Why Bryce Would Not Be Nice
The Yankees have always been known as the team that throws money at aging free agents. Growing up, I remember the Carl Pavano signing and how disastrous that was. From players like Kei Igawa to Jacoby Ellsbury, the Yankees have (usually) done a poor job of choosing which free agents to throw money at.
The 2018 free agent class will be historic — Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, and Clayton Kershaw are potential free agents, just to name a few. Organizations will offer an astronomical amount of money to these stars. Despite the urge to spend an obscene amount of money on Bryce Harper, the Yankees truly should not. Harper will likely come at a price tag of at least $40 million per year for at least seven years. Harper will be 26 years old (in the prime of his career) during the most lucrative free agency ever. That does not hide the fact that spending $400 million is not worthwhile for the Yankees. If 2016 is any indication of the future, the Yankees would be wasting their money. Consider the following comparison. Player 1: .243, 24 HR, 86 RBI. Player 2: .267, 26 HR, 87 RBI. If you are like most people, you would choose player 2. Player 1 is Bryce Harper, player 2 is Jackie Bradley Jr. Is Jackie Bradley Jr. a candidate for even $100 million?
Another reason the Yankees do not need to throw hundreds of millions of dollars at one player is because their farm system is overflowing with talent. Aaron Judge has already taken over right field, and the Yankees believe he has a future there. Clint Frazier, the main piece from the Andrew Miller trade, is already knocking on the door to the big leagues after a season in which he hit 16 home runs across three minor league levels. The Yankees also have another top prospect in Blake Rutherford, who they drafted in the with the 18th pick overall in the 2016 draft. Rutherford posted .351/.415/.570 across two levels and definitely has the potential of becoming a difference maker in the MLB. Dustin Fowler is a lesser known prospect, but has performed at every level in the minor leagues and could be promoted to the big leagues as soon as this year. This influx of talent may (and should) be enough to persuade Brian Cashman that the Yankees will be a super team without a super signing.
Whenever a talented free agent is available, there are always whispers that the Yankees have interest. This past offseason saw rumors circulate of the Yankees flirting with the idea of Edwin Encarnacion, Carlos Beltran, Mike Napoli and a few others, only to see the Yankees (smartly) settle for Matt Holliday on a one-year deal. In 2018, several extraordinary baseball players will be available in free agency. As a lifelong Yankees fan, I hope they spend their money wisely. Otherwise the Yankee fan base is looking at another long, ugly marriage.