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New York Yankees: Evil Empire Back Once Again

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman announces his team's trades during a 2017 press conference.

Following a disappointing 82-80 season, the New York Yankees are determined to operate back to their Evil Empire days once again.

After a disappointing 2023 season, the New York Yankees were desperately trying to get back to their own winning ways. It did not even take long to accomplish this goal. Earlier this week, the Yankees were able to land two outfielders in separate blockbuster deals that no saw coming. The first deal came along with their long-time rivals Boston Red Sox in which they came to agreement on bringing LF Alex Verdugo to New York.  Then came the second deal which probably sets off the entire offseason. The Yankees and San Diego Padres came to terms on acquiring RF Juan Soto. The deal did sting a bit as the Yankees had to surrender RP/SP Michael King, SP Drew Thorpe, C Kyle Higashioka, SP Jhony Brito, and SP Randy Vasquez, but the bottom line is that the Yanks added a superstar.

But this comes as no surprise. Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said everything, including trades and signings, would be “on the table” at the Winter Meetings. It does sound that the Yankees are trying to go on a spending spree this offseason. Last time they have done so dates back to 2008. That offseason, the team had signed SP CC Sabathia, SP AJ Burnett and 1B Mark Teixeira. The rest was history.

Question is, can the New York Yankees become the Evil Empire they were once were? Time will tell.

The Ability to Pass the Tax Threshold

It has been very clear that the Yankees really want to go all in during this year’s offseason. In other words, after picking up both Verdugo and Soto through trades, signs are pointing to the team spending big in other important needs. Spending resources effectively may include adding another starting pitcher as one of the important needs. Yes, an ace starting pitcher is another huge step in taking the Yankees to the place they want to go, which is the World Series.

In the search for a starting pitcher to lead this team, one name that comes to mind is SP Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Yamamoto is expected to sign this offseason after his NPB team posted him. Achieving success won’t be an easy bid, though. The San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, and possibly the Los Angeles Dodgers are all contending teams to acquire Yamamoto. The Yankees may have to bid to over $300 million if they were land him, which is a fair price. That being said, overspending may result in resetting the taxes.

There may be consequences, as well, as a result of passing the tax threshold.  One of them is that the Yanks may lose comprehensive draft picks in future drafts. This happened before many times. The most memorable one dates back to the time in 2009 when the Yankees missed on the potential for OF Mike Trout thanks to the signing of Mark Teixeira back in 2008. It is hard to complain, though, since Teixeira helped bring the Commissioner’s Trophy back to the Bronx.


The Opportunity to Lock Up the Future

There is a very decent chance that the Yankees may very well start locking up key players towards long-term extensions. This is a trend the Atlanta Braves popularized back in 2022. Players that they locked up include 3B Austin Riley, 1B Matt Olson, SP Spencer Strider, CF Michael Harris, and C Sean Murphy. Some of these players turned out to be homegrown players, but others were headline acquisitions.

The Yankees may have the opportunity to do the same thing when the time comes. The players they must lock up for sure includes Juan Soto, 2B Gleyber Torres, C Austin Wells, and CF Jasson Domínguez. By doing so, it keeps the team competitive for years to come even with competitive tax issues ahead. Torres and Soto are entering their final years of team control, so they won’t come cheap.

Not to mention this move also allows the Yankees to benefit financially. By locking in contracts early, the team may avoid inflated market prices for in-demand players. This can be especially advantageous in the context of rising player salaries and the competitive nature of free agency. It can give the team the ability to allocate resources more efficiently. More importantly, this kind of financial move benefits in regard to strategic budgeting and planning for other aspects of the team, such as player development, scouting, and facility upgrades. The committed cost of players allows the front office to make informed decisions and maintain a balanced budget.

The Opportunity to Redeem Themselves

Following the disappointing season, the Yankees may have another opportunity to give the fanbase what it desperately needs. And that need is change. This team needs major changes in order to compete with other teams that currently lie ahead of them. It’s been 14 years already that this team hasn’t gone to a World Series. But with these moves on the horizon, look out: the old New York Yankees that we’ve known may be back once again.

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