How Yankees payroll could play out, including if they sign Bryce Harper or Manny Machado

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James Paxton is a terrific addition to the Yankees rotation and whatever relief pieces GM Brian Cashman lures to the Bronx likely will be key bullpen figures in 2019, too. Cashman also wants another starting pitcher. 
 
Whoever those hurlers are, though, they won't make the kind of splash that signing Bryce Harper or Manny Machado would. Heck, or both. This is the Yankees we're talking about, after all. 
 
Nor will the new pitchers impact the Yankee payroll in quite the same way as the 26-year-old mega-stars, who are projected by some this winter to stomp Giancarlo Stanton's record $325 million contract. 
 
The website MLBtraderumors.com, which tracks club moves and machinations, predicts Harper will get a 14-year, $420 million contract from the Dodgers and pegs Machado signing with the Phillies for 13 years and $390 million. 
 
Could the Yankees go to those kinds of levels? Sure. Will they? Stay tuned. 
 
After years of talk, the Yankees got under baseball's luxury tax threshold last year, re-setting their penalties for going over it in the future. Ideally, they'd prefer to stay under it again. But they've also been clear that Hal Steinbrenner would consider going over the $206 million barrier, which would start the lowest-level penalties, if the baseball operations folks believe a certain move puts the Yankees over the top. 
 
But the Yanks are operating now in a universe where the Boston Red Sox have won the World Series four times over the last 14 years; the Yanks have won once in that span and the 2019 season is the 10th anniversary of that title team — a team that benefited greatly from an enormous free-agent bonanza, by the way. 
 
With the work they've done so far — trading for Paxton and re-signing Brett Gardner ($7.5 million) and CC Sabathia ($8 million) — the Yankees have roughly $164 million committed to payroll, according to baseball-reference.com, a figure that includes arbitration estimates by MLBtraderumors. Sonny Gray, who figures to earn about $9 million in arbitration, would be shaved off the payroll in a likely trade.
 
They have six veterans on guaranteed contracts: Gardner, Sabathia, Stanton ($26 million), Masahiro Tanaka ($22 million), Jacoby Ellsbury ($21.14 million) and Aroldis Chapman ($17.2 million). Everyone else is eligible for arbitration or pre-arbitration, including burgeoning stars such as Aaron Judge. 
 
It's important to remember this, too: Business is good for the Yankees. They drew at least three million fans (3,482,865) for the 20th consecutive season, adding to their MLB record. They led the American League in total and average (42,998) attendance, and were second in both categories in the majors to the Dodgers. They also set a new Yankee Stadium record with 23 sellouts. 

#baseball, #professional

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