The rest of the baseball world continues to tell the New York Yankees that money won’t solve their problems, and while that might be technically true, the Yankees seem poised to remind the baseball world that spending money, in their view, is never really an obstacle to spending more money.
At least, that’s what we’re led to believe as the rumor mill calcifies around Corey Seager.
According to MLB insider Jeff Passan on Tuesday’s edition of The Michael Kay Show, Seager is the most likely member of the shortstop carousel to end up in a Yankee uniform in 2021.
Some may not like the baseball fit because of the likelihood of Seager moving to third base by the end of the contract, or his untimely clanks during the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves, or simply because Carlos Correa seems like the more attractive piece. Those concerns are valid, but if the rumors are true, the Yankees seem ready to move past that noise to prioritize a former World Series MVP and 27-year-old lefty slugger who’s never posted a below-average OPS+ in his baseball life.
Of course, the anti-Seager argument goes beyond baseball, too. If New York commits $300 million to Seager instead of, say, $100 million to Trevor Story, wouldn’t that gum up the books for six years? On top of Giancarlo Stanton’s money? And Gerrit Cole’s? And Aaron Judge’s forthcoming extension? And DJ LeMahieu’s deal?
Sure. For any other team. What the Yankees seem to be telling you, if these rumors are true, is that they don’t care at all.
The Yankees-Corey Seager rumor proves they’re willing to stretch their budget.
Perhaps I’m a cockeyed optimist, but I don’t think Hal Steinbrenner is so stupid that he’s going to eventually wake up in 2025, realize, “Oh, no! Money costs money!” and pull a 2020 Red Sox to unload superstars in an effort to kickstart a cost-cutting sell-off. Objectively, the Yankees already have too many $300 million contracts on the books to add another one, if there’s some sort of ceiling to their spending.
If there’s no ceiling, and they’re forever abandoning their concerns about what happens when the contracts all clatter up against each other past these players’ primes, that’s the clearest way in which a mega-deal for a shortstop makes sense.
Especially if said shortstop eventually shifts to accommodate Anthony Volpe/Oswald Peraza (but remember, that’s just a best-case scenario).
There are Yankee Haters out there who can’t even fully enjoy the team’s current title-less drought and playoff misery because they think things are about to get much worse for the team when money at the top prevents roster completion moving forward.
In fact, there are some who seem to think this problem will crest in 2022.
And yet, here come the Yankees, dangling $300 million to Seager (supposedly) because he’s the player they believe best-suited to handle their open position — and, remember, an eight-year deal will only take him through age 35.
If the team was worried about cost-shifting, they’d sign Trevor Story or Andrelton Simmons. If they’ve evaluated the market and are still threatening to plop a cash pile on Seager’s doorstep, that means they believe in the player and couldn’t care less about the context of their other contracts.
Tough news for people who wake up every day banking on the Yankees’ spending eventually “catching up to them.” From our side of the fence, we’d rather be one of the two MLB teams that doesn’t wake up in a cold sweat every morning about paying its workers.
Has Hal Steinbrenner skimped in the past, evading the luxury tax at inopportune times? Sure. But this winter seems poised to be one of the spending sprees he prepares himself for with those maneuvers, and when it comes time to pay the piper on all these long-term deals, he seems ready to simply yank out his checkbook and continue supplementing.