With the addition of Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann, and the return of Hiroki Kuroda, the Yankees purse strings have tightened up a bit.
So far this is roughly the impact of the players under contract on the luxury tax:
Derek Jeter: $12.81MM
Alex Rodriguez: $27.5MM
Mark Teixeira: $22.5MM
Alfonso Soriano $4MM
Vernon Wells: $0
Brian McCann: $17MM
Jacoby Ellsbury: $21.857MM
Carlos Beltran: $15MM
Hiroki Kuroda: $16MM
Ichiro Suzuki: $6.5MM
CC Sabathia: $24.4MM
Kelly Johnson: $3MM
Brendan Ryan: $1.6667MM
Add in about $11MM for insurance and the Yankees total, with A-Rod, is $183.233MM. Suddenly the luxury tax limit of $189MM is crushing. Since there is no immediate resolution to A-Rod's appeal hearing the Yankees have no choice but to operate as if the lightning rod will be part of the 25 man roster in 2014.
That means that if the Yankees have less than $6MM to spend and need 12 more players on the roster. Which is the reason the Yankees are shopping Ichiro Suzuki and Brett Gardner. The big ticket free agent signings are over for this year and the Yankees will now need to look to trades, from within the organization, and minor free agents to fill out the roster. Should one or both outfielders get dealt it could create an opening for Zoilo Almonte, who had impressed the Yankees the last two spring trainings and in 34 big league games.
Among the players still to be added to the roster are:
Ivan NovaThat would still leave four roster spots, five if they release Wells even though he has no luxury tax impact. If Ichiro is dealt, probably for low level prospects/non-prospects, that would take $6.5MM off the books. Gardner is arbitration eligible and would like get $3.5MM - $4MM.
Brett Gardner or a replacement if dealt.
Francisco Cervelli or Austin Romine
A left-handed reliever (possibly Cesar Cabral)
A 4th and 5th starter - one of which may come from David Phelps, Adam Warren, Vidal Nuno, or Michael Pineda. If Pineda is healthy he would be the ideal choice.
The Rumor Mill
A report came out on Monday that the Yankees were looking into Twins free agent and ex-Met starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey. To say the reaction from the fans was pure rage would be an understatement. Letting Phil Hughes walk and replacing him with Pelfrey would be utter nonsense. (I'm keeping it clean)
The Indians are reportedly shopping Justin Masterson who made over $5.6MM last season and is arbitration eligible. Masterson made his first All-Star appearance this past season and you can expect he'll get a healthy increase, one that would be out of the Yankees range of spending.