The 2019 MLB Winter meetings kicked off on Sunday and the trade window has already seen a record deal go through. Stephen Strasburg signed a seven-year $245 million record deal with the Washington Nationals. With Strasburg gone, many teams will focus their attention on the other top free-agents: Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson.
The New York Yankees are favourites to get Gerrit Cole on their roster, but face stiff competition from both Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels. But if history is something to go by, the Yankees are known to stretch limits to get their desired targets. The New York Yankees have made a five year $245 million offer for Gerrit Cole according to multiple American media reports, a record figure for a pitcher.
The Yankees are already making efforts to make some space on their roster for potential acquisition of Gerrit Cole, with the New York side willing to offload veteran J.A. Happ. Happ signed a $34 million deal running for 2 years in 2018. The New York Yankees are actively shopping for him, considering J.A. Happ accounts for $17 million towards luxury tax, a figure that the Yankees are trying to cut down.
The New York Yankees will be over the first luxury-tax brink of $208 million and most likely the second penalty level of $228 million as well in 2020. If the Yankees manage to move most of Happ’s payroll, they can avoid the $248 million top penalty level of payment. J.A. Happ is coming off of a mediocre year for the New York Yankees. The 37-year surrendered a career-worst 34 homes runs in 161.1 innings. Happ went 12-8 with a 4.91 ERA and was eventually downgraded to pitching in relief behind an opener. Trading J.A. Happ won’t be easy considering his age, salary and his disastrous 2019 season. But a deal can be worked upon if The New York Yankees offer to cover some of the player’s salary or add a promising prospect or two.