The Yankees made the deal of the offseason, but still have more work to do.
The New York Yankees were a game away from the World Series last season, in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year. In a matter of days, the Yankees have gone from World Series contender to World Series favorite.
Acquiring reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton was a deal the Yankees couldn’t pass up. Any time an opportunity like this presents itself it would be irresponsible not to take advantage of it. Stanton was a move of opportunity, but there are other moves the Yankees would like to get done at this year’s Winter Meetings.
GM Brian Cashman has made it clear the organization will do its due diligence and leave no stone unturned in free agency. The Yankees want to do all of this and still achieve their goal of getting under the 2018 luxury tax. Here are some moves the Yankees should make to make them even more dangerous.
1. Trade Jacoby Ellsbury or Chase Headley
The Yankees have been adamant about getting under the luxury tax threshold, and they’re going to make the necessary moves to get there. The only reason acquiring Stanton was possible was because they’re essentially paying the same tax as they would if they had Starlin Castro and Matt Holliday on the roster.
Paying Stanton and a “minimum wage” second baseman like Ronald Torreyes or Gleyber Torres seems like a better idea. It would go a long way if they were able to trade away Jacoby Ellsbury or Chase Headley’s contract.
Ellsbury is currently making just over $21 million a year until 2022 — a lot for anyone, but an egregious amount in this scenario. Ellsbury hasn’t been very productive over the past few seasons. Whether it’s because of injuries or not, $21 million is just too much to pay for his output, especially when you have a guy like Aaron Hicks playing better for cheaper.
Chase Headley is a guy that knows how to get the job done, and despite his hiccups on the infield he was vital to the team at the end of the regular season and into the postseason. The Yankees like him a lot, but not the $13 million he’s owed this upcoming season.
The Yankees would probably prefer to trade both guys. They have too many outfielders, and they want to get Gleyber Torres up to the big league roster as quickly as possible. They can’t designate them for assignment otherwise they’d have to eat their salaries, and that’s not what they want.
If they can manage to dump Ellsbury’s salary, that would almost assuredly get them under the luxury tax. Actually trading Ellsbury is the difficult part.