Which Arbitration Eligible Yankees are Non-Tender Candidates?

The New York Yankees have nine players that are arbitration eligible this winter that are projected to earn a total of $32.8 million by Matt Swartz and MLBTR.

With the New York Yankees still trying to get under the luxury tax threshold in the next two years, they will undoubtedly look for ways to cut payroll, even with several big contracts already coming off the books. One way they can do that is by non-tendering some of their non-essential players who are due for raises through arbitration.

Nine of their players either on the active roster or the disabled list will be arbitration eligible this winter. According to the model developed by Matt Swartz and MLB Trade Rumors, those nine guys will earn something in the neighborhood of $32.8 million combined.

Of that group, there are five no-doubt keepers and four who could be candidates to be non-tendered. Each player is listed with their MLB service time in parentheses and MLBTR’s projected 2017 salary.

Locks to Be Kept

Michael Pineda (5.099) – $7.8 million

Didi Gregorius (3.159) – $5.1 million

Dellin Betances (3.078) – $3.4 million

Adam Warren (4.031) – $2.3 million

Aaron Hicks (3.041) – $1.4 million

While none of these guys will be non-tendered, it is worth noting that the Yankees have a recent history of trading relievers when they are arbitration eligible, for example David Phelps and Justin Wilson the last two winters. Warren isn’t exactly expensive, but if the team thinks their cheaper internal options could replicate his performance, he could be dealt. The same goes for Hicks because of all the club’s outfield depth in the upper-minors.

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Non-Tender Candidates

Nathan Eovaldi (5.013) – $7.5 million

Dustin Ackley (5.087) – $3.2 million

Tommy Layne (2.142) – $1.2 million

Austin Romine (3.045) – $900,000

The most clear cut non-tender the Yankees have is Eovaldi, who is due for a hefty salary and will miss the entire 2017 season following Tommy John surgery and then become a free agent.

In his recent press conference, Cashman hinted that this move was inevitable, but said, “I’d rather not speak to any of it before the process plays out.” There is still an outside chance the team works out a multi-year extension to keep Evo in pinstripes, but that seems like a long shot.

Ackley missed the 2016 season following shoulder surgery and was already a possible non-tender because of his poor performance. Tyler Austin and Rob Refsnyder can provide the same production at a fraction of the price.

Layne was fine for the club down the stretch, pitching to a 3.38 ERA (but a 4.83 FIP) in 16 innings of work. He’s a fine LOOGY, but the team has a number of younger, cheaper, more promising relievers in the upper minors who will likely push him off the roster.

At 27, Austin Romine yet to have a year of even replacement level production in MLB, despite seeing big league action in five separate seasons. With Gary Sanchez, Brian McCann, and now Kyle Higashioka on the roster, it would completely baffle me if the team gave another 176 plate appearances to Romine.

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