The New York Yankees don't need to save money. They're a financial behemoth. Problem is, they don't operate that way anymore. The organization, for the first time ever, dipped below the luxury tax threshold in 2018, the year after they came within one game of the World Series, and did it again in 2021, which undoubtedly has had a negative effect on this window with Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole.
If the Yankees are still going to remain in the business of saving money, avoiding hefty tax penalties, and crying about the Miami Marlins getting a couple hundred thousand from them every offseason due to cost sharing, then they better have a wish list in order to try and get money off the books as early as they possibly can in the offseason.
If they trade for Juan Soto, that's another $30 million added to the 2024 payroll. If they sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto, that's another $25-30 million. Same goes for Blake Snell. Aaron Nola is probably closer to the $20 million range. Cody Bellinger, even as a secondary desired target, will still be close to the mid-20s.
Unless there's a grand plan to add without subtracting, more players will probably need to be shown the door, leaving Cashman with a bigger pile of potential trades and tough decisions on his desk. And honestly, it's not the worst thing. This roster needs the shakeup of all shakeups, because there's much more to be done even if the Yankees manage to pull off two of the above blockbusters.
3 payroll-saving moves Yankees need to execute this offseason
Trade Anthony Rizzo with a top prospect attached
Anthony Rizzo makes $17 million in 2024 and has a $17 million team option (or a $6 million buyout) for 2025. That means he's essentially a one-year, $23 million commitment for 2024. So why trade him?
Even if Rizzo had a 2023 season uninterrupted by cognitive impairment, this would've been a move fans pondered. Rizzo's 32 homers in 2022 were objectively awesome, but he's a redundant bat (outside of being a lefty) because he bats .224 and isn't a good situational hitter (at least in New York). He's also terribly slow and lacks athleticism, which is more of what the Yankees have to offer.
See where we're getting at? Rizzo is a fine player as a complementary piece, but the Yankees have somehow made him an intrinsic one ... and his .768 OPS in 278 games just isn't going to get the Yankees to where they need to be. And now that's he's pretty much been out of action since the beginning of June, his contract year could be spent "getting back on track," which will be a detriment to an already unprepared 2024 roster.
Somebody will take him, though, if you pay down some of the money or throw in a top-15 prospect. No reason this shouldn't get done. No reason the Yankees shouldn't be able to find a comparable first baseman.