Posted on November 26, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
The baseball hot stove has been a little cool thus far in the offseason, in part because teams are waiting for the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement to be settled to see how it may affect free agency this winter. With the recent news that talks are not progressing as hoped and a lockout is possible if an agreement isn’t reached by December 1, there is even more attention on the CBA negotiations. Perhaps no team is keeping a close eye on the negotiations more than the New York Yankees, who believe they will be affected greatly by the new CBA.
“The CBA is going to affect us in the long term,” explained Yankees GM Brian Cashman earlier this week. “It’s already crippled us in the short term. Exhibit A is our free agency last year and a lot of the international markets I’ve been taken out of. The previous CBAs have really hindered us, so I think the next one is something we’re clearly going to be interested in on how it will impact us over the entire course of the term of the contract.”
Cashman is likely referring to MLB’s luxury tax, which attempts to create more balance between big market teams like the Yankees and small market teams. The tax inhibits spending to a certain degree, and if nothing else makes teams think twice before spending freely, as they have to pay even more money than their payroll states. In Cashman’s statement, he also alluded to the international market, in which teams are punished if they exceed their bonus allotment. This can prevent big spenders like the Yankees from being able to invest heavily in international prospects in consecutive years.
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If changes are made to the international bonus system or the luxury tax, it would benefit teams like the Yankees, and may allow Cashman to spend more freely the way many fans are accustomed to seeing from the Bronx Bombers. As Cashman mentioned in his comments this week, the Yankees were uncharacteristically quiet in free agency last winter, and were actually active sellers during the summer trading season in 2016.
Ultimately, the Yankees hope to once again become the big spenders they have been in the past, although whether that will be feasible in the long term will depend on what is decided in the new CBA. Fortunately for Yankees fans, Cashman doesn’t believe the new CBA will affect the team’s plans for this offseason.
“In the short term, I don’t think it will affect how we do business in 2017,” said Cashman. “The last few have impacted us exactly as they were expected to and why it was done the way it was. Lot of teams benefitted significantly, and everyone is always trying to find common ground between small markets and big markets.”
The Yankees reportedly have their sites set on signing an impact offensive player in free agency. New York may also attempt to sign Aroldis Chapman or one of the other marquee closers on the free agent market. When all is said and done, it’s likely that Cashman and the Yankees will spend a considerable amount of money this offseason. But whether they continue to do that in the years to come may depend on the terms of the new CBA.