New York Yankees Setting Sights On The Winter Of 2018


While the Yankees haven’t made the big free agent signings this year, it could all change a couple of years from now. 

Even though the New York Yankees have made one splash this offseason when they traded Adam Warren to the Cubs in exchange for Starlin Castroit hasn’t been the spending spree of years past where New York has dominated the headlines with their free agent signings. The Yankees have stuck to their plan of relying on an improved farm system and getting their payroll down below the luxury tax threshold.

One year they might have in mind where they can spend the big bucks again is after the 2018 season. As Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports talked about on Saturday, the 2018 free agent class is loaded with superstar players such as Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Andrew McCutchen, Clayton Kershaw, Matt Harvey, and Jose Fernandez just to name a few.

As Passan points out, the Yankees’ payroll after the 2018 season is expected to be at $57.5 million, so it will allow Hal Steinbrenner and the front office to spend more money during that free agent period. However, some teams like the Philadelphia Phillies, are projected to have no money on their payroll.

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Of course, all eyes right now are on Bryce Harper after the MVP season that he had in 2015 for the Washington Nationals. With his agent being Scott Boras, Harper is not likely to sign an extension before he becomes a free agent, but you never know what can happen. Before Harper was drafted, he told Sports Illustrated as a 16-year-old about how his career goal was to play in pinstripes:

"“Be in the Hall of Fame, definitely. Play in Yankee Stadium. Play in the pinstripes. Be considered the greatest baseball player who ever lived. I can’t wait,” he told the magazine (h/t Murti, WFAN)"

As I thought about what might happen in 2018, it does explain why Jason Heyward put an opt-out clause in his deal with the Cubs, but it also got me thinking about what the NBA had recently with its free agent frenzy.When LeBron James was a free agent the first time around (when he had “The Decision” to go to South Beach), he had all the teams come to him and persuade him with presentations to join their team. To add a New York theme, Carmelo Anthony went on his tour two summers ago and signs were outside the arena welcoming him to their city.

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I can only imagine what Harper’s recruitment tour will be like with almost everyone in the league having the resources to sign him with these new TV deals and with a $400 million contract likely, if he stays healthy. However, even if Harper doesn’t become a Yankee, there are many big time free agents that will get to go on tours of their own. Now, I will give the Yankees credit for trying to win while re-tooling their roster and becoming younger and more athletic. They won’t try to do what teams in the NBA do, which is tank games to get the number one pick and clear up cap space (no salary cap in baseball).

However, while teams have a long-term plan in place with that offseason in mind, it’s important to not have your countdown clocks to when the Yankees could sign Harper. A lot can change between now and the winter of 2018 and you will miss the moments that some of these talented prospects might have in the Bronx. With a new CBA in place, it will be interesting to see what the offseason of 2018 will have in store.