Why The Yankees Will Be Extremely Active On The Trade Market

Let’s get this offseason started with some good old fashioned speculation. No, I don’t think Alex Rodriguez is leaving New York, and no, I don’t particularly think Curtis Granderson should be traded either, but there is still reason to believe the Yankees will be active in the trade market.

Throughout this offseason, the front office must keep in mind a few guidelines they never faced before. For one, 2014 is the big budget year. $189 million is nothing to blink at, but for the Yankees, it would be their lowest payroll since 2004. The current 2014 payroll obligations sit at $75 million, but there are quite a few players that will see arbitration bonuses, as well as an $8 million Jeter option, which could reach $17 million with incentives. For right now, we should assume they owe $100 million in 2014, and that’s without two outfielders, a second baseman, a catcher, likely a couple starting pitchers, and a closer.

Robinson Cano should see an extension in the $20 million range, and there’s a good chance Russell Martin sees something around $6-7 million a year. Who knows what happens with Mariano Rivera, but do you really want to be in the position where you can’t give him a $15 million contract if he decides to keep playing? It looks like we’ll have around $45 million to put together two outfielders, two starting pitchers, and the rest of the bench and bullpen. This assumes there aren’t any other needs on a team that’ll be sporting starting players in their 40′s. $45 million won’t get us as far as we think if you plan to replace the value of guys like Hiroki Kuroda, Curtis Granderson, and Nick Swisher.

There are a few players available on the free agent market that could provide part of the answers. With the overall age of the team rising, I doubt older and injury prone players like Josh Hamilton make sense, however young pitchers like Anibal Sanchez and Zack Greinke do fit better. Still, these guys will demand long term contracts that don’t bode well for a team that already has Mark Teixeira, Rodriguez, and CC Sabathia until 2016/2017. These three main positions demand younger players with cheap team control, and with hardly any players ready for the majors in the farm system, the Yankees are best fit looking at the trade market.

While they might not necessarily land him, a guy like Justin Upton is the perfect example of what they should target. He’s young, relatively low priced in salary, and he’s available for prospects. The Yankees don’t match up perfectly, but they could certainly gut their farm system for an equivalent high upside outfielder and starting pitcher.

The only real worry here is that without much in the farm system, it sets them up with little depth in the future, however the Yankees will have money to spend again after 2014. Once they’ve reached their budget of $189 million, the luxury tax percentages are reset the following year, and the Yankees can spend the next few years, gobbling up free agents like we’ve grown accustomed to.

But that’s not the only insurance they have in regards to depleting the system, even if the Yankees lose the majority of their prospects, they’ll have a new set right behind them. There’s a good chance that Nick Swisher, Rafael Soriano, and Hiroki Kuroda each receive qualifying free agent offers when the season completes, and if all three decide to move on to another team, the Yankees could potentially be be sitting on 4 first round picks in the 2013 draft. That’s the same amount of first round picks they’ve had over the last four drafts combined.

With the likelihood of an army of first round picks on their way, the best way to replenish the major league team with young cheap talent by 2014 may be to gut the farm this offseason. Barring one of the three from retiring, the Yankees will know how many compensation picks they’ll receive within the first two weeks of the offseason. After that, expect Cashman to be one of the most active GM’s on the trade market.

Mike is the co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money. Outside of blogging baseball, Mike is also a musician, a runner, and a beer lover.

6 thoughts on “Why The Yankees Will Be Extremely Active On The Trade Market

  1. With the long term contracts, re-negotiations for marginally productive free agents etc, the best we can hope for is more and higher draft picks if the front office finally realizes that this aging team needs fresh,young talent to balance the parity in the ALDS and ALDS.

  2. Victor

    I believe that the Yankees need to get younger. They should resign Russell Martin & Kurodhi and make some smart decisions. Bench needs to get younger as well thanks Raul & Andrew but need new fresh blood. Also lets not forget Michael Pinedo need him in rotation. Listen it’s not all A- Rod fault team batted .188 in ALCS 14-125 with bunch of strikeouts. Kevin Long needs to do some work and Giradi needs to run some more. Bring Ichario back at cheaper price if all else fails.

  3. bottom line

    Yes, by all means trade away our few top prospects for quick fixes. Why not relive the glory years of 1981-95 when we had no young talent — except the ones we traded off for veterans.
    This has to be the most wrong-headed piece I’ve ever read on this generally fine blog. Prospects now are more valuable than they ever were as Selig tightens the noose further through new restrictions on talent acquisition for big-market and winning tesms — translation: the NY Yankees. Sanchez, Austin and Williams should be untouchable as we may not have comparably talented position prospects in many years. And why is it that every rumored trade includes these guys? Because that’ who the other teams covet.

  4. Michael

    Because of all of the new rule changes its imperative the Yankees look to trade some of their big time players. Not rebuilding, more like retooling. The new rules make it much more difficult for the Yankees to use their biggest asset (money) to their advantage. Aside from the salary limit that the Yankees want to get under (just so Hank and Hal can pocket more money but dont get me started) there is a draft cap, and an international free agent cap as well. Yankees wont ever be like most teams in baseball but they will be brought back to earth very soon.

    1. Offer Nick Swisher and Rafeal Soriano qulifying offers. They would both probably decline in order to sign multiyear deals elsewhere and the Yankees get two 1st round picks. I like Swisher as a person and as a player, but the guy doesn’t hit in the postseason. Its not a small sample size either, or just reactionary talk from his recent struggles. His entire career dating back to when he was with the A’s he never has. I hope he gets the money he wants, just gets it elsewhere.

    2. Trade Granderson this offseason. I am not totally sure that he makes enough consistent contact as he ages to hit 40+ home runs again next year or in coming years. He is the one of the two association representatives of the MLBPA, so you know he isnt going to take a discount when he becomes a free agent. Offense out of the CF position is valuable, and he is on an affordable 1 year deal for a player of his caliber. so he should bring something back. The Yankees have several internal candidates to move into CF so it wouldnt mean they have to buy a free agent.

  5. brad

    If the Yankees don’t decide to blow past 189 million in 2014, that means they are probably under-dogs to make playoffs in that year. Right?

  6. FreeAgentID

    I agree Michael.
    Get deals Yankees!

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