Yankees clearing over $80 million with players hitting free agency

Alexander Wilson
anthony rizzo, new york yankees
Oct 11, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo (48) celebrates after the Yankees beat the Cleveland Guardians in game one of the ALDS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are gearing up for a busy free agency starting in just a few days, but they will have plenty of financial freedom given the contracts departing.

General manager Brian Cashman knew he would have a bit more flexibility this off-season since owner Hal Steinbrenner was preparing for the imminent Aaron Judge contract extension. However, with the Yankees being knocked out of the postseason prematurely and Judge receiving boos despite a historic regular season, the chances of him staying in pinstripes are dwindling.

If Judge doesn’t stay in the Bronx, it won’t be because the Yankees didn’t offer him a sizable contract, it will be because he wants to play for another team, whether that be the New York Mets across town or the San Francisco Giants on the West Coast.

Steinbrenner has plenty of money to get the deal done and then continue spending in free agency to build a World Series-caliber team, but Cashman needs to hit on more of his signings in the future.

The Yankees are preparing to clear over $80 million in available funds, which should take care of Judge’s contract with ease and provide even more space to continue acquiring talent.

Yankees’ players hitting free agency:

1.) Aaron Judge

Judge signed a one-year, $19 million deal in arbitration with the Yankees this season. He’s expected to land a deal north of $35 million per year, which clearly has the Yankees on edge given their $31.5 million per year offer before the 2022 season began. He rejected that and rubbed it in Brian Cashman‘s face breaking the single-season home run record and putting together an elite campaign worthy of an MVP award.

2.) Anthony Rizzo

Rizzo sign a two-year, $32 million extension with the Yankees last off-season, but he is expected to opt-out of his deal in search of more money. That will clear $16 million off the books, but they would prefer to keep Rizzo around, so that could balloon even higher if they don’t find an alternative, which is likely.

3.) Aroldis Chapman

One player that is 100% gone is Aroldis Chapman, who earned a lofty $18 million last season to produce dismal numbers at 34 years old. He featured a 4.46 ERA over 36.1 innings, sustaining multiple injuries, one of which stemmed from a tattoo that got infected. Chapman bailed out of the postseason, watching from his couch at home as his team got knocked out in a clean sweep against the Astros. That’s one way to rub dirt in the face of your legacy.

4.) Zack Britton

Lefty relief pitcher Zack Britton made just one appearance for the Yankees this year coming off Tommy John surgery. He earned $14 million, so the Yankees will recoup a sizable amount of money they can be allocated toward a player like Andrew Benintendi or even apply it toward Rizzo’s contract.

5.) Marwin Gonzalez

Cashman signed former Astro Marwin Gonzalez to feature as a utility man for the season. Offensively, he offered next to nothing, but at $1.15 million, but expectations were low, to begin with. He will save them a few bucks, but we’ve seen that money can be used far more efficiently, considering Nestor Cortés earned less than $1 million this season.

6.) Jameson Taillon

It is possible the Yankees bring back Jameson Taillon, but they have the majority of their starting rotation healthy and added Frankie Montas at the trade deadline. Taillon earned $5.8 million last season and is expected to get a bit more money in free agency this year after a solid campaign. In fact, it seems like the Mets, who are preparing to lose most of their starting rotation, could look at Taillon as a solid back end option.

7.) Miguel Castro

The Bombers acquired Miguel Castro from the Mets in exchange for Joely Rodriguez before the season began. Castro earned $2.6 million in arbitration last season, but he’s hitting free agency as well so the Yankees will recoup that money. Cashman could look to retain him at a cheap price point given his plus velocity and solid pitch movement.

8.) Chad Green

The Yankees will let bullpen arm Chad Green walk in FA after undergoing Tommy John surgery this year as well. He earned $4 million for the season, a pretty penny the Yankees can easily flip into a more productive player.

Overall, the Yankees will have about $80.55 million from these players to spread around.