New York Yankees fans spent a lot of time being Twitter GMs this offseason in their quest to determine why the front office wouldn’t sign one of the top free agents despite a myriad of needs in addition to the financial power the most valuable organization in the sport possesses.
Turns out, many of us might’ve been right all along. General manager Brian Cashman appeared on Sirius XM MLB Network Radio and discussed the reasoning behind the team’s blockbuster trade with the Minnesota Twins that saw Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Ben Rortvedt arrive in the Bronx while Gary Sánchez and Gio Urshela were sent out of town.
Though the Yankees took on the $50 million remaining on Donaldson’s contract as well as the $4.7 million owed to Kiner-Falefa, they jettisoned ~$14.5 million owed to both Sánchez and Urshela, bringing the total inheritance down to $40 million total while filling two positions of need.
Signing one of Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Freddie Freeman or Marcus Semien would’ve cost the Yankees at least $23 million for the 2022 season, plus, would’ve required at least a six-year commitment (outside of Correa’s crafty three-year deal with two player opt outs).
But with so many big contracts on the books (Gerrit Cole, Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Hicks) in addition to the impending Aaron Judge contract extension, the Yankees were indeed hesitant to sign another long-term commitment or seemingly add a guy like Correa for the price of two players.
Don’t believe us or the reports/rumors you’ve been hearing? Well, Cashman cleared it up for everyone on Tuesday.
The Yankees had finances in mind when they passed on the top free agents
"“Even the New York Yankees can only operate within what our flexibility and guidelines happen to be. Because we’ve spent a lot of money, we had less ability to maneuver on certain opportunities that might’ve existed, so that’s why we got creative. The deal with Minnesota was hatched out of that lack of flexibility,” Cashman said."
What many have wondered for months ended up being true. The Yankees do have the third-highest payroll in the game, but it feels like the roster is incomplete due to all of the question marks.
- How effective will Aaron Hicks be in his return?
- What’s DJ LeMahieu’s role?
- Can the starting rotation be trusted beyond Gerrit Cole?
- How is the bullpen going to operate after being taxed in 2021?
- What if Gleyber Torres doesn’t rebound?
- Who is the starting catcher?
At the very least, fans received a candid answer when usually the responses are generic, uninformative and vague. Cashman just told you — the Yankees do not operate without financial restrictions, even though many believe they should.
It will be interminably frustrating, however, if 2022 proves that spending ~$25 million more to avoid some of these potential issues would’ve made all the difference. Here’s to hoping the current formula is the right one, or that the team plans to make another roster-altering move at the trade deadline.