State of the Yankee Payroll

The Yankee payroll is starting to emerge from half a decade of mostly-wasted space. Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and late-career Derek Jeter returned very little from 2012-2016, while taking up a tremendous amount of payroll space. While two will still receive paychecks in 2017, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Yankees will return to being the spending force in the American League soon.

Below, I've posted a spreadsheet of the current Yankee payroll obligations. I included arbitration estimates for arb-eligible players, and excluded players off the 40-man or that I expect to be non-tendered (Eovaldi). Some of the league minimum players might get replaced on the roster by April, but they will likely be replaced with similar salaries. 

In 2018, the Yankees have just $95 million in obligations, even assuming Masahiro Tanaka does not opt out. Once McCann, Headley, and Gardner come off the payroll in 2019, that becomes $57 million, just in time for the mega free agent class. The Yankees could conceivably sign three or four $30m+ free agents and still maintain a payroll inside their historical norms.