Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Yankees luxury tax bill for this year is going to be $29 million. Which is more than the Astros’ entire payroll. Which is special.
You can read his whole store for the politics and mechanics of the luxury tax. But the takeaway here is that, for as much grief as the Yankees are taking for wanting to get their payroll under $189 million next year, thereby avoiding the luxury tax, the economic incentive for them to do so is really freakin’ compelling. They’re paying a 50% tax rate every year they go over the luxury tax threshold now. Just one year beneath it and it resets to 17.5%.
That might make next year pretty ugly. But it’ll make the years beyond that a bit easier for Brian Cashman.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.