Yankees and Major League Baseball arrive at a crossroads

Miguel Andujar (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Miguel Andujar (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

No one thought that money thing was funny

For the first time in several years, the Yankees are going to be significant players in the free agent market. Matt Holliday was a good get last year, although he didn’t play that way the entire season, the Yankees have a lot more than thirteen million to invest this year… and certainly, hope for a better return.

However, Hal Steinbrenner is also committed to getting under the luxury tax threshold. Again, without going into too much detail, once a team operates for a single year under the tax, that team’s penalties are reduced an immense amount. That is happening now, and the Yankees will spend 2018 under the cap. Now that’s a massive change.

So, while Cash doesn’t have the same cash he had after the 2008 season, he has enough to get a front-line starter, and maybe a bat. The Yankees have always spent on the club and will sign either Yu Darvish, Alex Cobb or Jake Arrieta, another significant change coming soon.

All during the season, I advocated the Yanks signing Darvish; now I hope he is their last option. Instead, Cobb looks like the guy, although I like Arrieta better. But then I wanted Darvish, so, grain of salt and all that.

The final part; I knew writing these was easy

So here the Yankees are. They have some money to spend but need to spend it wisely. Which pitcher could best help them? Which will have a fluke injury in 2018 and be lost for the season? Or will break down after one year, making his contract an Ellsbury?

And which infielders are real, and which need to be traded? And will we need more starters or relievers? Or will first base be a black hole again, Bird grounded due to injury?

Is McKinney the real answer as a back-up, or will the Yankees lose more mid-season games due to poor replacement players?

The team is flooded with talent and has now enough money to do what needs to be done. But, how should it deploy that ability, and which positions will need extra help? Getting to game seven showed the Yankees could float on their dreams down the Canyon of Heroes in 2018. But that’s if they can the see the correct road before them.

And one more final, final bit

If not, however, that road gets a lot brighter next year when all the seeds Cash and the Yankees have been planting will finally be sown. First, they will get under the tax this year, making them able to go over it next year with little penalty.

Second, the tax threshold will be raised next season ($206M), another boon when it comes to spending free agent dollars.

Third, the Yankees will shed another fifty million in salary next year; this means their ability to spend will go up at the same time the amount they are allowed to pay without penalty will go up.

And last, and we all know this one, at the same time that the Yankees will feel free to spend the most they have in years, the best free agent class ever will become available. Now that’s a Yankees’ convergence.

Next: Jake Walker previews the Yankees 2018 starting rotation

Because the single biggest change happening now is the return of the mission statement. We all knew the Yankees were more dreamers than serious contenders the last four years. That’s all changed. A team that entered the 2017 season as curiosity will come next season as a contender, as the Yankees are positioning themselves now for another decade of dominance.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.