Analysis

Why the Yankees Need to be Aggressive in a Burst Bubble Free Agent Market

The Yankees lost money this season with a lack of fans in the seats, but that shouldn’t stop them from spending big bucks this Winter.

Like all MLB fans, I was puzzled to see the Cleveland Indians waive Brad Hand. He has been consistent and one of the game’s best relief pitchers in recent years. However, the Indians, the Yankees, and a majority of MLB teams have lost money due to the shortened season with no fans.

Should the Yankees Target Hand?

The Yankees should jump on the Hand train immediately. He is a proven lefty veteran and is only 30 years old. Throughout his past three seasons in Cleveland, he has put up a stellar 2.78 ERA and 2.62 FIP. Hand has also struck out 156 batters, while only giving up 35 walks in 107 innings pitched. The Indians decided to put him on waivers in hopes that another squad will assume his contract. Hand is set to make $10 million in 2021.

Hand is not the only player not picked up by their team for the 2021 season. Charlie Morton, Corey Kluber, and Darren O’Day are just a few other names that are now free agents now as well. Twenty percent more players are transitioning into free agents this offseason than last because of the massive loss of revenue.

The Luxury Tax Problem

There have been reports that the Yankees are targeting to get back under the $210 million luxury tax threshold after splurging last offseason on Gerrit Cole. Their 2020 payroll skyrocketed to $250 million after seasons of staying underneath the tax threshold. Hal Steinbrenner went on air saying that the Yankees lost more money than any team in MLB. Commissioner Rob Manfred attested to that by asserting that the league as a whole lost roughly $3 billion.

Anyways, it is quite obvious that the Yanks have a limited amount to spend this offseason. But after an unfortunate postseason and a season that exposed problems with the roster’s depth, the Yankees should absolutely take full advantage of what looks to be a burst bubble market for free agents. The reliever market seems to be pretty heavy, too. Players such as Hand, Liam Hendriks, Alex Colome, Kirby Yates, and Blake Treinen are among those.

New Starters in the Bronx?

Trevor Bauer, Charlie Morton, and Marcus Stroman seem to be the eye-popping starting pitchers on the market. However, the Yankees have players like Luis Severino and Domingo German coming back after Tommy John surgery and a suspension. That is why I do not see the Yanks splurging on a free-agent starter. The Yanks may find it more accessible to re-sign Masahiro Tanaka and DJ LeMahieu to team-friendly short term deals if the market does not work out the way they believed it would.

I deeply understand the state of the Yankees after losing tons of money this prior season. But, coming up with cash should not be an issue for a franchise that is worth $5 billion. That is why the Yanks need to take full advantage of the depleted position many other teams find themselves in. The ball is in the Yankees’ court as they control their destiny this offseason more than others.

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