The Yankees, as we all know, are working on a plan to keep their payroll below $189MM to reduce their luxury tax bill. However, that doesn't mean they'll be totally handcuffed this offseason. The front office is currently working on a plan to stay under budget and spent roughly $300MM in total, sources tell Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com.
The Yankees' initial main targets, besides re-signing Robinson Cano, are Masahiro Tanaka, Braves catcher Brian McCann, and Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran, according to sources. The Bombers believe they can add at least two top free agents this winter without breaking the bank.
A source estimates the Yankees are shedding $85MM-$90MM in payroll this winter, which includes the salaries of retiring players Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte as well as free agents Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Curtis Granderson. The Yankees have a strong interest in keeping Kuroda and would be open to Granderson if he accepted the one-year qualifying offer, but they aren't obligated to either player. Beyond that, Derek Jeter exercising his $9.5MM player option (down from $17MM last year) and Alex Rodriguez's suspension being upheld would also help the cause.
Cano and Tanaka appear to be the Bombers' top two targets. A source said the Yankees realize that Tanaka, while making baseball sense, would also demonstrate ownership's stated goal to reinvest the savings from falling beneath the $189MM threshold. Beltran, another Yanks target, reportedly pushed to sign with the Bombers during his previous two trips through free agency and is eager to find his way to the Bronx this winter.