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Yankees Mailbag: Potential Torres deals and a unique Donaldson solution

We’re diving into the budget books this week.

ALDS Game 4 - New York Yankees v Cleveland Guardians Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Good afternoon everyone, it’s time for another edition of the mailbag. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

Brad G. asks: It seems to make sense for the Yankees to look into moving Gleyber this offseason. What is his trade value?

Gleyber Torres had a decent year all-around, proving if nothing else that his decline offensively wasn’t a full-on collapse and that he was playable at second base still. That was enough to ensure that he remains an MLB regular, but not enough to ensure that he will stay on the Yankees in particular for 2023.

Is Torres close to the peak he experienced in 2019? No, far from it, and subsequently he’s far from the trade chip that could’ve brought back Luis Castillo one-for-one at the time. Torres could still be the centerpiece to a deal though, particularly one for pitching if the Yankees don’t win out on the free agent market. The big question is whether Torres has enough upside to other teams to warrant the Yankees leaving the big three organization prospects off the table — the answer at the trade deadline was no for a player like Pablo Lopez, but perhaps a different framework could be forged in the winter.

drus5913 asks: Can the Yankees trade Josh Donaldson to the Marlins in exchange for wiping the $30 million owed to the Yankees for Giancarlo Stanton? They have less than $50 million in salary for next year and probably won’t contend for a title. However, it might be nice to have an extra $10 million to spend in 2026, 2027, and 2028.

Theoretically I suppose that the Marlins could do this, but I don’t see the benefit for them. Sure they have an incredibly low payroll currently, but the purpose of taking on salary in a contract dump is to take prospects in with it. The only thing the Marlins would be doing is paying up front and letting the Yankees space out the money they owe Donaldson to a timeline well in the distance — arguably this is helping the Yankees, so the Marlins would be getting nothing out of this. Also, it’s worth noting that the Marlins are a low payroll team not just for the sake of tanking, but because they’re actively unwilling to put money into the payroll if Derek Jeter is to be believed. Refusing to do so to add genuine talent only to turn around and add for an aged veteran like Donaldson would be a massive slap in the face to their fanbase (not that the Marlins haven’t aggravated them in the past).

jmack175 asks: If the Yankees sign Judge for $38ish million where does that put them payroll-wise? I have to imagine it is right up against the 2nd tier luxury tax hit, how do they clear $$ to sign a Verlander or Benintendi — guys they’ll need if they don’t want to repeat the last several years come October?

It’s a very difficult task to do so in this offseason alone, but I don’t think it’s as big of a worry as it could be. Obviously if the team finds a way to dish out Donaldson or Aaron Hicks’ contract that is a massive win and accomplishes this goal outright, but Donaldson’s money is only on the books for one more year. The Yankees could add at least one more piece in addition to Judge and look to reset the tax in a year or two, especially because they’re not up against the repeater penalty for the luxury tax. Their organizational philosophy seems to prioritize following a cycle of resetting every few years to avoid this, so one more year of pushing into the middle ground of the tax shouldn’t be taboo.

Will they add multiple pieces and truly prioritize revitalizing the team? I doubt it, but I think that they’re aware they need to make some changes in addition to retaining Judge. And if they can’t keep Judge we know that they’re being active on multiple high-end free agents as a contingency, so they’re clearly not averse to spending this offseason.