The New York Yankees will need every cent they can get if their No. 1 goal is to retain Aaron Judge on a contract extension. This season, the Yankees had $249 million in estimated final payroll with $188 million for the 2023 season before arbitration.
Their main contracts come from Gerrit Cole, Giancarlo Stanton, and Josh Donaldson, who is set to earn $25 million next season. The expectation is that Anthony Rizzo will reject his player option for the 2023 campaign in hopes of landing a bit more money, but the Yankees should be able to clear some salary off the books one way or another.
Aside from the expectation that general manager Brian Cashman tries to offload Josh Donaldson and Aaron Hicks, they are losing a few players to free agency that will open up a substantial amount of funds.
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Yankees clearing $42 million this off-season:
1.) Aroldis Chapman
Aroldis Chapman earned $18 million during the 2022 season, putting together a 4.46 ERA, 10.65 strikeouts per nine, and a 73.8% left on-base rate over 36.1 innings. This was arguably Chapman‘s worst season as a professional, falling out of favor with the team, and deciding to skip out on the postseason and sit at home.
Having abandoned his team in an important moment, there’s no chance the Yankees bring back Chapman in the future. He will clear $18 million off the books moving forward, which the Yankees can directly apply to Judge.
2.) Zack Britton
The Bombers barely got any value out of Zack Britton the past few seasons, pitching just 38 innings over the past three campaigns combined. He didn’t even pitch one full inning for the Yankees this year, so he will take the $14 million he was on the books for in 2022 to free agency.
Given the Yankees signed Britton to a three-year, $39 million deal and barely got any production out of him during that time, they are likely excited about the prospect of getting that money back and applying it elsewhere.
3.) Joey Gallo
The Yankees locked down Joey Gallo on a one-year, $10 million deal for the 2022 season. They paid the majority of his contract before trading him to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Unfortunately, Gallo was never able to live up to expectations in New York, despite his style of play fitting the bill perfectly. With Gallo also off the roster, the Yankees will have about $42 million in additional funds to spread around. They can apply that to Judge and spread it around to some more talent.
Ideally, they will also find a way to rid them selves of the $25 million on Donaldson‘s contract and the $10 million from Hicks’s deal. If they can figure that out, Cashman should be able to save $77 million, which could land Judge and a few other talented players.