Yankees have $19 million left to spend before luxury tax penalty


If Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is serious about staying under the $197 million luxury tax threshold for 2018, he’ll have to get creative to plug the remaining few holes in the roster.

After re-signing of CC Sabathia to a one-year, $10 million contract, the Associated Press estimates that the Yankees have approximately $19 million in available funds before encroaching upon the dreaded luxury tax threshold for next season.

While that much cash would typically land you one stellar free-agent addition, the Yanks are rumored to be in need of adding a starting pitcher, second baseman and/or third baseman.

With that type of wish list, general manager Brian Cashman will need to get inventive to solve any remaining riddles before Spring Training opens in mid-February.

Sportsnet.ca recently broke down the organization’s impending pay structure.

"New York has seven signed players for next season whose salaries total $120.7 million for purposes of the luxury tax… The Yankees have eight players eligible for arbitration whose projected salaries total $30 million… Each team will be charged a projected $14,044,600 for benefits and extended benefits… The Yankees are charged with $3 million for cash transactions."

The easiest solution to stay below $197 million in payroll is to stand pat, especially considering all that Cash and the club have accomplished over the past 18 months.

Plugging in highly-regarded, mostly ready prospects from the farm system would be the way 25-29 MLB clubs would go. However, these are the Yankees — and expectations of a World Series appearance or bust, are back in full force.

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Pressure to win now, rather than 2019 is why rumors like Yu Darvish to the Bronx won’t go away. But would the 31-year-old right-hander really sign a multi-year contract in the neighborhood of $17 million per season?

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports writes that the Yanks are keeping a keen eye on Darvish, hoping his price drops from the six-year, $160 million MLB Trade Rumors suggested he’d command back in November.

"New York Yankees people do like Yu Darvish, and at a reasonable price, he will be seriously considered. It seems everyone’s strategy this year is to wait for the price to drop."

The article you’re reading now (this one) wasn’t written to debate whether or not the Yankees need Darvish — or if he’s a better play than Jordan Montgomery or right-handed pitching prospect Chance Adams.

Rather, when formulating an opinion on a topic such as what “we the fans” think is best for our beloved club, it’s important to be well informed and not just spew outlandish claims that get you trolled on Twitter (my PSA for the week).

If the Yankees are looking to begin the ’18 season $5-10 million below the luxury tax threshold in order to make a potential move before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, then adding Darvish won’t happen.

There are a number of starting pitchers that should come cheaper than Darvish — especially the longer they remain on the open market. Not all options are great fits, but you get what you pay for.

  • Andrew Cashner
  • Lance Lynn
  • R.A. Dickey
  • Chris Tillman
  • Ubaldo Jimenez
  • Jeremy Hellickson
  • Jason Vargas

As for infielders that can be plugged into second base or third base rather than in-house alternatives, the best of the available bunch, not named Todd Frazier are:

  • Neil Walker
  • Brandon Phillips
  • Yunel Escobar
  • Danny Valencia
  • Trevor Plouffe
  • Mark Reynolds
  • Alcides Escobar

Next: Yanks should call Cubs about these players

I for one, hope the Yankees stay the course and head into the early months of the season with the 40-man roster set as is. Then in late July, we’ll all have a better, new idea about what’s best for “our team.”