The New York Yankees are ready to make a splash in free agency, and they're reportedly willing to exceed the luxury tax threshold this winter, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman.
The club is also talking to the "five big shortstops" in free agency, Heyman adds.
Heyman's report comes after Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters Tuesday that the team's payroll would increase next season. He also said owner Hal Steinbrenner hasn't given him a "set budget" for 2022.
The Yankees are reportedly focused on adding an elite shortstop this winter to replace Gleyber Torres, who has been moved back to second base. The top five players available at the position include Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, Corey Seager, Javier Baez and Marcus Semien.
It's unclear what kind of contract those players are looking for. However, Correa reportedly turned down a five-year, $160 million contract offer from the Houston Astros, which means he's probably searching for more.
The Athletic's Jim Bowden released his predictions for what each shortstop will get this winter:
- Seager: 10 years, $320 million
- Correa: 10 years, $300 million
- Story: Seven years, $204 million
- Baez: Six years, $172 million
- Semien: Five years, $148 million
The Yankees will face intense competition for any of those shortstops, and any of those contracts would put New York over the luxury tax threshold. In addition to help at shortstop, the Yankees could also use reinforcements in center field and at catcher. Gary Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka have underperformed behind the plate, and Brett Gardner, who has platooned center and left field in the Bronx his entire career, is now a free agent.
However, the team doesn't appear to be concerned about exceeding the luxury tax after a disappointing finish to the 2021 season. Despite having the fifth-highest payroll in baseball last season ($208.9 million), the Pinstripes were embarrassed in a 6-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox in the American League wild-card game.