The New York Yankees They’ve had an aggressive offseason, retaining right fielder and MVP Aaron Judge in a record-breaking free agent deal and bringing in left-handed starter Carlos Rodón on a six-year contract. Those additions, plus a new two-year contract for first baseman Anthony Rizzo, accomplished most of the club’s heavy lifting.
It also positioned the organization to surpass last year’s record level of franchise spending. NY has roughly $272 million in player payroll commitments, according to Roster Resource, well up from last year’s $254.7 million. The club’s luxury tax number compares to the $293MM line that marks the highest level of CBT penalty. Roster Resource projects the organization at $292.3 million today:
That last number seems particularly important to the organization. Jon Heyman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees don’t want to exceed the $293MM threshold. Given where their payroll stands, sticking rigidly to that goal would rule out any other notable additions unless the club finds a way to part with some of the money.
The Yankees’ roster looks strong, with Rodón replacing Jameson Taillon in the rotation of a team that won 99 regular-season games and reached the AL Championship Series. Left field looks like his biggest question mark, as last summer’s deadline acquisition Andrew Benintendi departed on a five-year free agent deal with the White Sox.
The Yankees currently have veteran Aaron Hicks and youngster Oswaldo Cabrera as their top options in left field. Hicks has posted below-average offensive numbers the past two seasons. Cabrera showed up well as a rookie, but he only has 44 games of MLB experience to his credit.
Heyman reiterates the Yankees’ previously reported interest in free-agent left fielder Jurickson Profar, but casts doubt on his chances of landing him in light of the club’s roster stance. Heyman reports that veteran utility Josh Harrison is also of interest, presumably as an infield depth target that could also factor in the left field combination, but even a low base salary for Harrison could push them past the CBT mark. of $293MM.
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The fourth tax level was introduced during the last round of collective bargaining. Setting $60MM above the season base figure ($233MM this year), implies at least an 80% tax on every dollar spent beyond the fourth tier. Teams that pay the luxury tax for the second year in a row, as the Yankees will, pay a 90% tax on the additional expenses.
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MLB News: Yankees reluctant to break fourth luxury tax bracket; how much will he pay if he passes?