Yankees 2021 Arbitration Deadline | MLB.com (www.mlb.com)

While the stalemate of DJ LeMahieu’s free agency has placed the Yankees’ offseason into a holding pattern, the organization will move on several important pieces of business this week. By Friday, teams and unsigned arbitration-eligible players must exchange salary proposals for the 2021 season.
Aaron Judge headlines the star-studded group

While the stalemate of DJ LeMahieu’s free agency has placed the Yankees’ offseason into a holding pattern, the organization will move on several important pieces of business this week. By Friday, teams and unsigned arbitration-eligible players must exchange salary proposals for the 2021 season.

Aaron Judge headlines the star-studded group of players who will be fielding financial figures, with Clint Frazier, Gary Sánchez, Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela and Luke Voit also among the interested parties. Here’s a breakdown of what will be at stake:

What is salary arbitration?
Players with three or more years of MLB service time but fewer than six (when they qualify for free agency) can negotiate their salaries for the upcoming season, which are primarily based on comparable players who have signed contracts in recent seasons. The player and the club will each present a salary figure no later than Friday at 1 p.m. ET.

If the player and club cannot agree to terms, then a hearing is scheduled in February, when a panel of three arbitrators, who, after hearing arguments from both sides, selects either the salary figure of the player or the club. Players and clubs can continue to negotiate salaries between Friday and a potential hearing on a one-year contract or a multi-year deal, which is typically how these negotiations settle.

Which Yankees are eligible for arbitration?
The Yankees have reached agreements with two of their arbitration-eligible players, agreeing to one-year deals with right-hander Luis Cessa ($1.025M) and righty Ben Heller ($625,000). Here are the other Yanks players up for arbitration and their projected 2021 salaries, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

(All 2020 salary figures indicate what the player would have earned if the season had been played in full.)

• OF Aaron Judge (second year, $10.5M projected)
Judge appeared to be on an American League MVP Award-worthy track early in the pandemic-shortened season, mashing nine homers before sustaining a right calf injury, then reinjuring it on his first day back in the lineup. Limited to 28 games, Judge batted .257/.336/.554 with 22 RBIs (140 wRC+). Judge’s 2020 salary was $8.5 million.

• C Gary Sánchez (second year, $6.5M projected)
Sánchez is coming off what he has described as his most frustrating professional season, in which he batted .147/.253/.365 with 10 home runs and 24 RBIs in 49 games (69 wRC+). The Yankees are counting upon a bounce-back year from Sánchez, who was set to earn $5 million last year.

• 3B Gio Urshela (second year, $4.75M projected)
Urshela remained a steady force at the hot corner for New York, posting a .298/.368/.490 slash line with six homers and 30 RBIs in 43 games (133 wRC+). He underwent surgery in December to remove a bone spur in his right elbow, with a three-month recovery forecast. Urshela’s 2020 salary was $2.475 million.

• 1B Luke Voit (first year, $2.75M projected)
The Major Leagues’ home run leader with 22, Voit enjoyed a breakout campaign in which he batted .277/.338/.610 with 52 RBIs in 56 games (152 wRC+). A football player in baseball spikes, Voit achieved those stats despite plantar fasciitis that impacted his mobility. Voit’s 2020 salary was $634,000.

• RHP Chad Green (second year, $2.25M projected)
One of the Yankees’ more reliable relievers and a key piece of the bridge to closer Aroldis Chapman, Green pitched to a 3.51 ERA in 22 appearances spanning 25 2/3 innings, recording 32 strikeouts against 13 hits and eight walks. Green’s 2020 salary was $1.275 million.

• SS Gleyber Torres (first year, $2.25M projected)
Torres’ performance dipped markedly in the pandemic-shortened season, as he batted .243/.356/.358 with three homers and 16 RBIs in 42 games (106 wRC+), following a 2019 campaign in which he slugged 38 homers with 90 RBIs. Torres was set to earn $675,600 in 2020.

• OF Clint Frazier (first year, $1.5M projected)
Frazier earned a place in the outfield by emerging as one of the Yanks’ more productive players, compiling a .267/.394/.511 slash line with eight homers and 26 RBIs in 39 games (149 wRC+). He was also an AL Gold Glove Award finalist in right field. Frazier’s 2020 salary was set for $588,100.

• LHP Jordan Montgomery (second year, $805,000 projected)
Montgomery made 10 regular-season starts for New York, going 2-3 with a 5.11 ERA. In 44 innings, he struck out 47 while allowing 48 hits and nine walks. Montgomery provided a solid four-inning start in the AL Division Series against Tampa Bay, and he was set to earn $850,000 in 2020.

How often do cases reach arbitration?
The Yankees have had only two recent cases advance to arbitration. The most recent was right-hander Dellin Betances, who requested $5 million and was awarded $3 million in February 2017. Prior to Betances, the most recent Yankee to reach arbitration was righty Chien-Ming Wang in 2008.

How will arbitration negotiations affect the rest of the Yankees’ offseason?
Coming off a season in which managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner has said that the Yankees lost more money than any other team, the club is eyeing the possibility of reducing payroll below the luxury tax threshold of $210 million. Their guaranteed contracts on the books for 2021 total approximately $126 million.

If Cot’s arbitration estimates are accurate, payroll would rise to approximately $174.5 million, including the salaries of players with less than three years of service on the 40-man roster and player benefits. Theoretically, that would leave the Yankees with about $35.5 million to remain under the luxury tax threshold while filling their other needs, such as signing LeMahieu and adding pitching.

has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.



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