Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Offseason Predictions: Starting Pitching Edition

These are not the Yankees of old. They are not going to spend 300 million dollars this winter on
Cole, Strasburg,and Rendon. Though signing these three guys would probably put the Yankees “over the edge” and bring them their first world series in 11 years, it is not smart for the future. They would end up with obsolete players in their late thirties who don’t even play anymore (Ellsbury, end of a-rod, etc). The way to build a winning team has changed since George was in charge. Bringing up young breakout stars and trading for high ceiling, young, and controllable players from other teams is the new strategy. The Yankees have had a very seamless youth movement. The Baby Bombers have taken over, during the regular season at least. These Baby Bombers will eventually hit arbitration and free agency and the Yankees, even with their big wallet, won’t be able to retain them all. Keeping a balance of veterans and young controllable players is how teams have recently won the world series. This brings us back to this offseason. I already outlined who I would target on the offense trade market. So this brings us now to the pitching side of things.

Through a lot of thought and consideration, I have just about came to a conclusion for my predictions for the Yankees this winter on the pitching side. The Yankees have needed another ace for the last couple years and this would have supposedly made the difference. The Yankees missed on Verlander, Scherzer, Corbin, and trading for Cole, and this is why the Astros and Nationals have a world series win and the Yankees don’t. I don’t believe in saying the Yankees would’ve won the world series with one other guy because there are a lot of other variables that have to be factored in. If the best team on paper always won, then games wouldn’t be played. The Astros would’ve just been handed the world series title. There too much chance and other factors to really predict baseball and that's what's great about it. So all of you guys out there who think the Yankees will sign Cole, don’t get your hopes up. If the Yankees do wind up signing Cole, I would not be disappointed though. I would give it about a 25-30% chance of happening. Who knows, maybe "Ninja Cash" will swoop in last second and strike a deal with Gerrit. Anyways, here's my big predictions. "Expert prediction" if you insist.

This offseason I think the Yankees will sign Zack Wheeler and trade for Robbie Ray.

Zack Wheeler
Zack Wheeler hasn’t exactly had a great career so far, but he looks like a breakout candidate. A lot
of analysts have compared his stuff to Cole, though the naked eye doesn't really show that. He has good velocity, spin rate and low exit velocity. Hopefully the Yankees sign a pitching coach who can help him reach his full potential. Maybe a change of scenery is what he needs. He has the talent, maybe he just needs a change of mindset, maybe a winning mindset. Something he can’t get with the Mets. The Yankees had a lot of interest in him around the trade deadline, but trades between the Mets and Yankees never really come into fruition. He has been roughed up a bunch in his career so he won't be as expensive as a Cole but talent evaluators say he has a lot of talent so he will get a good amount of money. He isn't quite the true ace that the Yankees have supposedly been trying to get but he does bring a good amount of potential to the table.
Wheeler signs with the Yankees for 4 years and $76 Million

Robbie Ray

The Yankees have always been a big fan of Robbie Ray and so have I. He has good velo and good
offspeed pitches. He is another pitcher who hasn’t quite reached his potential yet. The Yankees have
had a lot of interest in him last offseason and near the trade deadline this past season. I think it has
been a matter of the Dbacks thinking they are in postseason contention but they really are not. Don't
let me get into a whole debate about the 2nd wild card messing up the balance of the league and
making for less trade deadline deals because no teams think they are sellers because they think
they can sneak into the second wild card spot. Anyways, Robbie Ray has high strikeouts and plus
stuff he just lacks control sometimes and if the Yankees new pitching coach can help him reach his
potential he could be one of the top starting pitchers in the game. These two moves are going to be
really impacted by whoever the Yankees decide to make their new pitching coach because these are
two potential really good pitchers if the right person is their coach. No pressure Yankees, but you better make the right decision.

Mock Trade:
Yankees Get:
Robbie Ray
Dbacks Get:
Michael King
Albert Abreu
Clarke Schmidt

If you have predictions for who you think the Yankees will get this offseason, let me know who in the comment section below. 

Tracking the Yankees 2020 Payroll

It is probably a good thing that I married an accountant, otherwise these posts would be pretty damn hard to keep up with. I admit it, math was never my favorite or my strongest subject, my only B’s ever in High School were in math, but something just seems to click for me when it comes to tracking the Yankees payroll. I can’t explain it, but it has always interested me, which is weird for a fan who grew up in the George Steinbrenner era of completely disregarding the payroll altogether. All salaries and information here are for informational purposes only, and all credit goes to Baseball Reference, MLB Trade Rumors and Spotrac. Big shout out to those guys and girls over there, thank you! I will try to keep this updated as much as I can throughout the offseason, but no promises.

2020 Guaranteed Contracts

As you can see, the New York Yankees have a huge chunk of money already ties up to these 10 key players going forward. If the Yankees are serious about making a run at a free agent starting pitcher like Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg, or even a Zack Wheeler, some of this salary is going to have to come off the books. Stanton has a no-trade clause and has shown zero indication that he wants to play anywhere else, sorry to some of the “fans” out there that want him traded, while New York is stuck with Ellsbury for at least one more season leaving very few options as far as trades go. The only name that pops out to me is a name I have already mentioned trading lately, Happ. New York may have to eat some of that salary to move him for lower level prospects, but the ends may justify the means if they can turn his saved $10 - $12 million into the ace that the team so desperately needs. It is also worth mentioning that New York is very likely to recoup most of the money owed to Hicks and probably all of the money owed to Ellsbury through insurance in 2020, but they will not factor that into their decision making or payroll spending if history is any indicator of the future.

Running Tally: $153,000,000

MLB Trade Rumors Arbitration Predictions

We as a fan base have been talking about this forever and the New York Yankees will get their first real dose of it here in 2020. The thing about building a young core of players it that eventually those players are all going to want to get paid. Now, the Yankees have worked out extensions with Severino and Hicks last offseason and could do the same with a few key names on the list above this offseason, but until that happens, we can only watch and wait. The Yankees won’t announce the real arbitration numbers for a couple months now, so for now we can only go by what MLB Trade Rumors predicts. MLB Trade Rumors has a great track record of getting pretty damn close on the vast majority of their predictions, so I take these numbers as a great indicator of what we will actually see later on in the offseason.

Running Tally: $189,800,000

2020 League Minimum Salaries ($555K?)

This one was a bit harder to calculate only because, as of the time of this writing anyway, we do not have concrete numbers on the league’s minimum salary for the 2020 season. For now, I have used the 2019 league minimum salary of $555,000, but except this number to go up. When it does, we will update our sheet and our post accordingly. For not, the verbiage in the collective bargaining agreement had the 2019 salary at $555,000 with “cost of living increases” for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Those are yet to be determined, so stay tuned for those.

By my unofficial count, the Yankees 40-man roster currently sits at 37… so three more salaries, even at league minimum, will be added to this list.

Running Tally: $198,675,000

2020 Deferred Salaries

Alex Rodriguez - $5,000,000

Why in the world are the Yankees STILL paying Alex Rodriguez $5 million a season? I just don’t have the answer to that. I mean, I do. That is what they agreed to do in order to make him go away, but it just seems foolish to still be paying the guy who hasn’t been on the field for the team in a number of seasons. Oh well, any excuse to put a picture of Jennifer Lopez on the site is a good thing in my opinion.

Running Tally: $203,675,000

2020 Competitive Balance Tax Totals

Competitive Balance Tax Threshold: $208,000,000
Yankees 2020 Total AAV/Payroll: 203,675,000
Estimated Player Benefits: $15,000,000
Estimated Minor League Contracts: $2,500,000
Current Projected Payroll: $221,175,000
Competitive Balance Tax Space: -$13,175,000

The New York Yankees are already an estimated $13.175 million over the luxury tax threshold before they even really open their doors to the offseason. The Yankees are $13.175 million over the luxury tax before they potentially bring back Brett Gardner to man center field while Aaron Hicks is out and they are $13.175 million over the cap before they potentially bring back some of their own like Didi Gregorius, Austin Romine or Dellin Betances. The Yankees are well above the cap before they even entertain the idea of inviting one of the top starting pitchers to the Bronx to tour the Stadium and all its glory. The Yankees are well above the cap before the GM Meetings or the Winter Meetings. If you are a fan of this team and you are expecting the Yankees to be major players in the offseason, you may want to temper your expectations. New York may make a move or a splash, they have a long way to go before hitting the highest tax bracket and penalty outlined by the CBA, but to the fans that are thinking that the Yankees may get both Cole and Strasburg, or one of them and third baseman Anthony Rendon… think again.