The Yankees — if they WANT to — can sign large free agents next offseason after ducking under the luxury tax.
Bad news: the Yankees are completely unwilling to surpass the luxury tax threshold this offseason, preferring to throw an overload of risky rotation options at the wall during a year of Gerrit Cole’s prime.
Good news: this means they can technically spend big next offseason! If they’d like to! Which would be nice!
The Yankees will now, whether you like it or not (we don’t!) reset their tax rate — though it could all be for naught, seeing as the soon-to-come new CBA at the end of the 2021 season might shift every boundary in the book. Plus, the tax the Yankees would’ve paid this year would truly have been a drop in their earnings bucket regardless.
But we digress. We have to operate under the same assumptions that Hal Steinbrenner is intent on using as a crutch. And a risky offseason full of bounce-back bets is the way he’s chosen to approach 2020-21, while it’s far more likely he uses a season’s worth of profits and lesser-taxed spending to bring in some major reinforcements next year.
We’re not sure if the Yankees will be in the high-dollar shortstop market now that they’ve extended DJ LeMahieu and are rolling with Gleyber Torres (they probably won’t be?), so for now, we’ve laid out several other non-infield targets who’ll cost bigger bucks next offseason.
If the Yanks aren’t in these discussions, we’re going to have a problem.
3. Noah Syndergaard
Are the Yankees gearing up to sign Noah Syndergaard away from the Mets?
How much money does Steve Cohen want to invest in his rotation…really?
By the hour, Trevor Bauer’s arrival in New York seems more certain, despite the recent stock market short squeeze chicanery, and the righty appears to have given up on the idea of maximizing his value via endless one-year contracts. It’s far more likely that Bauer ultimately signs a three- or four-year deal with an expensive AAV, and it’s also far more likely that Bauer signs that deal in Flushing.
That would leave Jacob deGrom in blue pinstripes through 2024 (team option), and probably Bauer as well, with both Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman hitting free agency following this season. 2021, on the surface, seems set up as a competition between the two arms to prove their value to their new owner, and it’s quite likely that if Cohen adds Bauer’s burden, he’ll retain the less expensive option once the campaign is over.
Syndergaard, an iconic Met since his 2015 debut season when he made a World Series start at the age of 22, is recovering from Tommy John surgery and should be available in late May or early June. That’ll give the 28-year-old plenty of time to prove he’s a more electric option than Stroman, won’t be prone to regression, and deserves the larger paycheck.
If the Yankees have more financial flexibility than their cross-town rivals next offseason, they should absolutely be eyeing Syndergaard, who’s yo-yo’d back and forth between trade rumors and stability so often these past few years we’ve lost count.
Let him keep his apartment keys and pay him to come pitch on the other side of town.