The New York Yankees will be trying to open up salary space across the board this off-season to invest in free agency. If they want to sign a player like Yoshinobu Yamamoto and others, they will need flexibility, and there’s a way to achieve that.
Committing to a number of prospects would help them keep costs down and allow them to move on from some expensive players in arbitration.
Pre-arbitration players are earning around $750K per year, opening up the idea of saving millions. The Yankees currently have a projected total payroll of $249.8 million next year after arbitration, which opens up a bit of maneuverability. Let’s take a look at a few players in arbitration they should likely move on from.
Three Yankees who could be DFAs:
The Yankees lost bullpen arm Lou Trivino before the 2023 season even began. At 32 years old, Trivino underwent Tommy John surgery back in early May, but he did look good for the Yankees over a small sample size after being acquired from the Oakland Athletics in the deal that brought Frankie Montas to the Bronx.
Trivino posted a 1.66 ERA across 21.2 innings, but coming off Tommy John surgery and with an expected salary of $4.1 million, the team can likely get better value at a cheaper cost. Considering the team stumbled upon Ian Hamilton, who is just at the beginning of his arbitration process, it is safe to say they can make the $4.1 million go much further.
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Instead of designating catcher Kyle Higashioka for assignment, the Yankees are better off moving him via trade. There must be a team out there that needs to upgrade the position or add more depth.
At the very least, Higashioka fits the bill perfectly for a competent starter. At 33 years old, Kyle is entering the final year of arbitration and is set to earn $2.3 million, but the Yankees are starting to transition toward Austin Wells, which saves them a substantial amount of cash.
Higashioka hit .237 with a .274 OBP, including 10 homers and 34 RBIs this past season over 92 games. He posted several above-average defensive metrics behind the dish, indicating that he can be a valuable piece for another club. Getting a prospect in return would be more than enough, and the Yankees should be scouring the trade market for opportunities.
One player we can guarantee won’t be here any longer is Franchy Cordero. Cordero is set to earn $1.6 million and struggled considerably this past season in the MLB.
At 29 years old, Cordero hit .188 with a .211 OBP, including six homers and 13 RBIs across 24 games. He was excellent with Triple-A, hitting .288 with a .403 OBP, but his metrics simply didn’t transition to the majors. Saving that cash and finding a decent bullpen arm or stockpiling it for a star talent should be an easy decision for the Yankees brass.