The Yankees are in the conversation for nearly all of the top free agents every winter and that’s no different this time around, but recent reports cast serious doubt on the Bronx Bombers’ desire to spend big on a shortstop. While it’s entirely possible this is a case of negotiating through the media, owner Hal Steinbrenner also admitted that he voted in favor of the league’s proposal to lower the competitive balance tax threshold to $180 million.
With the Yankees already at an estimated $228 million in CBT payroll for next season, you can see how they might balk at adding another $30 million or more from just one player. That’s not purely a matter of money, it’s about not wanting to stymie the potential for shortstops Anthony Volpe (No. 1 overall in system) or Oswald Peraza (No. 3) to have an impact by 2023. Believing one of both of those players could be up soon might have the Yanks seeking a different option than Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, or any of the other top shortstops on the market.
According to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, Correa is said to be looking for more than seven years at $30 million annually with an opt-out clause. He also wants to remain at short, which could narrow his offers. Correa indicated to NBC Sports Chicago’s Gordon Wittenmyer that he’d be seeking 10 years and Matthew Roberson of the New York Daily News has heard from sources that the former Astros start “will not settle for anything less than the $341 million figure that Francisco Lindor got from the Mets.”
Seager seems to be flying under the radar by comparison, mainly because he’s not quite as vocal as his counterpart nor is he expected to command quite as much in either time or money. Even so, the former Dodger should at least approach that $300 million figure over close to a decade. He also may be more willing to change positions down the road, which would make him a better fit for teams that have multiple shortstops matriculating through the minors.
If the Yankees are truly not participating top of the market, which I still don’t entirely believe, that reduced competition could mean slightly lower prices. Or it just means the latest twist in the narrative provides an opening for other teams to pounce prior to December 1.
That means the Cubs just need to go to $342 million over 11 years ($31.1M AAV) and snap up Correa. Or they could allocate just a little less to get both Corey and Kyle Seager. I mean, Jed Hoyer just said they have money to spend and that they’re going to spend it intelligently, and what’s more intelligent than getting two for the price of one?