The New York Yankees were previously known for being big spenders in the free agent market.
Now, the Yankees are going to be thrifty spenders with hopes of getting underneath the $197 Million luxury tax in 2018.
“We will put money back into the club like we always do,” Yanks owner Hal Steinbrenner told reporters on Thursday. “But I think the threshold is a good payroll. I don’t think any team should have to be more than that to win a championship.”
Steinbrenner also reiterated four times that he wasn’t going to sell the Yankees, as he hopes to keep the business within the family.
In the past, the Yankees were either ‘World Series or bust’. With the realistic state of the team, Steinbrenner took the ‘World Series or bust’ card off the table, and admitted that he would be happy with just a trip to the playoffs.
The Yankees clearly have the players to compete in the postseason. The team is attempting a new approach this season by having a healthy mix of veterans and kids, versus relying on all veterans to carry them throughout the year. Homegrown players such as Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge and Greg Bird all figure to have starting jobs with the Yankees this season–that is if Judge and Bird can win the right field and first base job out of Spring Training.
The team prioritized going under the luxury tax before 2018, especially since the 2018 free agent class is expected to be one of the best in recent years. If the Yankees play their cards right, they could have Bryce Harper or even Manny Machado in pinstripes by 2019.
CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez‘s contracts come off the books after the 2017 season. And the team tried enticing buyers for Chase Headley and to a lesser extent Brett Gardner. The Yankees opted to keep Headley and Gardner for the 2017 season and will reassess where they are by the trade deadline on July 31st.
The luxury tax for the 2017 season is $195 Million, but the team already has $184 Million committed to 17 players. That means they have a long way to go before they’re safely under payroll and no longer have to pay a luxury tax.