Originally written November 08, 2012 on Sliding Into Home:
From Joel Sherman: The Yankees are so serious about dropping under that $189 million luxury tax threshold for 2014 that, according to a source briefed on their plans, they would not even do a two-year contract in the $20 million range with Torii Hunter, The Post has learned. Though Arizona’s Justin Upton has become available at the GM Meetings, a person involved in discussions said, “The Yankees are not on him.” ... Upton, a talented, but enigmatic player, has three years at $38.5 million left on his contract and would count as just $8.54 million (the average annual value of his deal) toward the luxury tax payroll. Nevertheless, even committing those kind of dollars plus the cost-effective prospects necessary to land a player of Upton’s ilk currently is against the Yankees strategy. The Rangers and Rays (who are losing Upton’s brother, B.J., to free agency) were considered the early favorites to get Justin Upton, according to a person involved in talks. The Yankees want to solve right field by committing as few (maybe zero) dollars to 2014 as possible. In fact, if they need to go to two years to keep Kuroda (which they might not agree to do either), it would all but assure not one cent of 2014 money is put toward right field. Because the Yankees have become a place veterans like to play because of the promise of championship contention and a large bloc of like-minded, similar-aged players, Hunter could follow the lead of vets such as Eric Chavez and Raul Ibanez and spurn better offers to play in The Bronx on a one-year deal.I still can't figure out how the Yankees expect to compete and get the salary under that $189M mark. Either way, I don't mind the Yanks passing on Upton or Hunter if he actually demands two years. I still think the best move would be to bring back Ichiro on a one-year deal if that's possible.
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