The New York Yankees made big waves in the baseball world this week. They achieved their number one offseason priority re-signing DJ LeMahieu, and they did it for less than they thought it would cost them annually. In turn, they gave LeMahieu a six-year deal that will likely carry him into retirement. Because of the annual money they saved, they were able to jump on a deal they had been negotiating and signed two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to a one-year $11 million deal, strengthening a pitching rotation that lacked any veterans behind ace Gerrit Cole.
This reporter believes that those expenditures will pretty much do it for the Yankees unless they can pick up a quality reliever relatively cheap. That’s not to say that there won’t be more additions to the team, but if there are they will likely be by the way of the trade. For instance the New York Yankees have shown and interest in Luis Castillo who is with the Cincinnati Reds. That could be accomplished by the Yankees giving up probably three prospects in order to bring Castillo to Yankee Stadium.
According to Roster resource the Yankees payroll stands at $201 million with the signing of both LeMahieu, Kluber and the arbitration raises. The Yankees luxury tax ledger is estimated at just over $207MM. Add to that Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner said earlier in the offseason that he want to stay below the threshold of $210MM. With that in mind and the acquisition of Kluber it pretty much precludes the Yankees from bring back pitcher Masahiro Tanaka that just finished his stint with the Yankees.
If they chose to spend the remaining money they do have enough to bring back the veteran Brett Gardner or pick up a low priced middle inning reliever and still stay below the threshold. However, there is another possibility, that the Yankees actually find a perfect fit for the team and chose to go over that limit, which is unlikely with still not having a clear picture of what the 2021 season will look like financially.
The New York Yankees and all the other MLB teams know that the league will try to complete a 162 game season. It is also known that MLB will allow fans in the stands this season. However, the final say on that is in the hands of the local health or government officials. The more games MLB plays without fans in the stands, the money those teams will lose. At the present moment New York state is banning large gatherings in venues. Although Governor Cuomo of New York did allow limited fans in the stands for Buffalo Bill’s games.
Assuming the coronavirus vaccines are successful most teams will have at least a limited amount of fans to create revenues and reduce costs. The Players Union (MLBPA) has made it clear that they want players paid for the full 162 games season whether there are fans in the stands or not.