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Where do the Yankees’ 40-man roster and payroll stand?

With the hot stove percolating, we check in on the Yankees roster and payroll.

New York Mets v New York Yankees Photo by Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images

Ah, the weekend after Thanksgiving! The shoppers of America have descended upon the malls, looking to score early deals in their quest to complete their holiday shopping. Radio stations have ceased to play Christmas music quietly and with shame and instead blast it joyfully and with pride for all to hear. And, most importantly, the early offseason is officially in the rearview mirror: over the next few weeks, the hot stove will turn the heat up high enough to keep us warm throughout the darkest days of the year. With that in mind, let’s take a look at where the Yankees’ 40-man roster and payroll currently stand.

The Guaranteed Contracts

(Note: contract info from Spotrac; as the Yankees worry about luxury tax impact over total dollars, that’s the figure that we will use)

  1. Aaron Judge, RF, $40 million
  2. Gerrit Cole, SP, $36 million
  3. Carlos Rodón, SP, $27 million
  4. Giancarlo Stanton, RF/DH, $22 million
  5. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, $20 million
  6. DJ LeMahieu, UT, $15 million
  7. Aaron Hicks, CF, $9.26 million (retained salary)
  8. Tommy Kahnle, RP, $5.75 million

Total Value of Guaranteed Contracts: $175 million

The Yankees have an immense amount of money invested in just eight contracts, which total just seven players currently on the roster. Unfortunately, aside from Judge and Cole, the 2022 AL MVP and 2023 AL Cy Young, this group is filled with questions. Can Rodón put an injury-filled disaster of a Bronx introduction behind him and return to the pitcher who was arguably the league’s best in 2021 and 2022? Will age continue to catch up with Stanton and LeMahieu? Is Rizzo’s concussion behind him? Can Kahnle regain the consistency that made him a key part of the Yankees bullpen in 2017 and 2019? Only time will tell.

Arbitration-Eligible Players

(Note: arbitration estimates taken from MLB Trade Rumors)

  1. Gleyber Torres, 2B, $15.3 million
  2. Clay Holmes, RP, $6 million
  3. Nestor Cortes, SP, $3.9 million
  4. Jose Trevino, C, $2.7 million
  5. Michael King, SP/RP, $2.6 million
  6. Clarke Schmidt, SP, $2.6 million
  7. Jonathan Loáisiga, RP, $2.5 million
  8. Kyle Higashioka, C, $2.3 million

Total Value of Arbitration Projections: $37.9 million

Heading into the offseason, the Yankees had a whopping 17 players eligible for arbitration, most in the league. Since then, they traded Jake Bauers to the Brewers, non-tendered Albert Abreu, Lou Trivino, and Anthony Misiewicz, and outrighted Domingo Germán, Billy McKinney, Franchy Cordero, Matt Bowman, Jimmy Cordero, and Ryan Weber. Even with only eight arbitration-eligible players, however, the Yankees have a number of key contributors under team control for a relative bargain next year.

Pre-Arbitration Players

  1. Anthony Volpe, SS
  2. Jhony Brito, SP/RP
  3. Oswaldo Cabrera, UT
  4. Jasson Domínguez, CF
  5. Scott Effross, RP
  6. Estevan Florial, OF
  7. Luis Gil, SP
  8. Yoendrys Gómez, SP
  9. Ian Hamilton, RP
  10. Matt Krook, RP
  11. Ron Marinaccio, RP
  12. Oswald Peraza, SS/3B
  13. Everson Pereira, LF
  14. Nick Ramirez, RP
  15. Ben Rortvedt, C
  16. Randy Vasquez, SP/RP
  17. Greg Weissert, RP
  18. Austin Wells, C

Total Projected Value, assuming league minimum contracts: $13.86 million

As they are in the midst of a retool/rebuild type period powered (hopefully) by a youth movement, it should come as no surprise that the Yankees have a number of pre-arbitration players on the 40-man roster. Ranging from top prospects and highly-touted youngsters who look to make significant impacts in 2024 (Volpe, Domínguez, Wells, Peraza) to the members of the Scranton Shuttle (Weissert, Brito, Ramirez, Vasquez, etc.), this group will undoubtedly play a major role for the Bombers next year — although that role might just be as trade chips in a deal for somebody like Juan Soto.

Players Yet to Reach the Majors

  1. Clayton Beeter, SP
  2. Carlos Narvaez, C
  3. Agustin Ramirez, C

The bottom of the roster is always filled out with players the team is looking to protect from the Rule 5 Draft.

40-Man Roster By Position

Catchers: Trevino, Higashioka, Wells, Rortvedt, Narvaez, Ramirez
First Basemen: Rizzo
Second Basemen: Torres
Shortstops: Volpe, Peraza
Third Basemen: LeMahieu
Outfielders: Judge, Cabrera, Domínguez, Florial, Pereira, Stanton
Starting Pitchers: Cole, Rodón, Cortes, King, Schmidt, Brito, Vásquez, Beeter, Gil, Gómez
Relief Pitchers: Holmes, Loáisiga, Kahnle, Effross, Hamilton, Krook, Marinaccio, Ramirez, Weissert

Total Projected Payroll: $226.76 million
Total Number on Roster: 36

The Yankees are going to be active on the trade market this winter. Don’t take my word from it, and don’t take the reports linking Soto to the Yankees or suggesting that Torres might be available. Look instead at the number of catchers on the 40-man roster: SIX!

No Major League team needs six catchers on their roster at the same time, particularly when the two that are out of minor league options (Higashioka and Rortvedt) are not the same two who are most likely to be on the Opening Day roster (Wells and Trevino). Since the Yankees did not non-tender either Higgy or Rortvedt, Brian Cashman is probably looking to deal from a position of relative strength — Yankees catchers did put up 3.0 fWAR last year, 10th most in the league. No one’s going to confuse them with Yogi Berra, but there isn’t a terribly deep class of catchers around the league.

What will they target on the trade market? How will the team’s reported interest in Cody Bellinger, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and Jung Hoo Lee (and others) play out? Sit back with us over the next couple months and find out.