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Yankees Mailbag: Yadier Molina, the Marlins payout and Ha-seong Kim

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Check out the answers to your latest questions as the mailbag makes its return.

Wild Card Round - St Louis Cardinals v San Diego Padres - Game Three Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Good morning everyone, the mailbag is back and it’s got some answers for your questions as enter the first phase of the offseason. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

Dukeupnorth asks: Moving on from Sánchez, I would love to get Molina and would welcome a package with Wainwright. That would mean trading Gary. Who would be his most likely suitors?

This question is from a couple of weeks ago, but if this is your desired outcome recent news have moved slightly in your favor. The Yankees are reportedly listening on offers for Sánchez, and have been in contact with Molina’s camp as well. Wainwright is an unlikely target, as he’s 39-years-old and there are better pitchers on the market to look at, but let’s dissect the Sánchez/Molina dynamic for a minute.

Despite his age, Molina will likely not come cheap, and he is currently seeking a two-year deal that would keep him in the game until he turned 40. He’s not going to garner a superstar contract either, but that’s still a risky commitment to make for a short-term move that may or may not improve the team. Sánchez, meanwhile, is currently on a cheap deal — and that matters considering the team will be up against the wall financially to bring back key players like DJ LeMahieu.

It is possible that you wind up with Molina in pinstripes and Sánchez looking for a fresh restart elsewhere, but it appears that such a decision would be predicated by the LeMahieu situation. The two scenarios that enable it are that the team re-signs the second baseman for a relatively inexpensive raise — or they lose the bidding war and LeMahieu signs with a different team, opening up the payroll for other minor improvements. If Sánchez were to be shopped, the list is shorter for teams that would be uninterested than those that would bid. Sánchez may be at his lowest point value-wise, but he still carries significant upside, and that’s difficult to find in a catcher. Whoever strikes out on J.T. Realmuto will call-in, and some contenders with particularly poor play at the position are the Indians, Cubs and Cardinals.

larry s asks: How does the Marlins paying $30 million towards Stanton’s salary effect the Yankees’ luxury tax? Is it a one-time payout, or spread over the remaining seven years of his contract?

So the actual payout for the Marlins is a little strange, but in terms of the luxury tax it will be spread out throughout the remaining years of Stanton’s contract. That comes out to about $4 million in salary relief, but the Marlins were already set to retain $3 million throughout the length of Stanton’s contract even before the opt-in point. That means that, combined, the salary relief will put Stanton’s luxury tax hit at $22 million in 2021 for the Yankees instead of the $29 million that he’ll get paid.

The Yankees will be the ones paying all of that, however, as the Marlins’ contributions only kick in for the final three years of his contract. They will owe Stanton $5 million on July 1 and October 1 in 2026, ‘27 and ‘28 according to Spotrac. Finances are tricky stuff.

That idiot that said, “Harper is coming” asks: Any chance the Yankees make a run at Ha-seong Kim? He looks to be a wildcard type pick that might fit in perfect setting up some of the Yankees’ bigger bats.

Incase you are unfamiliar with Kim, FanGraphs has a great summary from back in October on why he will be one of the most interesting players to watch out for this offseason. A shortstop of his caliber hitting the open market at his age is an incredibly rare event, and even though he’s unproven at the MLB level, the optics of signing Kim are essentially like paying for an instant top prospect to add to your system.

MLB teams will be prioritizing the Francisco Lindor trade market, and with good reason, but Kim has a chance to be the next-best option in competition with the likes of Didi Gregorius and Andrelton Simmons. The Yankees are listening in on Lindor’s price and have checked on Simmons, so it makes sense that they would be interested in evaluating Kim as well.

FanGraphs predicted that a deal under $50 million would be a steal for any team to sign Kim, but that it might be possible with the circumstances of this offseason and COVID-19’s impact on the market. That might still be too much for the Yankees, depending on how many years it would be spread out over, but it appears that they’re serious about surveying the options at shortstop. Nothing would indicate that more than bidding for Kim’s services.