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  • James Vlietstra

The Biggest Bargains on the Yankees

by James Vlietstra

June 30, 2022


The Yankees recently settled on a $19M contract with Aaron Judge to avoid an arbitration hearing. This got me wondering who has been the biggest bargain on the Yankees this year if one compares salary to WAR. So, I decided to figure it out in a simple and easy manner.

All the figures below are from Baseball Reference and all salary figures are roughly 50% of the full season salary. I did this because these are just estimates and that makes the math that much easier. Also, players that have spent time in the minors may have salaries significantly lower than the $700K minimum I’m using. Again, this is just a quick exercise to get a general range of each player's worth.

My thought for this exercise began with Aaron Judge. $19M is his yearly salary, so for this exercise we are using $9.5M (salary starts in spring training) as his half way point. To date, he has accumulated 3.7 WAR. This means that each win costs the Yankees $2.56M (9.5M/3.7 = 2.56). That is quite a bargain considering Fangraphs has estimated that the market value of each win above replacement is about $8M.

The following are some of the Yankees' biggest bargains this year:

Jose Trevino 2.1 WAR while making the minimum is $0.1M

Nestor Cortes 2.2 WAR, also making minimum is $0.1M

Michael King 1.4 WAR, league minimum is $0.2M

Clay Holmes 1.9 WAR , salary of $500K so far is $0.2M

Marwin Gonzalez (0.6 WAR) and Matt Carpenter (0.8 WAR) are making close to league minimum for an average of about $1.3M

The combination of Clarke Schmidt (0.6), JP Sears (0.4) and Ron Marinaccio (0.4) is 1.4 WAR while spending a lot of time down in the minors for a combined salary likely under minimum.

This next group of players are all playing above the market value threshold:

Gleyber Torres 2.6 WAR while earning $3M

Jameson Taillon 1.5 WAR, earned $3m

Jordan Montgomery 1.5M, earned $3M

Aaron Judge 3.7 WAR, $9.5M earned

DJ LeMahieu 2.3 WAR, earned $7.5

Isiah Kiner-Falefa 0.6 WAR at $2.5M

Anthony Rizzo 1.5 WAR for $8M

Luis Severino 1.0 WAR for $6M

Josh Donaldson 1.7 WAR for $11M

Finally, these players are currently playing below the rate they are being paid:

Aaron Hicks 0.5WAR, $5.5M

Gerrit Cole 1.6 WAR $18M

Giancarlo Stanton 1.2 WAR $14.5M

Joey Gallo 0.3 WAR, $5M

Aroldis Chapman has played in 17 games and produced a 0.0 WAR for $8M

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