2018-19 Yankees Free Agency – Right Turn Right By The Luxury Tax
The right turn is based on the theory that Hal Steinbrenner says the heck with the luxury tax and cannot pass up generational talent. With that in mind the Yankees, the Yankees do not need to stay below $209 million in 2019. That means that the 2018-19 Yankees Free Agency plan has $25.31 million left ($209 million – $183.69 million) before they hit the luxury tax threshold and they blow right by. This fork we will affectionately refer to as the “Harper Fork.”
Harper is arguably a generational talent who grew up not shying away from the spotlight. In his first six-plus years with the big boys, he has hit .285 with a .519 slugging percentage and an OPS of .908. He already has 158 home runs, scored 525 runs, and has a career WAR of 26.8. He is a five-time all-star with a 2012 Rookie of the Year and 2015 MVP award to his credit.
It’s true that Harper has missed time due to injury but it is important to remember what the injuries were. He has missed time with a hip injury (running into the wall), his ribs (same affliction), his back (can you guess why), and it was revealed that he had right shoulder and neck soreness that plagued him last year. He is young and emotionally charged and plays aggressively. He goes for every ball and that leads to the wall from time to time. He appears to be playing a bit smarter over the last year and a half judging by games played.
Another point to consider is Harper bats from the left-side of the plate. 81 times a year Harper will be at Yankee Stadium drooling over the short porch in right-field. It is not out of the question to see 50 home run seasons in his future with that number of games in the House That Jeter Built. After all, Harper grew up in Las Vegas but has been a Yankee fan for life. That has to amp him up every time he steps on the field at Yankee Stadium.
It is no secret that Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, wants to break the single-season and overall value contract records with Harper. The Yankees could conceivably make that happen for him. One point of interest is that contracts of the size that Harper will sign can only be met by a small handful of teams. The terms being discussed are in the 10-15 year range with a value of $400 million – $500 million. The 2018-19 Yankees Free Agency plan could make that dream a reality. Let’s assume the Yankees are somewhere in the middle and Harper gets a deal of 12 years/ $450 million good for an absolutely insane $37.5 million average annual salary. I can see the Yankees front-loading the contract for the first three years in the $45 million – $48 million range while players like Judge, Sanchez, and Severino are all under team control.
2018-19 Yankees Free Agency – New Payroll After Machado and Harper Signings
$183 million was the baseline team payroll for the end of this season. Then there was $44.31 million coming off the books in “dead money.” That works out to $138.69 million (remember that this number still includes a $15 million mid-season spending pool). Last season the Yankees settled with all eight arbitration-eligible players. For the sake of this piece, we will add 33 percent to last year’s arbitration total, which is not accurate but an overinflated “safe” number in my mind. That 33 percent adds $10 million (33 percent of last year’s $30 million). The new team payroll total is $148.69 million. Now the Yankees and Manny Machado have agreed to a deal worth 10 years/$350 million. Then Harper and the Yankees agree to the deal mentioned with an average annual value of $37.5 million. That puts the first move in 2018-19 Yankees Free Agency at a new team payroll of $221.19 million which is over the luxury tax but not into horrible penalty range.
2018-19 Yankees Free Agency – Right Turn Possible Lineup and Rotation for 2019
***NOTE: Don’t rule out another $10 million on a fifth starter or some insurance for Justus Sheffield***
|2B||Gleyber Torres||Luis Severino|
|RF||Aaron Judge||Masahiro Tanaka|
|DH||Bryce Harper||Sonny Gray|
|SS||Manny Machado||Jordan Montgomery|
|LF||Giancarlo Stanton||Justus Sheffield|
|3B||Brandon Drury / Miguel Andujar|
2018-19 Yankees Free Agency – Final Thoughts
There you have it, two 2018-19 Yankees Free Agency nuclear options for this year and through the hot stove season. I can already hear the masses questioning how this could be possible when the Yankees will have to address Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez long-term. Let’s not forget, there are two contracts that will be coming off the books at the end of the 2020 season in Masahiro Tanaka ($23 million) and Jacoby Ellsbury ($21 million). That aligns before the arbitration process ends for Judge and Sanchez. They could give each a contract that buys out the end of arbitration at $20 million per season for five years since both will be 30 by then.
Now you have seen two nuclear options for 2018-19 Yankees Free Agency. Here at NY Yankees Digest we are all for readers commenting but can we make a suggestion? Why don’t you write your own piece? It can be 3000 words or even 300. Here we encourage different opinions and want to give you a chance to build your brand. Join us and let your voice be heard. Just check out the Write With Us link to get started. Don’t worry its easy and remember you can build your brand by writing with us and not for us. That is a big difference. It is all about you in your words.