Yankees stand to gain $22.5 million by letting two pitchers walk

frankie montas, yankees
Aug 29, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Frankie Montas (47) throws to the plate in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are staring at an intriguing fiscal scenario. With an active total payroll of $280.25 million, they’ll have a much-reduced $189 million on the books before entering the arbitration phase in 2024. Thanks to contracts expiring for Josh Donaldson and several pitchers, they’re looking at an estimated $50 million or more in spending power, subject to how far owner Hal Steinbrenner is willing to venture beyond the second luxury tax threshold.

Balancing Young Talent and Free Agency: A Tightrope Walk

If the Yankees decide to go on a shopping spree, a host of gifted players could potentially don the pinstripes. Yet, it’s essential to note that several of their young prospects have shown great promise. These up-and-comers could assume starting roles in 2024, thus allowing the team to spend their dollars more wisely.

The Japanese Sensation: Yoshinobu Yamamoto on Yankees’ Radar

General Manager Brian Cashman appears quite keen on Japanese star pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Slated to earn north of $20 million per season once posted by the Orix Buffaloes this winter, Yamamoto could be the perfect fit for the Yankees. If Cashman plans to reallocate the $22.5 million saved from the exits of Frankie Montas and Luis Severino, landing Yamamoto—arguably one of the market’s hottest pitchers—could be a reality.

Assessing the Severino Situation: A Tough Call

At 29, Severino will be wrapping up a less-than-impressive 2023 season. After boasting a 3.18 ERA over 102 innings in 2022, this year sees him finishing with a dismal 6.65 ERA over 89.1 innings. While the front office could opt to re-sign one of their outgoing pitchers for a lesser amount, channeling that saved money into acquiring a talent like Yamamoto seems like an astute move. With over 160 innings pitched for three consecutive years and only 25 years old, Yamamoto emerges as an alluring free-agent option.

Montas’ Return: A Conundrum

Montas, meanwhile, is coming off shoulder surgery and has recently kicked off his rehab assignment. Though he yielded just one earned run over one inning and struck out two batters in a 17-pitch stint, his 2023 performance doesn’t inspire the highest confidence. After posting a respectable 4.05 ERA last season, including a 3.18 ERA with the Oakland Athletics, his ERA ballooned to 6.35 over 39.2 innings with the Yankees following a trade.

Evaluating Front Office Strategies: Major Overhauls Likely

The Yankees’ front office will likely go through extensive evaluations this off-season, possibly heralding significant strategic shifts depending on the personnel at the helm. They may decide to clean the slate and part ways with injury-prone talent like Montas and Severino. However, given the available funds and the possibility of acquiring top-notch talent at the right price, every option should be carefully considered.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: