While the Yankees have no interest in re-signing Javier Vazquez following a disastrous one-season return to New York, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com they’ll offer him arbitration because Vazquez has agreed ahead of time to decline the offer.
In other words, the Yankees will be able to collect a supplemental draft pick between the first and second rounds as compensation for Vazquez signing elsewhere without having to actually risk him accepting their arbitration offer. They never would have taken that risk without Vazquez agreeing ahead of time to decline arbitration, so this essentially gives the Yankees a free draft pick.
I’m not exactly sure what benefit Vazquez gets for agreeing to decline the offer and hand the Yankees a sandwich-round pick, but he’s not the first Type B free agent to agree to such an arrangement. Rosenthal notes that general manager Brian Cashman “enjoys a strong relationship” with Vazquez’s agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, so presumably they encouraged him to do the Yankees a favor.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that there is a “one million percent” chance Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will opt out once the season ends.
Just going by the math this makes perfect sense, of course.
Chapman signed a five-year, $86 million deal with the Yankees before the 2017 season. Pursuant to the terms of the deal he’ll make $15 million a year in 2020 and 2021 (he was given an $11 million signing bonus that was finished being paid out last year). This past season the qualifying offer was $17.9 million. Craig Kimbrel of the Cubs just signed a deal that will pay him $16 million in 2020, 2021, and 2022 (he’s making a prorated $16 million this year). Other top closer salaries at the moment include Kenley Jansen ($19,333,334); and Wade Davis ($18 million).
It’s fair to say that Chapman fits into that group and, I think it’s safe to say, more teams would take him than those guys if they were all freely available. As such, Chapman opting out to get more money makes all kinds of sense. Heck, opting out, getting slapped with a qualifying offer, accepting it and then hitting the market unencumbered after the 2020 season would stand him in better financial stead than if he didn’t opt-out in the first place.
The question is whether the Yankees will let it get that far or whether they’ll approach him to renegotiate the final couple of years on the deal or to add some years onto the back of it. If they’re smart they will.