At long last, the lockout is over. There will be Major League Baseball this year and there will be a full 162 game schedule. The Players Association voted to approve the ownership group’s latest counteroffer, setting the stage for ratification later today. After that, players will report this weekend and Opening Day will be April 7th. For the Yankees, that will be against the Red Sox, no less.
It’s been a long time — 99 days to be exact — since there’s been any substantive transaction talk. I don’t blame you if you’ve forgotten much of what the Yankees did pre-lockout, because I sure have (not that they actually did anything significant, but that’s another story). So, now seems like a good time to get back up to speed. First, let’s break down some of the key reported components of the new CBA and how they affect the Yankees, and then recap all of the Bombers’ transactions from months ago.
The Luxury Tax
This likely is the subject Yankees fans care most about. The initial threshold has increased from $210 million to $230 million, and over the life of the deal, will go up to $244 million. I haven’t seen any word on adjustments to penalties yet, but assuming that they’ve largely gone unchanged, this will still act as a de facto salary cap.
So, where do the Yankees stand? I had the Yankees entering the offseason at just a hair under $230 million back in October. That’s a stale number now of course, given a few roster departures along with raises to the league’s minimum salary in this new CBA, but I think it’s a reasonable ballpark estimate now, plus or minus a few million dollars.
How does this threshold increase affect Hal Steinbrenner’s thinking? That remains to be seen. Is he more inclined to subvert the mark in 2022 now that it seems much more doable than under the old system? That would be a bummer.
No Rule 5 Draft
There reportedly won’t be a Rule 5 Draft this offseason. That means the Yankees won’t lose catching prospect Josh Breaux, among others. I suppose that’s somewhat of a relief to the front office considering what happened last year with Garrett Whitlock. Yet, at the same time, I bet they wish they could have some 40-man roster spots back too. At the end of the day, the biggest losers here are the prospects missing out on a potential big league opportunity.
Players can only be optioned five times per season now. We won’t see what happened to poor Albert Abreu last year again. It’ll be fascinating to see how the Yankees handle this considering the vaunted “Scranton (bullpen) Shuttle” in recent seasons.
Yankees Transaction Recap
OK, now let’s refresh our memories on the players who have come and gone from the Yankees before the lockout:
In: TJ Rumfield (trade – PHI), Joel Valdez (trade – PHI),
Out: Andrew Heaney (LAD), Corey Kluber (TB), Darren O’Day (ATL), Greg Allen (PIT – waivers), Tim Locastro (BOS – waivers), Andrew Velazquez (LAA – waivers), Donny Sands (PHI – trade), Nick Nelson (PHI – trade), Clint Frazier (CHC – non-tender), Rougned Odor (BAL), Tyler Wade (LAA – trade), Chris Gittens (NPB)
New to the 40-man: Everson Pereira, Ron Marinaccio, Oswaldo Cabrera, JP Sears, Stephen Ridings
Re-signed: Joely Rodríguez
Notable MiLB signings: Jose Peraza, David Freitas, Vinny Nittoli, Ender Inciarte, Jimmy Cordero
Team FA: Anthony Rizzo, Brett Gardner
The below tweet thread from Evan Drellich does a nice job of summing just about everything up. I didn’t include all of that above — rather, I focused on some more Yankees-specific things — but there are some other important nuggets within:
Some final details of a CBA where players made some notable gains:— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) March 10, 2022
• Pre-arb bonus pool at $50m
• Min salary: $700k, $720k, 740k, $760k, $780k
• CBT: $230m-$244m
• Draft lottery at 6 picks
• Universal DH
• Amateur draft is 20 rounds
• Player can be optioned 5 times per yr