The deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players is now 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 30 after Major League Baseball and the Players Association agreed to advance the cutoff date.
The deadline was originally Dec. 2, but baseball’s collective bargaining agreement expires on Dec. 1, and there is no new deal in sight. A lockout, and thus a freeze on roster moves, is expected.
The Yankees have a few players they could consider non-tendering, including three organizational fixtures over the last few years: Miguel Andújar, Luke Voit and Gary Sánchez. Clint Frazier and Tyler Wade, two others with longstanding ties to the franchise, have already been shown the door. Could more join them?
Like Frazier, Andújar is a once-heralded prospect who hasn’t met expectations due to health issues and inconsistent opportunities. He raked in 2018 and finished second in Rookie of the Year voting, losing to Shohei Ohtani. But he’s played in just 78 MLB games since then, and defense has been a problem at third base and in left field.
Andújar doesn’t have much trade value or a clear fit with the Yankees at this point, making him an obvious non-tender candidate. However, MLB Trade Rumors projects he would get just $1.7 million in arbitration. New York could decide that’s a price worth paying for a 26-year-old who’s shown potential at the plate.
Voit is projected to get a higher payout in arbitration at $5.4 million. The 2020 home run champ is currently the only starting caliber first baseman on New York’s roster (unless you count DJ LeMahieu), but knee injuries derailed his 2021 campaign and prompted the Yankees to trade for Anthony Rizzo, a lefty hitter and better fielder.
It’s possible the Yankees re-sign Rizzo or swing even bigger at first base in a trade for someone like Oakland’s Matt Olson. Doing so would once again leave Voit on the outside looking in, but non-tendering the slugger before any alternatives come to fruition would be risky. Voit has proven to be an impact hitter when on the field and should still have some trade value if the Yankees go in a different direction at first.
The Yankees considered non-tendering Sánchez last winter after a disastrous, COVID-shortened 2020 season, but they ultimately kept him around for a slight raise. Sánchez is now projected to earn $7.9 million in arbitration after only making marginal strides in 2021.
The catching market, however, is paper-thin outside of a few potential trades, and New York is not the only team that may shop for a backstop. Sánchez’s 99 OPS+ still made him a top-15 hitter at an offensively-starved position in 2021, per MLB.com’s Mike Petriello, a reminder that the grass isn’t always greener. With Kyle Higashioka adding defense, the Yankees have a solid catching situation overall (though the 40-man roster lacks other receivers). The question is can they improve it.
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