Yankees: Predicting Which Free Agents Return in 2021

New York Yankees pitcher James Paxton (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
New York Yankees pitcher James Paxton (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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The New York Yankees have some complicated free agency decisions to make in 2020.

2021 offseason Yankees free agency talk has arrived at our doorstep, several months before we were ready to start discussing such things.

But with the 2020 season hanging in the balance (it’ll happen, if Rob Manfred wakes up in the next two weeks!), it’s unfortunately time to start examining those we may lose, as well as those we can afford to make a bet on during a pivotal offseason.

The Yankees must save money for arbitration raises and Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez’s possible extensions (they hit free agency after 2022), but if New York wants to contend in 2021 without pinning everything on rotation prospects, they’ll need to dole out some cash this offseason, too.

New York Yankees Free Agents 2021

The Yankees free agent after this season, alphabetically, are: Chad Bettis, Brett Gardner, DJ LeMahieu, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and Adam Warren. Gardy has a $10 million 2021 club option, which can be voided for $2.5 million. Zack Britton and Giancarlo Stanton can both opt out, but we suspect they will not, with baseball’s economic climate as uncertain as ever (Stanton would be insane to depart the Bronx now).

JA Happ has a vesting option he absolutely will not hit (165 innings pitched), so we can add him to the list as well.


So, without further ado, we’ll now separate these options into: returnees, departures, and a Wild Card rotation battle.