The Yankees, so far this offseason, have only improved on a team that won 91 games, defeated the #1 seed Indians, and nearly went to the World Series.
But they may not be done.
John Heyman reports the Yankees are still continuing to check in on both Manny Machado and Yu Darvish, but can they acquire either player (or both, for that matter), and stay under the Luxury Tax threshold of $197 million? It is unlikely, unless they can make some other deals.
Jacoby Ellsbury has an AAV (average annual value) of $21.85 million and a full no-trade clause. Surely no team would be willing to take on the entire contract, but if the Yankees could dump at least half of the deal, it would fee up money for just one of the aforementioned players.
The Yankees have other options, mind you, should they decide to move players.
Dellin Betances is likely to make at least four million in 2018 and could easily be traded for a less expensive (and less dominant / erratic) bullpen piece.
Brett Gardner, though a fan favorite, is due $13 million and entering his age-34 season. Moving Gardner would allow the Yankees to plug Frazier or Stanton into Left Field, though it’s unlikely the Yankees will move Gardner.
Currently, the Yankees have about $10 million left to spend (they must also leave room for in-season call ups and medical packages for each player). To add both Darvish and Machado, the Yankees would need to clear about $28 million additional dollars, which seems unlikely without a major roster overhaul.
The most likely scenario is that the Yankees simply use Tyler Wade and Miguel Andujar to start the season, with Gleyber Torres arriving some time in late spring or early summer. The Yankees can use their remaining 10-million to take on salary for a mid-season pitching acquisition, if needed.