The Yankees are in familiar territory. With no other news, the press throws a high-profile name out there, connects the Yankees, to see if it sticks…
The Yankees have been “connected” to Nolan Arenado for more than a year. Reports of a trade for the All-Star third baseman as imminent or, at the very least, “in the works” have been commonplace.
Ramped up again, complete with exhaustive narratives and dreams of imagining the Yankees lineup with Arenado on board – please, stop it.
It reminds of the giddiness that accompanied all those stories immediately following the trade Brian Cashman made by scooping up Giancarlo Stanton, supposedly when no one was looking.
And all the talk about a lineup having Aaron Judge, Stanton, and Gary Sanchez back-to-back in a star-studded bludgeoning of pitchers – a sight to behold.
Well, so far, how has that worked out for the Yankees?
Hell, The Yankees Print Money, Don’t They?
Let’s concede that Nolan Arenado is one of the top-five players on the planet today, with an exceptional offensive and defensive skill set.
But, let’s also consider the following; first, Arenado is playing his final season before reaching free agency. He is due $26 million this season as a lame-duck, which would put Arenado number three on the Yankees payroll chart, behind only Gerrit Cole and Stanton.
Moreover, even if we assume that Cashman can dump J.A. Happ and the $17 million owed to him this year on the Rockies, that’s still a net gain of $9 on a payroll that already has blown through the tippy top of the luxury tax threshold.
According to Spotrac, the Yankees estimated payroll and tax bill for 2020 is $280 million. Already, the team is $55 million over the limit, which in translation means anything they do in July when team improvements are always needed, only adds to the hit.
The Yankees Have All They Need
The go-getters claim if the Yankees get Arenado as a rental this year, that gives them first-dibs on a contract extension. Sure, but at what cost are they talking about?
What about extensions for the All-Stars they already have? Players like Judge, Sanchez, DJ LeMahieu, and Gleyber Torres are due to be paid their money as well.
You betcha it’s all about money, and yes, we are talking about the franchise that prints money. But that’s missing the point, which is the Yankees have a team in hand that is good enough to win the World Series in 2020.
This is also why Las Vegas has seen fit to set the odds of the Yankees winning it all at +425, meaning if you bet on the Yankees, you’ll need to wager $4.25 for every $1 you want to make in profit.
Las Vegas doesn’t give their money away, and neither should the Yankees.
The salient point remains – the Yankees need to produce on the field, and they should be able to do that comfortably with the team they have.
A Losing Culture Has Little To Do With Money
Back in 2018, Nolan Arenado told the Sporting News that he was “tired of losing” and he wished to be traded. Nothing since then has changed with the Rockies. Only now, Arenado sees the light at the end of the tunnel and free agency around the corner.
Not surprisingly, Aaron Judge is tired of losing, the same as Arenado. Referring to the team’s 2019 season as “a failure,” despite winning 100+ games two years in a row, Judge captures the essence and competitive nature of a pro athlete.
For Aaron Judge and many others on the Yankees, it’s not about the money. It’s about pride and the “feeling” in a winning clubhouse.
In contrast, the Yankees have a business to run and stockholders they must answer to with big fat dividends each year. And having money to burn has nothing to do with nothing.
So, if you want to criticize the Yankees for being responsible, walk the plank in doing so. Nolan Arenado, much as the Yankees are finding out with Giancarlo Stanton, is (or would be) nothing more than a luxury.
A luxury not of the kind Gerrit Cole is – when Cole is defined as a need for the team. There is no need for Arenado on a Yankees team that already has Gio Urshela and Miguel Andujar to play third base.
Let it be. Please, let it be.