Over the next few months, there will be a ton of speculation on potential free agent signings and trades. Prepare yourself for rumors and musing from fans, the media, and ourselves.
To best make sense of what’s possible, we must start with what we know. The Yankees want to remain under the $189 million luxury tax cap in 2014. As it stands, the Yankees have quite a lot of money on the books, but they believe they can invest up to $300 million this offseason without breaching the budget. Masahiro Tanaka, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran are just a few names that have already been linked to the club.
As I dug deeper into the numbers, it’s clear that the only way the Yankees could possibly invest $300 million for the future and remain under $189 million for the 2014 season is to assume that Alex Rodriguez will be suspended. Alone, Rodriguez’ average annual salary is worth $27.5 million plus a $6 million bonus which kicks in if he hits just 6 more home runs. Although the Yankees have indicated that they’re operating under the assumption that Rodriguez will be their third baseman, this would make it impossible for them to spend on anyone, including re-signing Robinson Cano. For this reason, I’m not including Rodriguez in my estimations, but for those curious, you can simply add $33.5 million to the estimations.
1- C: Chris Stewart (Arb 1) $1.000MM
2- 1B: Mark Teixeira (8/$180MM) $22.500MM
3- 2B: David Adams (Min) $0.511MM
4- 3B: Jayson Nix (Arb 2) $1.400MM
5- SS: Derek Jeter (1/$12.81MM) $12.810MM + $7.000MM Bonuses
6- LF: Alfonso Soriano (8/$136MM) $17.000MM
7- CF: Brett Gardner (Arb 3) $4.000MM
8- RF: Ichiro Suzuki (2/$13MM) $6.500MM
9- DH: Vernon Wells (7/$126MM) $18.000MM
10- BN: Austin Romine (Min) $0.511MM
11- BN: Eduardo Nunez (Min) $0.511MM
12- BN: J.R. Murphy (Min) $0.511MM
13- BN: Francisco Cervelli (Arb 1) $1.000MM
14- SP1: CC Sabathia (5/$122MM) $24.400MM
15- SP2: Ivan Nova (Arb 1) $2.800MM
16- SP3: Michael Pineda (Min) $0.511MM
17- SP4: David Phelps (Min) $0.511MM
18- SP5: Adam Warren (Min) $0.511MM
19- CL: David Robertson (Arb 3) $5.500MM
20- RHRP: Shawn Kelley (Arb 2) $1.500MM
21- RHRP: Preston Claiborne (Min) $0.511MM
22- RHRP: Dellin Betances (Min) $0.511MM
23- RHRP: Matt Daley (Min) $0.511MM
24- LHRP: Vidal Nuno (Min) $0.511MM
25- LHRP: Cesar Cabral (Min) $0.511MM
26- LHSP: Manny Banuelos (Min) $0.040MM
27- LHSP: Nik Turley (Min) $0.040MM
28- RHSP: Brett Marshall (Min+) $0.040MM
29- RHSP: Jose Ramirez (Min) $0.040MM
30- RHSP: Bryan Mitchell* (Min) $0.040MM
31- RHSP: Shane Greene* (Min) $0.040MM
32- RHRP: Matt Daley (Min+) $0.080MM
33- RHRP: Chase Whitley* (Min) $0.040MM
34- RHRP: Tommy Kahnle* (Min) $0.040MM
35- RHRP: Danny Burawa* (Min) $0.040MM
36- C: Gary Sanchez* (Min) $0.040MM
37- IF: Corban Joseph (Min+) $0.080MM
38- OF: Zoilo Almonte (Min+) $0.080MM
39- OF: Ramon Flores (Min) $0.040MM
40- OF: Slade Heathcott* (Min) $0.040MM
* Indicates Rule 5 eligible players not currently on the 40-man roster.
Total Roster Owed- $132.302
Salary Relief- -$13MM (From Cubs for Soriano), -$18MM (From Angels for Wells)
Player Benefits- $12MM
Cushion For Non-25-Man Players- $3.5MM
Current Budget Owed- $116.802MM
Current Budget Remaining- $72.198MM
So let’s explain some of these numbers. Arbitration eligible players are marked by the (Arb 1), (Arb 2), or (Arb 3) sign, indicating the year of arbitration. All the salaries assumed were calculated by MLB Trade Rumors, which has proven to be very accurate over the last couple of years. Players making the league minimum are assumed to be paid $511,000 in 2013. This was calculated by averaging the league minimum paid by the Yankees in 2012, and then adding a $10,000 raise due to mandatory minimum salary increases in the CBA for 2013. Salaries for players such as Teixeira and Sabathia are easy to calculate based on dividing their total contract by years. For players like Soriano and Wells, the AAV was assumed until salary relief was added. In the end, Soriano will be paid $4 million for 2014 by the Yankees, and although the math is more complicated due to a signing bonus, the Yankees owe Wells nothing. I also added $7 million for the potential bonuses that Jeter will receive. The chances of him receiving all this money are minuscule, but the club needs to be cautious in case of emergency.
For the 15 players not on the 25-man roster, the majority of them will be paid the 2013 minor league minimum salary of $39,900 indicated by the MLB CBA in Article VI, A, 3. These players who do not have major league experience are indicated by the (min) sign. For any player that has major league experience, but outside of the 25-man major league roster, indicated by the (min+) sign, they will receive $79,900 based on Article VI, A, 2, (ii) of the MLB CBA. However, most of these players will see major league time, and thus will eventually see major league minimum money for at least a portion of the season. I added a $3.5 million cushion for this instance later on in the calculations.
Finally, every team in baseball pays player benefits of around $12 million. When this is all added up, without any acquisitions this winter, I believe the Yankees are looking at around $116.802 million owed for 2014. This leaves them with $72.198 million to spend. Obviously some players will be removed from these calculations when trades, options, outrights, and releases occur, but that’s when we can simply add and subtract the new and old salaries. For instance, if Brian McCann is signed and Chris Stewart released, the Yankees would then add McCann’s average annual salary and remove Stewart’s $1 million.
With the numbers calculated, you can assume that re-signing Cano will leave the club with around $50 million to sign other players. The Yankees won’t be adding a 2008-type haul like they did with Sabathia, Teixeira, and A.J. Burnett, but they could certainly afford to add a couple big name players like McCann and Tanaka and reach that $300 million investment.