The New York Yankees are in a bit of a pickle, as general manager, Brian Cashman does not have the financial flexibility to attack free agency this off-season. With DJ LeMahieu remaining the priority, Cashman is waiting to see if other clubs are willing to offer him more money. If he does not draw any interest above their price range, the Yankees will force LeMahieuâ€˜s representatives to compromise on a more cost-efficient deal. In addition, they are already on the hook for multiple big contracts, including Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton.
Keeping the years down on DJs deal is essential, as heâ€™s getting up there in age, and the Yankees want to ensure they have flexibility in the future. Of course, starting pitching also remains a big issue, as they lost three players this off-season and have not supplemented with any big moves.
Whether it be a trade for a player like Reds’ star Luis Castillo or acquiring a free agent like Corey Kluber, the Bombers are in no-manâ€™s land currently and have no plans to take significant action in the coming days.
The Yankees are essentially castrated by Giancarlo Stantonâ€™s mega-deal. When they acquired him in 2018, they knew he would have to be a focal point moving forward, but fast forward two years, and he is incapable of playing defense due to injuries. Stanton is on the books for $29 million in 2021 and has a contract that expires in 2027. The reality is, heâ€™s making so much money that his cap hit alone is as much as some teams pay their entire organization.
Considering his value has dwindled down to pure offense, the Yankees need to find a way to get around that contract or at least keep him healthy. Over the past two seasons, Stanton has only enjoyed 41 total games, which is just a fraction of a regular season and not even enough to play the full abbreviated 2020 campaign.
However, in 2018, he hit 38 homers with 100 RBIs, but his strikeout rate hovers in the 30% range, which is astronomical. Nonetheless, Stanton is not known for his contact-hitting, but rather his ability to smash baseballs into the upper decks of stadiums. As long as he can stay healthy, the Yankees can extract value from his deal, but that simply hasnâ€™t been the reality of the past two seasons.
His lack of value and unfortunate contract are limiting the Yankees’ ability this off-season, and Cashman has been instructed by ownership to stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold. Donâ€™t expect any big moves, but rather supplementary actions, like signing formally injured players on cost-efficient deals.