While the New York Yankees reset the luxury tax and won’t be gun shy about exceeding the threshold in 2022 in fear of an increasing penalty, that doesn’t mean they won’t be held back in some manner from a financial perspective.
After all, this team has nearly $218 million committed to next year’s payroll assuming all arbitration-eligible players are paid and all contract options are picked up.
General manager Brian Cashman will obviously make adjustments when needed, whether it’s cutting guys loose or making trades, so that number won’t be set in stone when looking at the overall payroll picture.
What he can’t do, however, is rid the team of its more costly contracts that will no doubt restrict the Yankees in some way.
Or maybe he can! But that means he’ll have to attach a prospect or two in order to make it happen, and we’d venture to say many fans wouldn’t prefer that … seeing as the best way to use your prospect capital is to turn it into more, established talent rather than a means to save money.
What’s particularly upsetting is that, once upon a time, some of these contracts looked like they’d be helping out the Bombers for years to come. Instead, they’re either a waste or well on their way to being a waste.
These three burdensome contracts will affect the Yankees in 2022.
3. Aaron Hicks
No, this was not one of the deals that seemed promising at the time. Hicks, who played in more than 123 games in a season just ONCE before 2019, landed a seven-year, $70 million extension from the Yankees after his career-best in 2018.
What was puzzling about this? The Yankees famously do not hand out contract extensions, especially to second- or third-tier players before they hit free agency … but somehow Hicks cashed in on this lengthy of a deal? With his well-documented injury history and lack of availability in his first six MLB seasons?
Now, the Yankees will be paying dearly for this. Hicks has played in just 145 out of a possible 384 games since putting pen to paper and is now tied to the team through the 2025 season (when he’ll be 35 years old!)
His salaries the next four years will be $10.79 million, $10.79 million, $9.79 million and $9.79 million. We’re not sure what team would take that unless the Yankees eat a significant portion or attach a top prospect. Hicks will likely be eating up a roster spot as an outfielder who probably won’t be able to effectively hold down duties in center with his declining mobility and arm strength.