In the end, we’re happy Justin Verlander returned to the Houston Astros. Keeps the hatred more genuine and we don’t have to sell our souls for a championship. It’d be fun if we can win one somewhat organically, especially with this core of players.
But then again, the New York Yankees are the New York Yankees. And they continue to fall short of operating like the New York Yankees should. So, we must ask: what’s the point of being the New York Yankees, then?
Verlander re-signed with Houston on a one-year, $25 million contract with a player option for 2023, also reportedly worth $25 million. That’s pretty much what we’d thought it take for the Yankees to acquire JV to join the top of the starting rotation.
Instead, the Yankees offered just one year for $25 million … which seems incredibly stupid on multiple levels.
If Verlander was rejecting a one-year, $18.4 million offer, why would the Yankees think offering a shade under $7 million more for the same security would be sufficient? The Astros, who have a ton of money coming off the books, clearly would’ve had no issue upping the QO, which was only given to JV so they could get a draft pick in return if he left for another team.
Secondly, Verlander has pitched six innings in the last two years. Did the Yankees really think signing him for one year would be the answer? They were just going to put themselves in another Corey Kluber situation? Does this front office learn from their mistakes … ever?
The Yankees’ offer for Justin Verlander was incredibly pointless.
The whole point of being the Yankees is out-bidding the opposition significantly … not trying to get a steal or provide a somewhat comparable amount of money that somebody else could easily offer. So this is what we’re going to do again? The Yankees were willing to out-bid themselves by an unfathomable amount to land Gerrit Cole on a nine-year contract and they can’t do that for short-term deals for future Hall of Famers?
We were told this was going to be a no holds barred offseason of spending and they refused to offer a second year to Verlander, which would’ve probably been more beneficial in getting him to sign AND from a production standpoint since everyone’s first year back from Tommy John surgery isn’t exactly without its bumps in the road.
Another puzzling aspect of this? The Yankees have just $99 million in guaranteed money on the books for 2023. Would another $25 million really killed them? With EVERY arbitration-eligible player getting their expected salaries, that number goes up to $175 million — but we already know Clint Frazier, Miguel Andújar, Luke Voit, Tyler Wade, Domingo Germán and others probably won’t be here. So let’s call it $150 million?
Factor in an Aaron Judge extension, a high-profile shortstop signing, and a center fielder signing. Perhaps we can add $70 million to that total? $220 million. Verlander’s hypothetical $25 million salary brings it to $245 million. And if you need to trade guys for salary relief, you probably can.
Maybe there’s more we’re not considering here. But if the Yankees are going to spend then they’re not going to worry about the short-term implications, even with the CBA talks still waiting to determine what the competitive balance tax provisions will be in 2022 and beyond.
All this tells us is that nothing has changed. The Yankees are afraid to spend like the Yankees of old and continue to hold themselves back by not utilizing the one unique advantage they had over the rest of MLB for what felt like forever.