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Brian Cashman prefers Yankees to stay under luxury tax threshold

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The Yankees have long been viewed as the “evil empire” because of the organization’s willingness to use its financial muscle to bring in baseball’s best players. That changed this past year, as the Yankees opened the 2018 season with a $161,305,917 payroll — only the 10th-largest Opening Day payroll in baseball. The Yankees had either the No. 1 or No. 2 40-man roster payroll at the end of each season dating back to 2000, according to Cot’s Contracts.

After signing CC Sabathia to a one-year deal on Tuesday, reportedly for $8 million, the Yankees’ payroll currently stands at about $157 million. The luxury tax threshold, otherwise known as the competitive balance tax threshold, is set for $206 million in 2019, leaving the Yankees roughly $49 million to play with before being penalized. A club penalized for exceeding the CBT pays a 20 percent tax for the amount of money over the threshold. If a team exceeds it two years in a row, the penalty is 30 percent. Three seasons in a row bumps the penalty to 50 percent. There are also surtaxes based on the amount of money by which a team exceeds the CBT.

Cashman’s preference is for the Yankees to remain under the luxury tax threshold, per Arash Madani, so as not “to line the pockets of opponents to use that [revenue] against us.” What happened to that “evil empire” we used to know and loathe?

When the details of the CBT were revealed in the new collective bargaining agreement in December 2016, Craig was among those to point out that it would be used as a “soft salary cap” and that’s exactly how it has been used. The Yankees were valued by Forbes in April this year at approximately $4 billion. This is not a team that should be concerned about the CBT, especially not to the point where they have dropped almost out of the top-third of the league in payroll, and certainly not to the point where the organization is willing to miss out on big-name free agents like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. The division rival Red Sox just won a championship largely due to the front office’s willingness to spend — free agent signings like David Price and J.D. Martinez made a big impact. Cashman’s comment should be seen as anti-competitive.

There have been various issues over the last couple of years pointing to strife between ownership and the players’ union. The current CBA expires on December 1, 2021. The competitive balance tax could be one of the items the union works to get rid of or alter.

Report: Nathan Eovaldi drawing interest from at least nine teams

Nathan Eovaldi
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Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.

Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.

A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.