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Yankees Mailbag: Payroll, Gleyber Torres and Blake Snell

Here are the answers to your latest questions.

Division Series - Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees - Game Four Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Good morning everyone! Let’s open up some more mailbag questions. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

The idiot that said, “Harper is coming” asks: Will the Yankees actually go below $210 million?

There’s certainly been talk of the team at least considering going below the luxury tax for next season, but with so much of the offseason to go, it’s impossible to say that they’re absolutely committed to staying below it. Payroll numbers are tricky to read right now, as different sources are either listing variables like arbitration, or appear to have a big gap of cash missing, but the general consensus is that the Yankees are close to the cap as is.

Signing DJ LeMahieu is the first priority for the team, but even if they manage to sign him and stay under the $210 million plateau, that doesn’t leave them with much wiggle room for the remaining moves they’d need to make. Considering that the Yankees just witnessed their bitter rivals prioritize the luxury tax over a transcendent talent and consequently drop to the bottom of the division, I would hope that it’s obvious which way they should lean. Alas, we’ll likely be having this conversation for a good portion of the offseason. My bet is that they don’t, but I’m sure if they pass this year, it’ll be up for consideration again next offseason.

Bo Marks asks: With the Yankees looking at a new shortstop and re-signing LeMahieu, keeping Luke and Urshela, why not move Gleyber Torres to center field and trade Hicks for pitching?

It’s not totally out of the woods, but I think there is a very low probability of this happening. Gleyber entered the league as a shortstop, and got some experience in the minors at second, so the team was comfortable giving him the opportunity to play his way onto the team there. Placing him in a completely foreign position following a year when he struggled to find his footing back in a still-familiar position sounds like a recipe for disaster.

To consider the proposal for a moment though, it does accomplish the task of improving the infield while keeping Torres in the core of the lineup. Trading Hicks might be a tougher ask, since he is signed for long-term and has more injury concerns over his career than Voit or any of the other trade candidates. Still, if you were to assume that Torres becomes at least a league-average outfielder, it could form the Yankees’ most competitive team purely for 2021.

Curt asks: I would like to see the Yanks put together an aggressive offer for Blake Snell. His salary is very reasonable and he would be under team control for several years.

Well, assuming the Rays would even be willing to send Snell over to the Yankees, he’d certainly be a fantastic pickup. That being said, if they’d even be willing to listen, there’s no doubt that the Yankee tax would be fully in effect. The Rays are masters at extracting maximum value out of trading their MLB-caliber players, and often turn them into major-leaguers — to then trade them out for more prospects in a couple of years. Any conversation would have to begin with a prospect like Jasson Dominguez, and while that alone might be a conversation worth having, there would certainly be other top prospects involved.