The Yankees have to clear two roster spots to add DJ LeMahieu and Corey Kluber. What’s coming?
The New York Yankees flexed their financial muscles a bit on Friday, signing DJ LeMahieu to a six-year deal that only creates a slight raise on his existing salary, pushing it from $12 million to $15 million (somehow, crazy). Later that night, rebound candidate Corey Kluber joined the roster, too, on an $11 million deal.
So, what’s next? Probably something! And quickly!
Not only do the Yankees still have existing needs (A more stable starting pitcher than Klubes? Bullpen help?), but they have absolutely no more roster breathing room to work with.
Before Kluber and LeMahieu can even be officially announced, the Yankees have to jettison two members of their 40-man roster. So, will they go with the simple strategy and knock off two borderline guys? Or will they attempt to pull off a money-saving trade in the process, too?
As of now, based on projections, the Yankees are only a few million dollars under the luxury tax, though the various facts and figures waver, depending on your sources.
After splurging on Kluber, it seems quite likely they go over the first tax level, after months of posturing about how they wouldn’t. A trade to save a chunk of cash is still theoretically possible, though — aka, it’s looking likelier and likelier that an Adam Ottavino salary dump is coming.
Perhaps Otto is part of a deal with the Pirates that addresses one or two needs. Ottavino plus top prospects for Joe Musgrove or Jameson Taillon? Ottavino plus lower-level prospects for a lefty bat like Colin Moran? The possibilities are endless, but they’ve got to end soon.
Of course, there’s the oft chance the Yankees don’t have anything spectacular up their sleeves, and they simply intend to slice two players off the 40-man. In that case, Ben Heller, Albert Abreu, Mike Ford, and potentially even Brooks Kriske should be sweating a little bit.
Knowing how the Yankees work, though, it’s far more likely they have something up their sleeve. This team doesn’t usually employ the “lose assets for nothing” strategy.
Watch this space, but anticipate a money-saving measure in the next 48 hours — or a brazen decision to blow past the tax threshold in an attempt to reclaim the city from Steve Cohen.