The Yankees are once again striving to get under the luxury tax threshold, though there’s added incentive for them to do so this time around, writes Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Getting under the luxury tax barrier (which is set to rise to $197MM next year) will reset the Yankees’ luxury tax hit just in time for the 2018-19 mega-class of free agents that features the likes of Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw (assuming he opts out of the final two years on his deal), Dallas Keuchel, Josh Donaldson and Charlie Blackmon, among many others. As Heyman notes, achieving the goal is more realistic than ever for the Yankees as well, with commitments to CC Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez and quite possibly Masahiro Tanaka coming off the books (in addition to recent veteran pickups Matt Holliday, Todd Frazier and Jaime Garcia).
More from the division…
- Chris Tillman isn’t making excuses about his poor season and is maintaining that he’s 100 percent healthy, writes Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun. Schmuck spoke with Tillman for a lengthy and candid interview that readers will want to check out in full, as it’s rife with frank, harsh self analysis from Tillman, who is his perhaps his own biggest critic. “I’ve been here before,” said the longtime Orioles right-hander. “Before 2012, I was god-awful. I was just as bad as I was this year, if not worse. We were able to figure it out.” Tillman attributes his early-career struggles to a “horrible” delivery and states that he’s had significant difficulty in repeating his delivery in 2017 as well. He also speaks fondly of the Orioles’ clubhouse and suggests that he’d be open to a return, though as Schmuck notes, the Orioles figure to be seeking some certainty in their rotation this winter.
- Teoscar Hernandez’s trade from the Astros to the Blue Jays gives him the opportunity to become a potential replacement for a player he grew up idolizing, writes Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star. Jose Bautista’s 54-homer breakout came the year before Hernandez signed as an amateur with Houston, and the 24-year-old tells Griffin that his countryman and childhood idol has already been an invaluable mentor. “The day that I got here (Sept. 2), Bautista came to me and told me a lot of things,” says Hernandez, who credits Bautista with giving him advice on his hitting as well as his off-field routine. “For me, he’s one of the awesome guys that I ever met. He’s every day telling me something new.” Per Griffin, the Jays plan to give Hernandez “every opportunity to earn an everyday role” in 2018 and beyond.