Yankees Need to Stop Giving Out No-Trade Clauses


While it remains to be seen if the Yankees will be active via free agency this winter, the one thing they need not offer up are no-trade clauses to potential signees.

Although the Yankees bought out the final year of Alex Rodriguez‘s contract, and Mark Teixeira decided to call it a career, the club still leads all other Major League teams with the most players under contract who possess that pesky no-trade clause.

Those names include CC Sabathia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and Masahiro Tanaka.

While you’d be hard-pressed to find a taker for Ellsbury–you wouldn’t dare think of dealing away your only legitimate ace in Tanaka–Sabathia and McCann could bring about a decent sized return for a Yankees club now shying away from high-priced veteran type players.

Yet both have said they love playing in New York and hope to stay with the club for years to come (even though there is little to no chance the Yankees resign Sabathia after his contract expires next season).

Sabathia is a 10 and 5 guy, so clause or no clause, he’ll likely be in pinstripes for the duration of 2017. Besides, with the current dearth of quality rotation arms, the Yankees will actually need him to duplicate his 179.1 innings pitched in ’16.

As for McCann, the contract he signed back in 2014 was almost identical the one Russell Martin agreed upon a year later with the Blue Jays. So how is it that Toronto didn’t have to offer Martin a no-trade provision?

I’ll tell you why. Because Brian Cashman and the Yankees often fall prey into the pressures of doing all it takes to win the offseason, at least up until last winter, that is.

While it does appear shipping off Carlos Beltran, Aroldis Chapman, and Andrew Miller to restock the Minor League system with blue chip prospects is indeed a sign of the changing of the guard, I implore the organizational brass not to get swept up in the emotion of the impending free agency period and winter meetings.

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Of course, we all want our team to get better, even if it is incremental. But the Yankees have come so far so fast, in terms of looking towards the future–now is not the time to change course.

I honestly despise no-trade clauses. Does a player making upwards of $10MM per season, really deserve the right to veto his employer’s willingness to relocate said contract if they decide so? I think not.

While some will point to what transpired in Miami in 2012–when the Marlins traded Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle after only one disappointing season in South Beach as proof that no-trades are fair, I look around the rest of the game–at organizations that are run by competent folks that prove otherwise.

When Clayton Kershaw signed his $215MM contract extension is 2014 with the Dodgers he didn’t receive or ask for a no-trade provision. Neither did Max Scherzer when he took his talents to DC, signing a $210MM pact.

Whether it’s because these players realize they’re far too valuable to their current clubs for them to actually trade, or they’re simply not concerned about playing elsewhere because those massive contracts will follow them til they throw their last pitches in the big leagues, more teams need to lay down the law–that if general managers are willing to match players’ exorbitant asking prices, then the “talent” must concede to back down from extra incentives.

As it is, the agent for these superstars often uses devices such as a no-trade clause to simply command more money and/or extra years out of an inquiring club that just so happens to fall on a no-trade list.

It’s one of the reasons Beltran was sent to Texas. While the Rangers certainly didn’t offer the Yankees the best package, centered around struggling young pitcher Dillon Tate, it was indeed the most significant offer from a club that the 39-year-old switch-hitter would agree to play for.

If the Yankees truly do intend to improve the bullpen and possibly even the starting rotation before Spring Training, I’ll be curious to see if Cashman and company dole out any no-trade options to the likes of Chapman, Kenley Jansen, or Mark Melancon.

Next: Who Do You Want to Win the World Series?

You know, because Andrew Miller didn’t have one, and he now plays in Cleveland.