In a perfect world where the Yankees have no fear of far exceeding the luxury tax threshold, they bring back Aaron Judge and bring in perhaps the most dynamic shortstop in baseball, Trea Turner. This story is probably getting redundant, but in the face of acquiring generational talent and bringing your team over the top, you open your checkbook, write down whatever you need to, and add that player to your roster.
Turner, unlike the previous players the Yankees have passed on, brings an uncommon skillset. At this point in his career, he is a sure thing to hit 20 home runs and steal at least 25 bases while striking out less than 20 percent of the time. He somehow maintains his health almost every single year and provides good enough defense at shortstop. Coming off back-to-back six win seasons, he has cemented himself as the best shortstop in baseball entering the free agency market at age-30. He appears second overall on FanGraphs’ top 50 free agents behind only Judge and is suspected to get a contract around nine years totaling just below $300 million.
I’m curious as to how Turner’s age and athletic profile might affect his market this winter. While he is an incredible player who changes the outlook for any team, his age will start with a 3 come next June. That seems to be the mark that scares teams off enough from offering eight-plus years on a free agent deal. If his market is capped at seven years, the Yankees need to be involved. I remain skeptical that is the limit, but I’m trying to be as considerate of history as possible.
Okay. So let’s say Turner ends up around eight or nine years with a total contract of $250-$290 million. That would pencil him in at about a $32 million AAV. If the Yankees retain Aaron Judge for say, $37ish million a year, then that will mean almost $70 million a year would be spent on these two game-changing players. Under the context of the projected Yankees 2023 payroll, that would put the team around $280 million, now that Anthony Rizzo is back in the fold.
Am I realistically thinking that the team can boost their payroll up $25 million relative to last year? I suppose that means I would be ignoring the team’s habits of the last few years. However, with rumblings around the league suggesting money is ready to be spent, should we completely rule out the team making additions on top of bringing Judge back? I truly have no clue what to think. Getting Aaron Hicks or Josh Donaldson off the books would be one way to make sure this can happen, but I’m not sure the latter is possible. Perhaps that suggests Hicks should be the focus, but again, I truly have no clue what will happen.
Having Trea Turner, Anthony Volpe, and Oswald Peraza on the roster seems like a great problem to have. Turner gives Brian Cashman the flexibility to do just about whatever he’d like! With the current roster, assuming they bring back Judge, they’re more or less forced to rely on the rookies to come up and play well right away. I’m not saying that’s not possible, but if any team has the resources to not rely on rookies, it’s the damn New York Yankees.