Few things in life are as jarring as dozing off to sleep, only to be woken up less than an hour later by cats running around. It really wakes you up, if only for a moment. This happened to me a few hours ago, but honestly it was nothing compared to how I felt about a minute later when I picked up the phone in the middle of the night to check the time and the ensuing push- Notification saw:
“Twins sign Carlos Correa”
The cats might as well have stood up and started singing the Oompa-Lumpa song to me. It would have been less shocking.
Yep, sort of, after that long, lockout-punctuated offseason with theories swirling left and right about Carlos Correa’s ultimate destination, the star shortstop signed the twins to a mere three-year, $105.3 million-a-year deal Markus Bermann. At the start of the offseason, MLB Trade Rumors and The Athletic’s Jim Bowden were forecasting 10-year deals worth over $300 million, so Correa ultimately went ahead with it, quite a departure from expectations. Its average annual value of $35.1 million will be larger than those estimates, and there will be opt-outs, but just imagining Correa deciding to take on such a short-term deal went a long way.
The worst thing about all of these developments for Yankees fans? Choose your poison because it is one of two options:
1) Considering the twins’ budget, they only seemed able to pull this off because the Yankees did them a favor by taking just over $50 million off their books in the Josh Donaldson trade.
2) Even in the end, the Yankees never seemed remotely on a star player in a position where they needed a big improvement — all because of Hal Steinbrenner’s reluctance to spend money.
Despite some noise, the Yankees have never actually been with Correa (despite the due diligence they take with pretty much every free agent) and never really intended to be with him.
— Erik Boland (@eboland11) March 19, 2022
If you read what Hal Steinbrenner said on Wednesday, #Yankees didn’t add $35 million for Correa to this season’s payroll.
Donaldson & Kiner-Falefa grossed around $14 million net for 2022, with Sanchez/Urshela expected to make $14 million combined despite being Arb.
— David Lennon (@DPLennon) March 19, 2022
Both are really amazing.
Throughout the offseason, the Yankees have been insistent in the media that they are more interested in a stopgap shortstop because they have very good prospects in the farm system thanks to Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza. It would be perfectly reasonable to argue that this was short-sighted thinking, and given how poorly the Yankees were at shortstop last year, that would constitute a discredit of that team’s current championship window, which focuses on Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gerrit Cole to settle for a stopgap when several stars were available for sheer money – Correa, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Marcus Semien, Javier Báez… the list goes on.
The Yankees seemed to be true to their word, choosing Isiah Kiner-Falefa as the shortstop stopgap. They acquired him on March 14 in a deal with the Twins, who also sent Donaldson’s contract to the Bronx in exchange for catcher Gary Sánchez and third baseman Gio Urshela. To be fair, Donaldson isn’t exactly toast; After all, he hit 26 homers with 127 OPS+ in 135 games last year. However, injuries have actually slowed him down in recent years and could strike again. It’s a roll of the dice, especially given the loss of offense that the Yankees will take behind the plate with the Kyle Higashioka/Ben Rortvedt tandem in place of Sánchez. Maybe their defense will make up for it a bit, but maybe not.
However, Kiner-Falefa appeared to be a largely benign part of the trade. It was fair to assume that given her comments, the Yankees would simply go forward with a makeshift rather than Correa or any of the others. I wasn’t happy about it but it happened and I was prepared to be modestly hopeful that Kiner-Falefa would at least shore up central defence.
Well, to see that Correa could have been that makeshift all along? And to see the Yankees quiet weren’t interested? It’s appalling, and the Twins using the Yankees’ own money against them is just a sting in the eye and a black mark on the records of Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman.
Let’s say the Yankees under Steinbrenner have a budget that they refuse to go to the Dodgers or Mets levels to make that happen. It’s an annoying hypothesis, because the Yankees have Scrooge McDuck-esque money pools in their metaphorical vaults, but whatever, we’ll assume and play a game with our old pal, math.
According to David Lennon’s tweet above, the Donaldson trade added $14 million to the Yankees’ 2022 payroll. Getting Anthony Rizzo back to first base meant throwing another $11 million on the pile (being generous and subtracting the $5 million saved by trading Luke Voit to the Padres). At this point, it’s still $10 million to come down to the roughly $35 million that Correa will make in 2022, and that’s assuming no additional additions are made to reach that total, what is far from clear as Brett Gardner is still out there. as well as the ability to add an A starter.
Assuming none of that happened and the status quo from the end of the lockout was still in place — Steinbrenner can’t add the equivalent of a mid-rotation starter to bring in a transcendent player who could still be a stopgap for the team anyways like that longed for it? Correa would be a more reliable bet than Donaldson or Kiner-Falefa, that’s for sure.
It’s a slap in the face for Yankees fans around the world, regardless of how you personally feel about Correa in the wake of the sign-theft scandal. Even if you don’t like Correa, the thought process behind Steinbrenner’s cold calculation should make you feel like the Yankees really care not do anything to win a 28th championship. They should be embarrassed about what the twins have done with their own money, and yet I can’t help feeling they’re mildly concerned at best.
But hey, at least the man who owns the most valuable franchise in esports can say so.Partners and banks and bondholders” that he is doing his best not to spend money. good for him