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If the Yankees Won’t Spend, Then Stick To It. Don’t Spend on DJ.

The past few weeks have seen great pitchers and the best shortstop in baseball go by the Yankees. This is because in the past few years they have attempted to sell the fanbase on cost-effective moves and a luxury tax as opposed to the championship legacy they constantly promote. At this point, own it. Don’t spend anymore.

 

When Was the Last Time the Yankees Spent Big?

Under George Steinbrenner’s ownership, the Yankees would spend big to bring in top talents every year. He didn’t want to just be competitive, but he wanted to be World Series contenders (and winners) every year. It didn’t always work, both in terms of on the field performance and bringing in every star player that he pleased, but there was a consistency. You knew that the New York Yankees were going into each season strong, and you knew that the New York Yankees were going into each offseason strong.

Over the past 11 years since right before his death, the Yankees have feigned this same belief. Since 2010, the Yankees have given out the following $50M+ contracts: (Years not included means no FA deal exceeded $50M.)

2010: Derek Jeter (3/$51M)

2013: Brian McCann (5/$85M), Jacoby Ellsbury (7/$153M)

2014: Chase Headley (4/$52M) Masahiro Tanaka (7/$155M)

2016: Aroldis Chapman (5/$86M)

2020: Gerrit Cole (9/$324M)

Many of these years the Yankees were not competitive. In the early 2010’s the Yankees came off a Championship and entered into the “retirement era” of greats like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. Watching them one last time as they reached historic career milestones became the story for the Yankees.

The Yankees of the mid-2010’s were teams of other aging veterans as the team didn’t have hopes of playoffs but instead staying above a 0.500 winning percentage. These were met with expectations that the Yankees were waiting for salary to open up for that next boom of superstar talent. The fanbase was told to be patient and their time to rule baseball would come again.

Then came the “Baby Bomber” boom in the late 2010’s and the team was exciting again. The Yankees had a perfect opportunity to build around young and cheap talent. While they did bring in Giancarlo Stanton, the move is now looked at as an albatross on the team’s ability to make moves now. 4 years out, the “Baby Bombers” look like a fluke. Aaron Judge can be penciled in to miss a month or two every season, Gary Sanchez lost the ability to make contact, Severino is returning from TJS, and Greg Bird is nearly out of baseball entirely.

I think it’s fair to say this hasn’t worked.

 

I’m Tired of the Same Excuses:

Coming into this offseason, the Yankees were set to lose the following from the payroll:

Jacoby Ellsbury ~ $21M

Masahiro Tanaka ~ $22M

JA Happ ~ $17M

James Paxton – $12.5M

DJ LeMahieu – $12M

Brett Gardner – $12M

While some of those deals include some small payments to be considered in 2021 (Ellsbury gets $5M, Gardner gets $2.5M) that means there was a new budget room of $89 Million Dollars for yearly spending this offseason.

But instead of reinvesting that money back into the team, the front office has held firm on sticking to getting under the $210M luxury tax, again.

We heard this in 2018/19 when they didn’t go after Harper, Machado, or Corbin. (To be fair, they then got Cole in 2019/20).

We heard this in 2017/18 when they didn’t go after Lorenzo Cain, Jake Arrieta, or Yu Darvish.

We heard this in 2015/16 (free agency in 2016/17 was weak) when they didn’t go after Zack Greinke, Jason Heyward, or David Price.

The same excuses gets old.

 

I Hope They Don’t Spend on DJ:

Originally, I didn’t want the Yankees to go after DJ LeMahieu so that they would try and work a deal for Francisco Lindor. That ship has now sailed and you can read my quick opinions on the deal that got Lindor, here.

Now I don’t want them to spend $20M on DJ LeMahieu for a better reason: I want the Yankees to be sincere. I want the Yankees not to spend because they told me and you- through their actions with letting Darvish, Snell, Lindor, and Carrasco all go by- that they didn’t want to spend. I don’t want them to lie to you and me.

I don’t want the Yankees to spend so that they see what spending brings. I want to see the Dodgers, Padres, and Mets all do very well in the postseason. While teams like the Rays can avoid spending and have short stints at playoff victory, what teams are always in the picture? (Hint: It’s the teams that spend.)

I don’t want the Yankees to spend so that they realize they took the city of New York and its fandom for granted. If the Mets are the “hot ticket” item, then the city will go back to flying orange and blue and everyone will talk about DeGrom instead of Cole. And Lindor instead of Torres. And Conforto instead of Judge.

But, most of all I don’t want the Yankees to spend so I don’t have to hear this excuse again in 3 years when they have a 35-year old second baseman making $20M and is “crippling” the Yankees ability to sign the next great free agent.

I don’t want to hear the excuse in 2 years when the Yankees have a 34-year old second baseman making $20M that is preventing another big move.

I don’t want to hear it next year when Trevor Story, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, (and maybe Lindor) all become free agents, and then they each go on to play somewhere else than the Bronx because the Yankees had $20M stuck on a 33-year old second baseman.

Because when that happens, I just hope the Yankees feel comfortable flying up a new set of flags starting this year:



(Download the image and go to: https://krikienoid.github.io/flagwaver/ to see it fly!)
(Download the image and go to: https://krikienoid.github.io/flagwaver/ to see it fly!)


(Download the image and go to: https://krikienoid.github.io/flagwaver/ to see it fly!)


 

Article By: Ethan Semendinger

Date Published: January 8th, 2021

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