With a tough offseason staring the Yankees in the face after failing to advance to the World Series yet again, the payroll and planning for 2020 came a bit more into focus with MLB Trade Rumors releasing their annual salary arbitration estimates. The site has a formula that uses games played, production and other awards to determine what players will make at their various stops through arbitration.
The Yankees have 11 players who are eligible, with seven going through the process for the first time:
- James Paxton (Arb. 3) – $12.9M
- Tommy Kahnle (Arb. 3) – $3.0M
- Greg Bird (Arb. 2) – $1.3M
- Aaron Judge (Arb. 1) – $6.4M
- Gary Sanchez (Arb. 1) – $5.6M
- Gio Urshela (Arb. 1) – $2.2M
- Chad Green (Arb. 1) – $1.4M
- Jordan Montgomery (Arb. 1) – $1.2M
- Luis Cessa (Arb. 1) – $1.1M
- Jonathan Holder (Arb. 1) – $800K
- Tyler Lyons (Arb. 1 or Pre-Arb) – $800K
It’s unclear whether Tyler Lyons will be eligible for Arb 1 with his service time, as FanGraphs payroll page lists him as a pre-arb player.
Paxton, of course, is due for the highest salary in the class given that it’s his third and final time through arbitration before hitting free agency after the 2020 season. Kahnle is also going through the process for a third time, but the Yankees successfully gained another year of control over the reliever as a result of his injury-related struggles in 2018.
The team has a few options with each player on how to proceed. The most common scenario is that the team and player agree on a contract and “avoid arbitration”. The team’s 2018-19 arbitration class saw eight out of nine players agree to contracts in this way.
That ninth player was Luis Severino, who looked to be headed to an arbitration hearing with the Yankees after not agreeing to avoid arbitration. Rather than going to the hearing, however, the two parties hammered out a fully-guaranteed four-year, $40 million extension that removed Severino from the arbitration process permanently.
The prime extension candidate in the arbitration class is Judge, who could become pricey rather quickly and is a steal at his Arb. 1 salary. His earning power has been repeatedly depressed by injuries stealing his playing time,
The last path the team can take with arbitration eligible players would be to not tender them a contract (or “non-tender” them). That would make them immediately become free agents and free to sign with any team they please.