Red Sox signing Adam Duvall means Yankees were never ‘in’


Last week, buzz circulated suggesting the New York Yankees could be a landing spot for former Atlanta Braves slugger Adam Duvall given the team’s vacancy in left field. But on Wednesday morning, the Boston Red Sox swooped in and signed the 34-year-old.

According to reports, Duvall is joining the Red Sox on a one-year, $7 million contract that could reach $10 million based on performance bonuses. Knowing the price it took to land him, we can now deduce one of two things: the Yankees were never really “in” on Duvall or they couldn’t find a similar salary to trade (or one they felt comfortable parting with) in order to remain under the final luxury tax threshold of $293 million.

And if they were comfortable letting Duvall head to Boston then it’s clear they weren’t willing to make the necessary concessions to work it out. Because why would Duvall prefer the Sox over the Yankees?

New York’s main void is in left field, where Duvall has played 556 of his 770 career games — the match was the most sensible when comparing it to the Red Sox depth chart, since they already have an outfield of Alex Verdugo, Masataka Yoshida and Kiké Hernandez. And even if Hernandez is shifting to the infield following Trevor Story’s injury, they still have Rob Refsnyder and Jarren Duran. There was no doubt he would’ve been guaranteed the most playing time with the Yankees.

Additionally, after learning the price, this would’ve put general manger Brian Cashman in a position to move quickly on the trade front to free up more money, which presented a challenge because the trade market has yet to materialize.

The Yankees were never really in on free agent Adam Duvall it would seem

While Duvall seemed like a logical under-the-radar match, Cashman isn’t sinking more millions into the outfield when he’s unable to get rid of Aaron Hicks. Additionally, cheaper options in Oswaldo Cabrera and Estevan Florial (whether you like them or not) still exist, which provides the Yankees with flexibility.

Signing Duvall to a contract similar to what the Red Sox gave him would’ve almost limited the Yankees with their options because how could they have stomached paying Hicks and Duvall a combined ~$20 million only to not play them both as often as possible?

Duvall, who has either been streaky or injured for most of his career, could’ve easily been out-performed by any of Hicks, Cabrera or Florial come spring training, thus creating another unneeded dilemma for the Yanks.

As for cutting costs, who would the team have felt comfortable with swapping out for Duvall (besides Hicks or Josh Donaldson, both of whom don’t have a trade market at the moment)? Gleyber Torres? No. DJ LeMahieu? Nobody’s taking that contract right now. Sadly those are the only two options to create the necessary space under the luxury tax threshold.

Perhaps the injury to Frankie Montas also factored in here because now there’s a need for another pitcher, making the outfield vacancy all the more futile given the resources that the Yankees have at the moment. Montas missing the first month of the season slots Domingo Germán or Clarke Schmidt into the rotation, which means one more injury puts both of them in there. And that’s not a winning formula.

Even before that though, Duvall always felt like a stretch. Now that we’ve learned the price (with the desperate Red Sox likely over-bidding), it’s all but confirmed that was the case.