Opening Day is less than three weeks away and the Yankees recently wrapped up their final little bit of offseason business. The Yankees have signed their 21 pre-arbitration-eligible players to one-year deals for 2019, reports the Associated Press. That’s everyone. The entire 40-man roster is under contract.
As a reminder, players with less than three years of service time do not have arbitration rights. The team can pay them pretty much whatever they want, though they usually negotiate with the player and agree to a salary to maintain a good relationship. The Yankees agreed to deals with everyone this year and did not unilaterally renew anyone, which they did with Dellin Betances back in the day.
Here, via the Associated Press, are the salary details. Because I like you, I’ve gone through the trouble of including each player’s year-to-year raise in parenthesis, assuming last year’s salary information is available. The Major League minimum rose from $545,000 last season to $555,000 this season.
|Service Time (Years.Days)||MLB Salary||MiLB Salary|
|Gary Sanchez||2.086||$669,800 ($49,400)||$310,200|
|Aaron Judge||2.051||$684,300 ($62,000)||$311,150|
|Chad Green||2.050||$598,650 ($27,850)||$285,400|
|Jordan Montgomery||1.153||$596,600 ($16,150)||$290,225|
|Luis Cessa||1.131||$578,975 ($10,050)||$210,768|
|Ben Heller||1.096||$555,000 ($7,525)||$273,738|
|Clint Frazier||1.057||$563,300 ($4,100)||$222,711|
|Miguel Andujar||1.020||$617,600 ($71,800)||$269,216|
|Domingo German||1.017||$577,500 ($29,275)||$190,150|
|Tyler Wade||1.007||$572,000 ($20,700)||$155,692|
|Luke Voit||0.169||$573,200 ($27,600)||$145,673|
|Gleyber Torres||0.162||$605,200 ($60,200)||$240,210|
|Jonathan Loaisiga||0.047||$560,550 ($15,550)||$92,766|
|Thairo Estrada||0.000||$555,000 ($10,000)||$90,400|
Unless the two sides agree to a long-term contract, all pre-arb players sign non-guaranteed one-year split contracts that pay them one salary in the big leagues and another in the minors. Non-guaranteed means the team can release the player in Spring Training and pay him only a fraction of his contract. I don’t expect that to happen with anyone though. I’m just saying.
Most teams, including the Yankees, have a sliding salary scale based on service time for pre-arb players, with escalators for All-Star Games and awards voting, things like that. Minor league salary is determined by big league service time and tenure on the 40-man roster more than anything. This is Harvey’s first year on the 40-man. It’s Abreu’s and Estrada’s second and their minor league salaries are almost exactly double Harvey’s. The math is easy enough.
It goes without saying many pre-arb players are grossly underpaid. Judge at less than $700,000 is one of the best bangs for the buck in baseball. Players make nothing early in their careers, and it used to be that teams made it up on the back end during free agency. That isn’t really the case anymore. The MLBPA should push for increased pay for players with 0-6 years of service time. I’m not sure increased spending on free agency is realistic in the analytics era.
The Yankees have already signed Luis Severino and Aaron Hicks long-term this spring, and reports indicate they’re talking extensions with others as well. Impending free agents Dellin Betances and Didi Gregorius are presumably the top priorities. Judge and Sanchez are in their final dirt cheap pre-arb season, so I’d assume the Yankees will talk to them about an extension at some point. They might enjoy the huge six-figure production in 2019 first.