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Yankees trade rumors: Brett Gardner and Chase Headley available to free up payroll

The Yankees want to cut payroll. Shocking.

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees are in a spending holding pattern this offseason until they see if they can free up some payroll via trade. Brett Gardner and Chase Headley are two names the Yankees are shopping around, according to the New York Post.

Both Headley and Gardner have two years and $26 and $25 million, respectively, left on their contracts with the Yankees. Gardner’s name has been floated for trades seemingly at every opportunity. The Yankees have been high on the outfielder, but they may figure he can be more valuable in a trade with the farm system starting to produce with multiple outfield options coming along.

According to the Post, Hal Steinbrenner’s desire to get the team under the $197 million luxury tax limit for 2018 really has Brian Cashman’s hands tied. The Yankees are interested in boosting their bullpen with names like Boone Logan and Brad Ziegler, but may not totally pursue those guys unless a trade for Gardner or Headley can be made.

Big money is coming off the books after this year, which should allow Steinbrenner to get his wish for a luxury tax-free payroll as soon as next year. It seems pretty ridiculous to sign a reliever for $86 million and then insist on cutting payroll, but that’s the Yankee world we’re living in. George Steinbrenner is not walking through that door.

It seems like Steinbrenner should be more concerned with the fact that his starting rotation is held together with old chewing gum and paper clips right now than adamantly insisting on lower payroll. There are a number of starting pitching free agents out there who aren’t exciting by any means, but would be better at the backend of the rotation than what is presently available.

If Cashman is truly not allowed to spend any more money this offseason, the final product on the field will enter 2017 with plenty of question marks. The entire rotation would pretty much need to out-perform their expectations in order to see a way that the Yankees can make it to postseason play. That seems very ambitious to ask from the likes of Michael Pineda, Bryan Mitchell, Luis Cessa, CC Sabathia, and others.

It seems pretty foolish to care more about spending less than putting a team on the field that will be competitive so people want to watch, but I don’t own a baseball team so what do I know.