Two Decisions Provide Expectations for the Free Agent Market

Two Decisions Provide Expectations for the Free Agent Market

Two seemingly unconnected decisions involving major players in the AL East occurred earlier this week.  Somewhat unsurprisingly, the Yankees decided not to offer Didi Gregorius a Qualifying Offer, valued at approximately $17.8 million for the 2020 season, thus making Sir Didi a Free Agent.  Somewhat more surprisingly, J.D. Martinez decided not to opt-out of his contract with the Red Sox, forgoing another shot at Free Agency prior to his age-33 season in favor of the penultimate year of his original contract with the Red Sox, valued at $19.35 million.

The obvious difference here is that one player will be forced to test the waters of Free Agency, while another will play another year in familiar and friendly confines.  However, while both Gregorius and Martinez will follow different paths this off-season, the process that brought each player to their current status is telling.  What binds the Yankees and J.D. Martinez (and by extension his agent, Scott Boras) are their evaluation of what the Free Agent market will likely bring players this off-season (hint: it isn’t good for the players).

(Photo Credit: MIke Stobe - Getty Images)

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A Modest Proposal To Fix Baseball Welfare

As we all know, baseball has an aggressive system of transferring monies from wealthier teams to less wealthy ones.  The theory behind this is that baseball wants competitive balance - the wealthy teams should not dominate every year because they can spend more money.

As a Yankee fan, I, of course, find this system to be an abomination.  It takes money from the Yankees and limits their ability to spend and win.  Having said that, I understand that baseball wants smaller market teams to be able to compete so that they game is more interesting.

Of course, as we all know, the system is not working very well.  Baseball teams have finally caught up to the other professional sports leagues and have realized the value in tanking…

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OUCH - Yankees Bringing In Top Dollars And Spending Less and Less on Players

OUCH - Yankees Bringing In Top Dollars And Spending Less and Less on Players

From Pinstripe Alley: “Yankees revenue has increased by an average of five percent per year since the new stadium opened, so using that number we could estimate that the Yankees took in $650 million in 2018. The $193 million spent on payroll represents only $29.7% of that figure. This means that the Yankees quite possibly spent the lowest percentage of revenue on payroll among the 30 teams.”

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Brett Gardner and Two Paths Forward

Brett Gardner and Two Paths Forward

As has been widely reported, Brett Gardner is back in the fold for another year with the Yankees on a 1 year, $7.5 million deal. Here is what we know right now:

  1. By exercising Gardner’s $2 million buyout and resigning him to a $7.5 million contract, the Yankees saved $3 million against the luxury tax threshold vs. simply exercising Gardner’s final year $12.5 million club option.

  2. The Yankees now have 6 major league options for the outfield: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, and Jacoby Ellsbury.

  3. River Ave Blues projected that the Yankees had roughly $49.7 million to spend before hitting the luxury tax threshold this winter prior to the Gardner signing. Signing Gardner gives the roughly $42.2 million to spend this winter in the Free Agent market.

Based on those facts, the Yankees can follow one of two paths: keep the current lineup relatively unchanged from last season (except for finding a Didi fill-in) and once again stay under the luxury tax threshold; or use the money saved in future tax savings by staying under the luxury tax threshold this year to make multiple splashes in the free agent market. Here’s what each path might look like this off-season:

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Rebuttal: Why the Yankees Should NOT Trade Miguel Andujar at the Trade Deadline

Rebuttal: Why the Yankees Should NOT Trade Miguel Andujar at the Trade Deadline

Earlier today, the Yankees blog RiverAveBlues posted an article highlighting on three reasons on why it would make sense to for the Yankees to trade Miguel Andujar at the July 31st trade deadline.

With the storm of rumors, speculations, and trade ideas that occur during this time of the year, Mike Axisa makes some good points on why a Miguel Andujar trade wouldn't be a bad decision from the Yankees brass.

At the very least, listening to what he could help the Yankees receive in a trade is an obvious move, even if they did keep Andujar untouchable during talks for Gerrit Cole during the offseason.

However, as this team looks towards a long playoff run, I'm going to look at why it wouldn't make sense for the Yankees to "add by subtracting" with a trade of Miguel Andujar.

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