The New York Yankees currently have a projected total payroll of $201.6 million. They have about $60 million to spend before they reach a similar payroll to their 2022 totals, but they could continue pushing beyond the luxury tax threshold and into the second tier, which would count for a 42.5% sub-charge.
Owner Hal Steinbrenner has a few big decisions to make, and one of them is retaining superstar slugger Aaron Judge, who has indicated he prefers to land with a club that will continue adding pieces behind him.
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If general manager Brian Cashman gets the green light to pursue one of the top pitching options on the market, they could create one of the best rotations in baseball. In fact, the Yankees have already connected with three of the top options, including Carlos Rodon, Justin Verlander, and Japanese star, Kodai Senga.
“But while this has gone mostly unreported, the Yankees also are looking to augment their solid rotation, and have been in contact with Hall of Fame-bound Justin Verlander, Japanese star Kodai Senga and resurgent Carlos Rodon..”Per Jon Heyman of the New York Post.
The Yankees have the money to pursue a top pitcher:
Cashman tried to land Verlander on a one-year, $25 million deal this past off-season, but he ended up signing a two-year, $50 million deal with a player option for the second season. Verlander opted out, looking for a Max Scherzer type of contract worth over $40 million per year on a three-year deal.
Realistically, Verlander will likely earn a bit less than that, but the Yankees may be willing to give more money for shorter years, given the American League Cy Young winner is 39 years old and heading toward the back end of his career.
Rodon, on the other hand, is 29 years old and certainly has a bit more longevity. He would likely be an alternative if Aaron Judge signs elsewhere since the years may be a bit more significant. However, Senga is a big risk with upside. In the Nippon league, Senga recorded a 1.94 ERA this past season over 22 games, he pitched 144 total earnings and struck out 156 batters.
Senga is an incredibly talented pitcher with extraordinary velocity. He clocked his fastball at 101.9 mph in 2022, so if we can transition that type of speed to the MLB, he could be a huge asset. However, going with a proven option like Verlander may be more advisable but far more expensive. Whereas Verlander may count $40+ million, Senga is expected to land a deal at about $15 million per season.
Adding one of these pitchers would create a super-rotation headlined by Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortés, Luis Severino, and Frankie Montas. Since the Bombers project to have Josh Donaldson and Aaron Hicks off the roster by next year, they will have plenty of available salary space opening up to readjust their luxury tax sub-charge.