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How Yankees players would be affected by MLB’s latest salary proposal

According to numerous sources, Major League Baseball released a proposal on Tuesday that would significantly cut the salary of all players.

The proposed deal would have to be vetted and agreed upon by the MLBPA but there is already a lot of negativity surrounding deal, and the likelihood of an agreement is low at best. The Players Association said:

The proposal involves massive additional pay cuts and the union is extremely disappointed. We’re also far apart on health and safety protocols.

The cuts would scale based on the salary of each player as follows:

  • $563,501 to $1 million would make 72.5% of his salary
  • $1,000,001 to $5 million would make 50% of his salary
  • $5,000,001 to $10 million would make 40% of his salary
  • $10,000,001 to $20 million would make 30% of his salary
  • $20,000,001 and higher would make 20% of his salary

This obviously has a major effect on all players, but the Yankees roster will be significantly hurt by this proposal. Here is the breakdown of the players getting hit the hardest on the current roster.

Name Pre-COVID 2020 Projected 2020 Salary
Gerrit Cole $36,000,000 $7,200,000
Giancarlo Stanton $26,000,000 $5,200,000
Masahiro Tanaka $23,000,000 $4,600,000
J.A. Happ $17,000,000 $5,100,000
Aroldis Chapman $16,000,000 $4,800,000
Zack Britton $13,000,000 $3,900,000
James Paxton $12,500,000 $3,750,000
DJ LeMahieu $12,000,000 $3,600,000
Aaron Hicks $10,785,714 $3,235,714
Luis Severino $10,500,000 $3,150,000
Brett Gardner $10,000,000 $3,000,000
Adam Ottavino $9,000,000 $3,600,000
Aaron Judge $8,500,000 $3,400,000
Gary Sánchez $5,000,000 $2,000,000
Tommy Kahnle $2,650,000 $1,325,000
Gio Urshela $2,475,000 $1,237,500
Chad Green $1,275,000 $637,500

Gerrit Cole, who just signed the largest contract by a pitcher in MLB history, will take the biggest hit having his 2020 salary slashed by nearly $30 million. Other players such as Giancarlo Stanton and Masahiro Tanaka will have their salaries dropped about $20 million each. The difference for Stanton and Tanaka is that they have already spent some time on their current contracts whereas Cole has not. Since the salary cuts scale based on the guaranteed money, the players on the low-end of the payroll get hit less by percentage. However, even players like Aaron Judge ($3.4 million) will make less than half of what they would have made had 2020 gone to plan.

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The question is whether the players who have those large, guaranteed contracts — who make up the minority of baseball players — should take the field? It puts players like Cole and Stanton in a hard spot. If the MLBPA agrees to the deal, which they won’t, high salary players will be playing for a fraction of the money that they earned when they hit the open market.

Would you agree to work for 20% of your agreed upon salary?

What about the players who haven’t had the chance to test free agency? Players like Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez are eligible for free agency in a few years and are good bets to secure big money. Is there an incentive to play for a percentage of your salary in a shortened season where you could sustain an injury that jeopardizes your future earnings? There is no way to know who will get injured and when, but you can bet there will be an uptick in the frequency of injuries due to the training schedule being thrown into chaos.

Players who are pre-arbitration eligible are hit the least. Guys like Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar were only set to make about $600 thousand. Under this proposal, they’ll take home 72.5% of that.

It will be very interesting to see the reaction from players no matter what deal the owners and the MLBPA agree upon. Stay tuned because this owner/player conflict is starting to get very interesting.