There are several big-picture reasons for the Yankees’ lack of free agent spending this offseason, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan writes. With a new collective bargaining agreement looming, the Yankees may be hesitant to commit millions more in player salaries until they know what the new luxury tax and revenue-sharing formulas will entail. Sources tell Passan that the luxury tax limit is likely to be raised from $189MM and New York therefore has a better chance of getting under the new threshold to lower its yearly penalty rate. Between cutting down on luxury tax payments and losing several huge contracts (Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, etc.) over the next two seasons, it could position the Yankees to splurge in the incredibly star-studded 2018-19 free agent market. The crown jewel of this free agent class is Bryce Harper, who has long been considered a future Yankees target — “their future marriage is considered so inevitable by most in the sport,” Passan writes.
Here’s more from around the AL East…
- The Red Sox may not be in a rush to sign Mookie Betts or Xander Bogaerts to extensions, the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier writes. Even if Betts and Bogaerts continue to blossom into superstars, waiting another year to explore extensions might cost Boston only a couple of million dollars, a negligible amount for a big-market team. The two players may themselves have reason to wait, as Speier cites the argument from Over the Monster’s Matt Collins that Betts and Bogaerts may want to see what the next CBA holds before committing to long-term deals. Given the huge recent free agent contracts signed by players in their 20’s, Betts and Bogaerts also might not want to sign away any of their free agent years in an extension when a much larger score could await them down the road.
- In a recent podcast interview with WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford, Rick Porcello discussed the decision process that went into signing his four-year, $82.5MM extension with the Red Sox last offseason. Without that contract, Porcello would’ve been a free agent this winter on the heels of a pretty shaky 2015 campaign. Despite the righty’s struggles, Bradford notes that Porcello still could’ve found himself a healthy contract on the open market — Jeff Samardzija and Ian Kennedy both landed large multi-year deals despite coming off of rough seasons themselves, and Porcello is four years younger than either of those pitchers.
- Jesse Chavez’s arbitration hearing with the Blue Jays took place Friday and a decision is expected today, according to the Associated Press. Chavez is arguing for a $4MM salary in 2016 while the Jays countered with a $3.6MM offer.
- Mark Trumbo is excited to be an Oriole, he tells MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko, though he was surprised when the O’s acquired him from the Mariners since he didn’t know the club had interest. Trumbo believes he’s a better first baseman than outfielder, though with Chris Davis now back at first for years to come in Baltimore, Trumbo says “it doesn’t matter to me one bit” where he slots into the lineup as long as it helps the team win.