Why didn’t the New York Yankees make a stronger push for Carlos Correa in free agency?
It’s a fair question to ask, especially with the Yankees entering the offseason in need of an upgrade at shortstop and Correa ultimately signing a contract with the Minnesota Twins that wouldn’t have blocked New York from eventually turning to one of its two highly touted shortstop prospects, Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza. Yet, the Bronx Bombers refrained from backing up the Brink’s truck for Correa, and their motivation might have been rooted in more than just dollars and cents.
Sources told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand the Yankees’ primary hesitation with regards to Correa involved the non-financial penalties associated with passing the $270 million luxury tax threshold.
Most notably, New York’s first-round pick in the 2023 Major League Baseball Draft would be pushed back 10 spots if the Yankees ended the 2022 season $40 million or more above the $230 million base threshold that was established under the new collective bargaining agreement.
“If it was just about money, they may have made a bigger play for Correa on a short-term deal,” a source told Feinsand. “But the draft thing made it a non-starter, especially after the (Josh) Donaldson deal.”
Feinsand pointed out Friday that the Yankees’ competitive balance tax payroll sits at approximately $251 million, per Spotrac, well above the $230 million mark. As such, they already face a 12% surcharge on the base tax rate. That surcharge would jump to 42.5% if the Yankees exceeded the mark by $40 million to $60 million.
So, yes, Correa definitely made sense for the Yankees from an on-field standpoint. And his three-year, $105.3 million contract with the Twins (which includes opt-outs after the first and second seasons) looks palatable for an organization in win-now mode with two top shortstop prospects nearing the majors.
But the Yankees absorbed the entirety of Josh Donaldson’s contract when they acquired him, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Ben Rortvedt from the Twins in exchange for Gary Sánchez and Gio Urshela, and it appears that simultaneously squashed the possibility of Correa donning pinstripes and opened the door for the former Houston Astros star to sign with Minnesota.