It’s a foreign concept to think that the New York Yankees might be working on a budget, but that’s what it looks like as the calendar flips to November.
On Wednesday, the team brought back veteran outfielder Brett Gardner on a new one-year deal that actually saved them $3 million. In order to do that, they declined the $12.5 million option on his previous contract before working out a new deal that sees him make $7.5 million. With a $2 million buyout, the savings comes out to $3 million.
The move isn’t necessarily a headliner that has become commonplace with the Yankees over the years, but it is an important one as it sheds some light on what general manager Brian Cashman might be thinking this offseason.
Gardner’s return will likely see him performing in a utility role as a backup left fielder. With Aaron Hicks in center field and the occasional platoon of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in right field, the opportunity has presented itself for the Yankees to make an imposing outfield even more threatening on the free-agent market.
Superstar Bryce Harper will be one of Major League Baseball’s most coveted free agents this winter, the 2015 NL MVP expected to leave the Washington Nationals after seven seasons.
It was initially believed that the Yankees would be major players in the Harper sweepstakes, yet that isn’t the case. Earlier this week, it was reported that Harper is not apart of the Yankees’ offseason plans.
The more likely scenario is that New York will bring back veteran Andrew McCutchen, whom they acquired at the trade deadline, on a team-friendly deal to start in front of Gardner.
With the money saved by not going after Harper, the Yankees can splurge for either pitching help or for an every-day shortstop to step in for the injured Didi Gregorius.
Starting rotation help is New York’s biggest need and they’ve been linked to the likes of Patrick Corbin. However, there is a chance that Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw can opt out of his deal and hit the free-agent market this winter.
Adding one of the best southpaws the game has ever seen will certainly provide that boost the Yankees were looking for, to say the least.
As for Machado, New York’s interest has cooled on him also after a turbulent postseason that saw his character called into question.