Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Right now, the Yankees are simply worrying about whether or not they're going to have a season to play in 2020. But, with the hiatus, it's worth examining how this roster is set up at the moment, and more specifically, how it could change next season and in the short-term future.
This season, the Yankees are primed to contend for a World Series title, and that was evident when GM Brian Cashman said you know what to the luxury tax threshold and paid Gerrit Cole $324 million over the next nine seasons to be his bonafide ace. That was added to the massive amount remaining on Giancarlo Stanton's contract.
So, as of now, the Yankees are at $239 million, which is well over the $208 million threshold. A World Series would definitely suffice with that kind of spending. But what about spending for the future?
There are multiple Yankees on the roster that could -- and should -- be thought about with long-term contracts in mind. Cashman was quick to hand out long-term extensions last season, when Luis Severino and Aaron Hicks both signed deals to avoid hitting the market any time soon. Also, the burden of Jacoby Ellsbury's contract is no longer there after this season.
Who's next? Some key cogs in this could-be Yankees dynasty should be seeing some extension talks down the road, starting with a very obvious one...
He's the face of the franchise and one of the most recognizable faces of baseball, too. Judge settled with an $8.5 million salary before hitting arbitration for 2020, and he still has two years left before he is to become a free agent.
But it's fair to say that Cashman should never let him hit the open market.
The All-Star and former AL Rookie of the Year still hasn't reached his full potential -- Spotrac's market value at $28.5 million per season says as much -- and he has captain material written all over him.
He shouldn't get Mike Trout money (12 years, $426 million), but it wouldn't be crazy to think the Yankees could be close to, if not at $300 million when extension talks begin to intensify.
Judge and Sanchez were the first two pillars of the Baby Bombers, which means the latter should also be considered when thinking about long-term pieces.
His production has been very up and down, but Cashman has been steady in believing in Sanchez' abilities to get better and more consistent. That confidence in the backstop should lead to a contract, and a better 2020 would only solidify that statement.
He was only into the first year of his two-year pact worth $24 million with the Yankees last season, and his performance led to everyone saying the Yankees should give him at least five more.
We'll see what happens, but LeMahieu certainly earned whatever is coming his way. He was the team's MVP last season and he picked up right where he left off before spring training was suspended. LeMahieu's versatility in the field makes him invaluable to the organization, and he should be rewarded for that.
I know he still has four years left of arbitration. But after back-to-back All-Star bids in his first two years, Torres' stardom will only rise by the year. And you can make the argument that he is the Yankees' best position player already at just 23 years old.
Like Cashman did with Severino and Hicks, why not try to talk an extension with Torres right away? He not only gets an immediate payday instead of having to go through arbitration for a couple years and wait, but the Yankees would get him below market value.
Unless Torres really wants to bet on himself down the road, it would be a win-win for both sides to get a deal done sooner rather than later. And like Judge, this is someone Cashman knows he needs to lock down.
Another unrestricted free agent after this season, the Yankees might want to give Paxton a long-term deal depending on what he puts together this season.
Paxton had a strong second half, and more importantly, proved he can be trusted after his first postseason in 2019. Plus, Cashman traded for him before last season began knowing when his contract was going to be up. That shows keeping him in pinstripes after that expired was in the cards.
Granted Severino returns to his normal self after Tommy John surgery, Paxton serving as the No. 3 when he could be a No. 1 or No. 2 elsewhere in the league would make for a very dominant rotation -- one the Yankees were hoping to benefit from this season in the first place.
This is a tricky one despite Tanaka being with the team since 2014 when he came over from Japan to sign a seven-year, $155 million deal.
At 31, he's set to hit the open market just like Paxton, who is the same age. Tanaka has also been the team's most consistent starter over the years, remaining in the rotation when others have fallen to injury. His postseason resume also speaks for itself.
But through all that good, there is still the major worry about the partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow that could lead to Tommy John surgery down the road. Will Cashman be willing to pay him long-term with that in mind?