2. Joc Pederson
The Yankees could stop shopping in the budget section and just pay Joc Pederson.
Of course, if the Yankees really trust Nick Nelson and Brooks Kriske, they could dump their whole financial windfall on a more effective lefty bench bat than Gardner.
They don’t have to pay for a retirement tour, after all.
Joc Pederson’s base salary in 2020 was $7.75 million (before that nasty pro-rated nonsense kicked in), and he’s unfortunately entered a free agent market unlike any other. So how much is he still angling for, a month before Spring Training? Would $11 million do the trick? What about $9 million base this year, $12 million next year? Spread things across multiple seasons and backload it?
The world is the Yankees’ oyster — as long as they trust all their ‘pen arms.
Pederson’s 2020 did not include his typical power output in the regular season, but once October arrived, he looked exactly the same as he always does, hitting .400, .389, and .400 with two homers in the three rounds of LA’s playoff run. Pretty great!
Just 29 years old, by the time Opening Day rolls around, the Yankees would acquire a potent lefty bat with 35-homer power in Pederson and wouldn’t have to pray against Gardner’s old-age regression (which we all thought was coming at the start of 2020).
The Yanks would be taking it to the limit here, but thanks to the Red Sox, the Bronx Bombers now have just enough flexibility to make it happen.