Disney land . Remember times have changed and the old ways of doing business don't exist anymore you must have a core of good young players to start with, Cashman knows what he is doing that's why he's the GM.

  6. jimmy1982 says:

    all good points above. my point is the yankees have a good team now; i feel they couldve had a REALLY good team had they jumped in on cespedes. for all the talk about their starting pitching, even after the injury bug last year, they had a lower era than the royals starters and 3 less wins. ill take that. again, (and again and again…0 i didnt watch the wild card game and think to myself, "boy, our pitching really sucks." no, i was thinking " boy our hitting really sucks." now, if anyones gonna say, "well, we missed tex." of course. but you're proving my point. he's one year older; willing to bet he'll be healthy at the end of this one? how bout arod? or beltran? same problem different year. and for everyone who says, " well lets go with the young kids" you know signing an of doesnt stop judge from comin up right? in that scenario, you couldve traded gardner, and beltran's gone after this year anyway. so i dont get this line of argument.

    • Brooklyn joe says:

      Beltran was probably our best position player last year and only reliable bat by the end of the year so let's hope he can stay healthy, yeh Tex's absence was a big deal at the end last year when he got hurt we became exposed to lefty starters, but Castro, Hicks, and Sanchez with a healthy Tex and rested Arod will help correct that, if Castro can play third that 25 th spot can be rotated as needed giving these a rest and hopefully preventing injury, if someone does get hurt we have options at almost every position something we haven't had in years.

      • hotdog says:

        you're right about Beltran, he came through for us but Tex was in a deep slump well before he went down and Bird covered for him…you might even say that given Tex's slump, Bird was a key in getting us a wild card…Tex might of hamstrung the team…Tex is one of my favorites but he'll need enough rest in 2016 to keep his bones from falling apart…

      • mosc says:

        Beltran is not a position player anymore he's a DH. He hits well but putting him in right ruined any positive value his bat could ever bring the yankees.

  7. Marshall says:

    You are all missing the point. Joe G stinks as a manager. His conservative way of managing is horrible. Let's be more aggressive.

    • hotdog says:

      he's no Joe Torre but he's done a great job patching bullpens together since 2009…

    • mosc says:

      What exactly does the manager do? He doesn't make the roster. He makes the lineups, which are largely pre-determined. What he does have to do is utilize his pitching staff effectively. Time and time again he's shown that he's the best in the league at managing relievers. The yankees have had above average pitching the past 2 seasons through a mess of players and their highest paid pitcher being an albatross. Give the man some credit.

      • Your first question says it all about Girardi. What does he really do. He must be oblivious to how his players are trending as he continues to play the same lineup regardless. He has been blessed with quality relievers so I give him zero credit there especially how he used Betances. You can give him all the credit you want. To me he is the weak link in the chain.

        • hotdog says:

          I've never been a Joe Girardi fan but look at the team that's being put on the field…the team is in-between here and there…Cashman's making trades but Hal has pretty much suspended free agent spending…it used to be that the team had an all-star at every position, now we may not have an all-star at any position besides our bullpen…i'd say that if Girardi repeats an 87 win season, he's gone above and beyond my expectations…this team is in a transition which may last a while…i'd say that if there was a weak link, you can make the case that Hal Steinbrenner is it…

  8. Donnie Passmore says:

    Looks like goal is to finish 2017 under new salary threshold.

    It should be at least $200 million. That means free agents can be signed without a penalty for the 2018 season. Then if over only 15% as current contact states. Meaning Trout, Harper, Harvey, etc could be in pinstripes for the 2018 season.

    • hotdog says:

      that would all make sense but the Yankees can easily get outbid and do they really want to add serious payroll…maybe Hal is looking at a different way of keeping the Yankees profitable…what that is, i have no idea but he may be asking Cashman to do the job of a magician…

    • by9 says:

      These guys are all available after the 18 season, so 2019 at the earlies

  9. jimmy1982 says:

    good analogy hot dog———except hal wont buy the hat or the rabbit for cashman's show…..lol

  10. Paul says:

    These are not the great Yankees of the past.. When the Yankees moved from the old Yankee stadium they left their souls behind… We're located on Wall Street.. It's all the bottom line now.. No longer winning the World Series unacceptable.. Just being Competative is! The Boss is turning over in his Grave! The Stadium is an illusion.. A small replica of the house that Ruth built and so are these Yankees.. Wait until 2018/ 2019???? You wait.. Ticket prices, parking and concessions in the stratosphere! Welcome to the Wall Street Yankees!

    • Brooklyn joe says:

      The Yanks have the second highest payroll in all of baseball, why would you think they have changed their winning mentality, the truth is we're at the tail end of several large contracts with players that we signed 7-10 years ago who have gotten old and injury prone, that's what age does,I didn't hear any complaints when we signed these guys, unfortunately the extensions became necessary to keep these guys here,how many teams would have went that far? With the salary structure we have now Cash is trying to get it done with trades, I doubt any Gm could be doing it better, these Yankees are still and always be from the Bronx not Wall Street!

      • hotdog says:

        our aging ballplayer did very well for us last year, guys like Arod, Tex and Beltran…even Sabathia had his moments…i think aging ballplayers or the money owed to them is just one of the reasons why the Yankees were the only team in baseball to not add a player via free agency this year…i agree about Cashman, he's attempted to upgrade the team with both hands tied behind his back…

  11. Paul says:

    Sorry… Keep Drinking the KoolAide they're handing you.. Poor decisions on Yankee management stopped Sabathia and ARod from opting out..I for one can no longer afford to take my family to the games… Yes I am spoiled … The great Yankee teams were built by Watson and Michaels.. Not Cashman! A mix of great additions and the Core Four is what put the Championship teams on the field … I don't want to hear about their luxury tax problems I want a winner on the field… They're swimming in cash.. When was the last time you attended a game ? Did you have to take out a second mortgage to take your family? Maybe you work on Wall Street.. But the game should be available to the people that live and work on Main Street.. When the kids can't afford to pay to watch on TV or attend games that is what needs to be fixed. George Knew what the Yankees meant to the fans of NY… Losing was unacceptable… He made mistakes but his heart wasn't a spread sheet! He loved the Yankees and was their leader!

    • So happy the Yankees re-signed A-Rod after he opted out. Obviously, they paid too much and bid against themselves in the process, but I'd much rather remember fondly the 2009 season instead of wondering why the Yankees haven't won a world series in 16 years.

    • hotdog says:

      i'm not sure they were bad decision as opposed to decisions that didn't pan out long term which is consistent with most long term contracts…you're paying for their services knowing that there will be a decline…at the time signing Arod who was still one of the best players in baseball wasn't a bad decision imo…Sabathia was our ace and it was assumed he still had many years in front of him to make good on his contract…as Rob mentioned, where would the Yankees of been without Arod and Sabathia in 2009…these two were big parts of helping the team make the playoffs in other years as well…and Arod was one of our most productive hitters in 2015 while Sabathia had some very good outings in the 2nd half but you can't know when velocity will decline nor could you anticipate CC would become an alcoholic at the time he was signed…as far as ticket prices, there are still ticket prices within reason but box seats become difficult to afford…i got a pretty big discount on box seats for my family on StubHub…try looking at their website for games against the Rays maybe or Twins and A's…if you want box seats at a discount for the Red Sox games, you won't find them…

    • Ken Hans says:

      Paul you are absolutely correct. I just gave up my season tickets since Hal won't spend money I decided to do the same. I have two tickets and each game would cost me about $400 dollars a game including the tickets and concession stand fees and parking fees. Hal only cares about pocketing the money and you're dead on concerning Ashman, he hasn't drafted one top flight pitcher or top flight player and people before you make asses of yourself with comments like Severino a stud in the making, he wasn't drafted he signed an international FA contract. There are some players in the pipe line who could be decent but thats what they said about Joba and Banuello's and Brackman and so on and so forth.

  12. YankeezFan says:

    I think the article forgets to mention that half of those potential FA's coming available in 2019, might sign extension with their existing teams, as they are marquee players with those teams. Harper, McCuthchen, Keutchel, Kershaw and Machado are probably going to sign extensions so even though those players would look good in Yankee uniforms we are seeing more star players resign with their existing clubs. So maybe waiting will not provide the fans and the Yankees with the FA's that were available this year. 2017 & 2018 are going to be weak FA years so teams will have a lot of money to spend in 3 years and more franchises are signing lucrative tv deals every other year it seems. Get ready to see 30M per year as the norm as Trout's salary will be around 34M$ per and agents will probably use that as a measuring stick.

    • hotdog says:

      was thinking the same thing…with teams signing players to extensions, a lot of stiff competition for marquee free agents and the Yankees new financial conservatism, it's unlikely that the Yankees will make as big a splash as some fans expect…in many ways, the Yankees would be better off moving guys before the trade deadline and stocking up on some decent young talent…if they make a strong showing by mid-July I would scrap the idea but someone might just give up a #1 prospect for a Arnoldis Chapman rental if they're floundering…with our present squad, it's tough to say where they'll be by mid-July but the opportunity may avail itself to bring in some very good young talent if they opt to trade away some pieces…

  13. Ken Hans says:

    Guy's this is purely Hal adding more money into his pockets. George was in this to win it every year, Hal cares about counting the Benjamin's. He sold more then half of the YES network to Rupert Murdoch and for someone that claims to be a financial genius he sure doesn't take into account that when this team doesn't win fans don't come to the stadium or buy merchandise that he makes money on from licensing agreements. People don't watch TV so Murdoch doesn't make as much revenue from his commercials and the cycle repeats itself.

    He has a 3.2 billion dollar business that he treats like a happy meal at McDonalds. When the Mets outspend you in the off season and have a better team overall you can sure bet that a real owner would make sure his team was the toast of the town. Well actually the Yanks are toast until Hal sells to an owner that cares.

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