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  • Cary Greene

My Thoughts on Judge Re-Signing with the Yankees

By Cary Greene

December 8, 2022

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Transpiring just as I thought it would, Aaron Judge’s free agency experience wound up surprising me nonetheless. It appears that Aaron Judge really did want to be a Yankee for life afterall. When he flew out to San Diego on Tuesday this week, I knew he was there to receive final offers and also talk with the dastardly AJ Preller, who is the GM of the Padres. Sure enough, Bob Nightengale reported that Judge had indeed met with Preller and he received a massive 10-year offer for a reported $400-million.

I had been projecting since this summer that Judge would easily receive 10-years and between $375-million and $425-million, which did happen, but what I didn’t predict is that he would turn a deal like the Padres offered down and accept far less, leaving $40-million on the table and forgoing a an extra-year.

It appears that “legacy” and being the Yankees captain really mattered to him most of all. Aaron Judge really does want to be a Yankee for life. Obviously all Yankees fans are happy that everything worked out and personally, I’ve already begun to think about the future and how the Yankees will proceed from this point forward, with Judge signing a massive nine-year deal in the neighborhood of $360-million.

Implications for 2023

With Judge added, the Yankees payroll now balloons into the CBT’s “Second-Tier.” The payroll now moves up $40-million or so, to approximately $266.5-million, which lands the in the Second-Tier, $6.5-million below Tier-Three’s $273-million wall. The below snapshot is what the Yankees CBT thresholds will look like for the coming season.

  1. Tier One: $233m to $253m = +32% Tax

  2. Tier Two: $253m to $273m = +44% Tax

  3. Tier Three $273m to $293m = +74.5% Tax for first year and then +77% every season after that

  4. Tier 4 $293m or more = 92% Tax

There is a chance Brian Cashman might be allowed to move into Tier-Three, which would allow him to spend up to $26.5-million more. Cashman could also keep the payroll in Tier-Two and instead make some trades designed to dump salary, which I project could net him as much as another $19-million to add to the $6.5-million he presently has to work with. How Cashman maneuvers Stienbrenner’s yacht through this offseason’s seas will be the next ongoing story we follow in the months leading up to the start of the 2023 season.

If directed to stay in Tier-Two, Cashman makes a number of trades and he’d have around $25.5-million to spend. Candidates to be traded would include Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Gleyber Torres, Domingo German, Estevan Florial and Frankie Montas - as all five of these players have positive MTV and are thus desirable to other teams.

Cashman has three very important issues to figure out as Luis Severino, Frankie Montas and Harrison Bader are all due to become free agents following the 2023 campaign, so barring any further moves to be made by Cashman this offseason, if the Yankees largely stand pat this winter, they’ll likely be on the lookout for both rotation and outfield help in the next 12 to 15 months.

A Potential Shocker of a Trade Could Happen

With the Padres and the Dodgers both missing out on Aaron Judge, right now might be Brian Cashman’s best chance of trading Giancarlo Stanton, who of course has a full “no-trade” clause but who might be interested in playing in southern California for either of these two teams, who are clearly interested to some degree in obtaining a slugger. I’ll be very curious to see if a shocking trade on this front develops.

In much the same way as the Twins suckered Cashman and the Yankees into taking Josh Donaldson’s bad contract last year, which enabled them to sign free agent shortstop Carlos Correa, the Yankees might be able to induce either the Padres or the Dodgers to bite on Stanton. If it does come to fruition folks, remember, you first read about it here on SSTN! Of course it’s unlikely the Dodgers would want to get involved with Stanton because there are rumors that they’re freeing up payroll to take a run at Shohei Ohtani, who will be a free agent in 2024. However, the Padres might actually be a legitimate option.

2024 and Beyond

The moving parts above amalgamate to demonstrate how quickly the Yankees’ luxury figure could balloon. Teams crossing the luxury tax for the third consecutive season are taxed at rates of 50% (first $20MM), 65% (next $20MM), 95% (next $20MM) and 110% (all dollars thereafter).

We also know that at least a partial youth-movement is in the cards for the Yankees, with players like Anthony Volpe, Jasson Dominguez, Everson Pereira, Trey Sweeney, and Austin Wells all knocking on the door. According to Roster Resource, as presently constructed, the Yankees have $96.6-million coming off the books ahead of the 2024 offseason.

If the money coming off the books works in lock-step with a partial youth-movement in 2024, the Yankees could conceivably add some serious star-power to fill in the roster. Hal Steinbrenner may also okay Cashman to land a big name starting pitcher this offseason, to help the Yankees contend in 2023 and get partially ahead of the ball before the 2024 offseason strategy comes into focus.

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