Looking Ahead to Next Off-Season of Yankee Free Agents
With the 2020 season yet to even begin, the Yankees free agency class for next offseason have already begun. Many big names will become free agents, which is why I will break down who is will be a free agent. This article will not include predictions, but only a brief profile on who will be entering the free agent market, barring any extension.
Masahiro Tanaka (SP): In what seems like no time since he joined the New York Yankees on a seven-year pact, Tanaka will become a free agent following the 2020 season. In 163 career starts with the Yankees, Tanaka has a 75-43 record with a 3.75 ERA in just over 1,000 innings pitched. Tanaka has already had one chance to opt out of his contract but opted in after the 2017 season. If the Yankees decide to let him test the free agent market, he will be an attractive name to add to any pitching arsenal.
D.J. LeMahieu (2B, 3B, 1B): After signing a 2-year, $24 million contract with the Yankees last offseason, many were left questioning where LeMahieu would fit into the lineup. He did not just fit into the lineup but led the charge. LeMahieu’s remarkable 2019 season ended with him hitting .329 with 26 home runs and knocking in 102 runs. If he has a solid 2020 season, LeMahieu could be looking at a big payday after the season at age 32.
James Paxton (SP): Paxton was one of those pitchers that was a little shaky to begin his career in the Bronx but after settling in, he became a force for the Yankees. Luis Severino missed a big chunk of the 2019 season, and Paxton filled in the ace role very well. Paxton will see himself drop to the two or three role in the rotation but could be seen as an ace on several teams in baseball. He could also be looking at a nice payday next off-season.
Players with opt-out clauses include:
Giancarlo Stanton (LF/DH): There is no need to spend too much time on Stanton, because he is not going to opt-out.
Zack Britton (RP): Britton negotiated one of the strangest contracts in recent history that could potentially be a two, three, or four-year contract. Britton has a player option after the 2020 season. If he chooses to opt-out, he will be a free agent. If he opts-in, he will have a guaranteed third season with a club option for a fourth season. If he decides to opt-out, Britton will be a top name in the relief pitcher free agent market and could generate much attention.
Brett Gardner (LF/CF): Gardner will spend his 13th season with the Yankees, which could possibly extend to a 14thseason. Gardner will more than likely only see his name hit the free agent market if he has a dreadful season or is in talks of negotiating a more “team-friendly” contract.
Adam Warren (RP): It was almost destined that Warren would come back to the Bronx, and he could see himself back in pinstripes for a third time. After a struggling season with the Padres, Warren is looking to find his old ways again. Warren signed a minor-league pact with the Yankees, which includes an option following the 2020 season. He will likely miss the entire 2020 season due to Tommy John Surgery, but he will likely see himself under contract with the Yankees for the 2021 season.