The reports are already making the rounds that the New York Yankees are preparing to spend big this off-season with Robinson Cano, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran and Masuhiro Tanaka the top targets. Obviously landing all of those players would put the Yankees very close to the $189 million luxury tax which means the Yankees could be forgoing getting under the tax in order to field a more competitive team next season.
As it stands right now the Yankees have between $65 and $90 million to pay with this off-season depending on how Alex Rodriguez’s arbitration hearing goes and whether or not he is suspended. If Rodriguez is suspended the Yankees would have to fill voids at third base, catcher, the starting rotation and the bullpen while finding a bench somewhere. So, if they do sign all four, or even three of those free agents, there won’t be a lot of money left over.
The Yankees currently have Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, Ichiro Suzuki, Alfonso Soriano and Vernon Wells under contract for next season. Derek Jeter owns a player option which he is expected to exercise. David Robertson, Brett Gardner, Jayson Nix, Ivan Nova, Francisco Cervelli, Shawn Kelley and Chris Stewart are all arbitration eligible. That leaves a lot of open spots on the roster. There are 14 players under contract or due to hit arbitration which leaves 11 spots to fill. Some of those spots will go to guys like David Phelps, Michael Pineda, Vidal Nuno, Adam Warren, Preston Claiborne, Dellin Betances and Eduardo Nunez.
To put it simply, the Yankees will have to spend big to get back to their winning ways or will have to spend sparingly and in the right spots, hope they can be competitive and make a bigger splash after the 2014 season. Does ownership see the possibility of lower ratings and decreased attendance as more of threat than the luxury tax? Do the potential free agent targets, assuming the Yankees sign them, push them back into the playoffs? One way or another, the Yankees will be risking a lot of money to find out.