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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Nathan Eovaldi Needs to be a Yankee...Again

Nathan Eovaldi Needs to be a Yankee...Again

Much as I would like to pretend it’s a dream, credit must be given when it’s due: the Red Sox had one of the best seasons any team has had in the modern era, and they deserve congratulations for winning the World Series in decisive fashion. When any team wins the World Series, the media and even some baseball front offices create narratives about why that team won the World Series over every other team, as though the team in question discovered a formula that other teams should follow. These narratives are often not based on any statistical trends, and the truths unearthed about the construction of championship teams in the post-World Series offseason are often debunked over time - case and point, the 2015 Kansas City Royals. Very few teams are constructing rosters with “grit” and an undisciplined, high-contact, but low-power lineup while batting their worst hitter lead-off. Surely, an imagined trend will emerge during the autopsy of this World Series, but one aspect of the Red Sox’s championship season cannot be denied: the Red Sox utilized their financial might to their advantage over the last couple of years, even despite some flops. The Red Sox would have struggled to win this year without JD Martinez, David Price, Eduardo Nunez (in the playoffs, at least), and Mitch Moreland. What is important to note about this list of players is that it isn’t just filled with the players at the top of the free agent market, like Price and Martinez. The Red Sox were also able to use the free agent market to grab solid role players like Moreland and Nunez to fill out the roster. I think that the Yankees need to thread the needle between these two types of players this winter, and use their spending power to grab Nathan Eovaldi o help fill out the pitching staff.

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The Forgotten Free Agent

The Forgotten Free Agent

Much of the early Free Agency discussion in the Yankee Universe this offseason has centered on which 2018 Yankees to retain in Free Agency and whether Patrick Corbin or Manny Machado are good fits for the long-term Yankee roster.  Lost in the current conversation is possibly the most fascinating free agent in this year’s class: Bryce Harper.

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Are Baseball Players Getting Ripped Off?

Are Baseball Players Getting Ripped Off?

It looks like Great Free Agent Staredown of 2018 will result in some very tough negotiations between the players union and the owners as the 2017 - 2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement gets closer to its expiration on December 1, 2021.  There will be the usual amount of whining, propaganda and outright lying from both sides.  I thought that it might be useful to think about the relative fairness of baseball’s compensation scheme by looking at a comparison to the NBA and the NFL.

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