Have you caught your breath yet? The Yankees made a couple big trades during the last hour leading up to the 4pm trade deadline. It looked like nothing would happen. Then boom: Stephen Drew acquired from the Red Sox for Kelly Johnson. Boom: Martin Prado dealt from the Diamondbacks to the Yankees for prospect Peter O'Brien and a player to be named later. Boom: Brian Roberts sent to the DFA cannon. (Esmil Rogers was also a thing that happened, though obviously not as exciting.) While not flashy moves like the three-way deal involving David Price and Austin Jackson or the Jon Lester/Yoenis Cespedes blockbuster, these acquisitions are certainly upgrades to what the Yankees were receiving from the incumbents in the starting lineup at second and right.
Although they weren't big moves, Yankees GM Brian Cashman did tell Bryan Hoch that he had to go to the Steinbrenners for their approval to add payroll. Knowing the Yankees' recent failed quest to get under a $189 million payroll for the 2014 season, it wasn't a guarantee, but the Steinbrenners told Cashman it was fine. Now, Drew and Prado are Yankees. Drew fell in the same category as Chase Headley and Brandon McCarthy: players under contract for this year only. Prado however is in the middle of a four-year, $40 million extension that he signed with Arizona prior to the 2013 season. He is owed $11 million both in 2015 and 2016. He offers the Yankees an option in right field this year and possibly the infield sometime down the road as well. So how does that impact the Yankees' future payroll?
With the help of the invaluable Cot's Contracts, here's what the Yankees' payroll looks like for the next few years:
|Nova, Ivan||rhp-s||Arb 2||Arb 3||FA|
|Rogers, Esmil||rhp-s||Arb 2||Arb 3||FA|
|Kelley, Shawn||rhp||Arb 3||FA|
|Cervelli, Francisco||c||Arb 2||Arb 3||FA|
|Daley, Matt||rhp||Arb 1||Arb 2||Arb 3||FA|
|Phelps, David||rhp-s||Arb 1||Arb 2||Arb 3||Arb 4||FA|
|Pineda, Michael||rhp-s||Arb 1||Arb 2||Arb 3||FA|
|Warren, Adam||rhp-s||Pre-Arb||Arb 1||Arb 2||Arb 3||FA|
|Huff, David||lhp||Arb 1||Arb 2||Arb 3||FA|
|Betances, Dellin||rhp||Pre-Arb||Pre-Arb||Arb 1||Arb 2||Arb 3|
|Romine, Austin||c||Arb 1||Arb 2||Arb 3||Arb 4||FA|
|Murphy, John Ryan||c||Pre-Arb||Pre-Arb||Arb 1||Arb 2||Arb 3|
|Whitley, Chase||rhp-s||Pre-Arb||Pre-Arb||Arb 1||Arb 2||Arb 3|
|Greene, Shane||rhp||Pre-Arb||Pre-Arb||Arb 1||Arb 2||Arb 3|
|Almonte, Zoilo||rf||Pre-Arb||Pre-Arb||Arb 1||Arb 2||Arb 3|
|TOTAL - NYA||$172.27||$169.77||$98.64||$71.64||$45.14M|
Yes, the Yankees already have roughly $170 million committed to both 2015 and 2016 already. Such is the Yankees' payroll. Prado didn't do that much to change, but his impact is felt nonetheless. After arbitration, it's thankfully damn near impossible for the Yankees to even try to go under a $189 million again.
Thus, the only thing that will limit the Yankees' spending in the next couple seasons is how much the Steinbrenners feel comfortable investing in the group. With the addition of Prado, the Yankees filled a hole on their team not just for the remainder of 2014, but 2015-2016 as well. It seems that now the Yankees can simply focus on finding their next shortstop, some starting pitching, and possibly a third baseman during the off-season. There are several intriguing starters hitting the market in the off-season, especially Jon Lester, so look for the Yankees to tab at least two of them to fill a rotation spot, especially if the bad thing happens to Tanaka that we are praying to Mo doesn't happen. It would not be a stunner to see Kuroda or McCarthy return, either, even though both of their contracts expire at season's end.
Knowing the Yankees' affinity for cheap relief arms, it's uncertain whether or not they will re-sign D-Rob when he's a free agent. For those who are regular readers of the site, they probably know that I am a big D-Rob fan. While handing out lengthy contracts to relievers always carries risk with it, D-Rob has proven for several years now that he is someone to be trusted in the bullpen, and those commodities are hard to find. Sure, Betances could probably step into the closer's role and pitch well, but the Yankees don't really seem to have anyone to hold the fort in the innings before the ninth. Kelley and Warren are okay and it's nice to dream on relief prospects Jacob Lindgren, Mark Montgomery, Tyler Webb, and Nick Goody, but it would sure be nice to have a reliable reliever like Robertson out there. Being that the Yankees are the Yankees, they could probably afford Robertson, too. As long as he's not asking for anything crazy like what Jonathan Papelbon signed with the Phillies a couple years back, it's worth exploring
It remains to be seen whether or not A-Rod will actually return to the team, but if he does, he will probably be playing third base until he hurts himself. He probably can't be a full-time DH unless the Yankees want to put Prado at third and use Beltran extensively in the outfield, which would be... questionable. (Although it would have been funny to see A-Rod replace Jeter and return to shortstop in a WWE-style entrance on Opening Day.)
For the years beyond 2016, it obviously becomes quite unclear as to what the team will look like, as the only mainstays under contract past then are Gardner, Ellsbury, McCann, Tanaka, some arb players like Dellin, and A-Rod's last year (which I doubt will actually be played in pinstripes). We'll just have to wait and see how the roster evolves between now and then. It's always fun to take a glance down the road though and try to figure out how the next decade of Yankees baseball will play out.