Monday, March 14, 2016

ICYMI: Hey, Corey Hart... The Future's So Bright Shades Won't Help You

From Bryan Van Dusen originally seen HERE.

Earlier today I wrote on Twitter about how excited I am about this team's future. Daniel has written about how things today remind him of the pre-1996/dynasty Yankees. We've already seen young players Didi Gregorious Greg Bird, and Luis Severino have an impact in Major League Baseball. This season we may very well see Aaron Judge, Rob Refsnyder, Gary Sanchez, and James Kaprielian join them in Yankee pinstripes. Not long after this season we'll see Jorge Mateo bring his game to the big leagues.

"I'm getting ready to steal your hearts."

That list of young players here or on their way up is impressive enough, and I haven't even brought up others such as Ian Clarkin, Dustin Fowler, Slade Heathcott, and Mason Williams.

Although I gave up on the payroll stuff a while back, I couldn't help but think about it again when it came to what this team could look like in 2019.

Why did I think about 2019? Well, the offseason before that one just happens to have a few good players that are currently scheduled to become free agents. Off the top of my head I can think of Bryce Harper and Jose Fernandez.

You may have heard of them.

I want to point out that some of the players scheduled to be free agents by 2019 may very well not be there. Clayton Kershaw could  be a free agent, but that would mean having to opt-out of his current deal with the Dodgers. Manny Machado is also a possible free agent at that time, but there's a solid chance Baltimore and him come to agreement on an extension. And you can never ignore the fact that injuries can happen.

Furthermore, we're talking about a season three years away. We can all predict what the Yankees of 2017 and 2018 will look like, but if you're doing so for anything other than entertainment then you may very well be out of your mind.

Speaking of 2017 and 2018, if what you're about to read were to happen, then be prepared for two more boring offseasons. Brian McCann and/or Gary Sanchez are there to catch, Mark Teixiera (if re-signed) and/or Greg Bird can cover first, Starlin Castro is there at second, Didi Gregorious is looking like the shortstop of the future, Chase Headley and/or Rob Refsnyder can hold down third, and the outfield could be held down by a combination of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, and Aaron Hicks.

The pitching situation is pretty much good for the next two years as well, assuming the Yankees re-sign Masahiro Tanaka should he opt-out of his current contract after the 2017 season. Personally, I believe that he will, and the Yankees will bring him back. 'Hiro will be entering his age 29 season in 2018, and after leaving three years on the table (what would remain if he hadn't opted out) he could be given a seven-year deal and only be under contract through his age 35 season.

So the rotation for 2017 could consist of Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, and CC Sabathia (aka "the same rotation as this coming season"). The 2018 season will see some changes as that could include Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, James Kaprielian, Ian Clarkin, and... I don't know... Bryan Mitchell.

Now for what you're all reading this for... 2019!

Let's say that the Yankees sign Bryce Harper and Jose Fernandez.

We'll give Bryce a 14 year contract, which will take him through his age 40 season, for a grand total of $500 million (AAV of $35.71 million). That may seem a bit high, but keep in mind that Giancarlo Stanton was signed for 13 years and going into his age 25 season.

Meanwhile, Fernandez will be signed for eight years and $264 million (AAV of $33 million), eclipsing the current largest contract for a pitcher by David Price and his seven year/$217 million deal (AAV of $31 million).

This would mean the Yankees have signed three free agents between now and the 2019 season. "Only three free agents between now and then?" you ask? Yep. Just three.

But before I show you the entire starting lineup and rotation that I can see for the 2019 season, including how much those starters would cost, I want to show you what this season's starters look like and how much they will cost.

"This is going to hurt."

Catcher - Brian McCann $17 million
1st Base - Mark Teixeira $23.125 million
2nd Base - Starlin Castro $7.857 million
Shortstop - Didi Gregorious $2.425 million
3rd Base - Chase Headley $13 million
Left Field - Brett Gardner $13.5 million
Center Field - Jacoby Ellsbury $21.143 million
Right Field - Carlos Beltran $15 million
Designated Hitter - Alex Rodriguez $21 million

Starting Pitchers
- Masahiro Tanaka $22 million
- Luis Severino $.6 million
- CC Sabathia $25 million
- Michael Pineda $4.3 million
- Nathan Eovaldi $5.6 million

The grand total for those 14 players is $191.55 million.

Now for what the 2019 New York Yankees could look like, along with the players age that season in parenthesis, and my horrible predictions for the arbitration cases...

Catcher - Gary Sanchez (26) $5 million (arbitration eligible)
1st Base - Greg Bird (26) $8 million (arbitration eligible)
2nd Base - Jorge Mateo (24) $.7 million (pre-arbitration)
Shortstop - Didi Gregorious (29) $5 million (arbitration eligible)
3rd Base - Rob Refsnyder (28) $3 million (arbitration eligible)
Left Field - Bryce Harper (26) $35.71 million
Center Field - Dustin Fowler (24) $.7 million (pre-arbitration)
Right Field - Aaron Judge (27) $8 million (arbitration eligible)
Designated Hitter - Jacoby Ellsbury (36) $21.143 million

Starting Pitchers
- Jose Fernandez (26) $33 million
- Luis Severino (25) $6 million (arbitration eligible)
- Masahiro Tanaka (30) $27 million
- James Kaprielian (25) $.7 million (pre-arbitration)
- Ian Clarkin (24) $.7 million (pre-arbitration)

The grand total cost for these 14 players clocks in at $153.653 million. If you're like me and can't do that type of math in your head, and don't feel like pulling out a calculator, this team would cost $37.897 million less than the 2016 team. That's enough to re-sign Andrew Miller to pair again with Dellin Betances (he will be in his final arbitration year), sign Craig Kimbrel (another huge free agent) to create another three-headed monster, and still be under $190 million.

Will all of this happen? Probably not. Heck, Starlin Castro would actually still be around for the 2019 season, and in my scenario he'd be a bench player, which is something I don't see happening. So Rob Refsnyder could end up being traded, meaning you'd just slot Castro into third base instead of Ref (which would cost the team about $8 million more to do). One of Mason Williams or Slade Heathcott could take Dustin Fowler's spot, although that wouldn't really change the total payroll at all.

Like I said, this is just for fun. But isn't it eerie how this isn't that far-fetched?

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