3 big free agents Yankees can target next offseason thanks to luxury tax
1. Salvador Perez
The Yankees might’ve seen the last of Gary Sanchez after 2021, in either direction.
Well, that’s not how you spell Gary Sanchez.
The Yankees’ established catcher has two years of control left in the Bronx, and the Bombers most recently tendered him a $6.35 million contract for 2021 — before Brian Cashman went on WFAN and made clear his displeasure with his lack of self-awareness and reaction to his benching.
If Sanchez tees off in ’21, don’t be surprised if the Yankees trade him and attempt to maximize the return before his free agent season, something I no longer anticipate they’ll pay for with Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres’ paydays still to come.
If Sanchez struggles? Well, then he couldn’t be more gone when it comes time to dole out raises next offseason.
Which brings me to Salvador Perez.
If the Yanks deal Sanchez or cut him loose, they will not be looking to massively downgrade at the position, handing the keys to a $1 million starter/backup hybrid like … say, Austin Romine. They’ll go somewhere in the middle, hoping to pay ~$10 million annually to a consistent performer, rather than $10 million-plus to Sanchez, which will soon become $18 million or so per year if he plays to his potential.
Enter Perez, still just 30 years old and likely available on a four-year, $50 million contract after ’21? Sound about right? He still offers power, socking 20+ home runs in each of his past four full seasons and ripping 11 with a .333 batting average in his comeback 2020 campaign.
If anything, the leader of the 2015 World Series champions remains underrated, and his power “peak” is only slightly lower than Sanchez’s, who hasn’t boomed in years.
Perez is a free-swinger with a low OBP. He’s also a Gold Glover.
Just think about it.