The New York Yankees are trending upward.
After a terrible first half of the 2021 season, the organization added some assets at the trade deadline, and things have started to turn around since then.
New York has won 12 of its last 16 games, and the team has made up some serious ground in the playoff race throughout that span.
But with all of those great things said, it’s surprising that the Yankees are even in a position where they have to battle for a playoff bid.
On paper, New York has an extremely talented roster, which makes sense considering the organization’s massive payroll.
The Yankees’ payroll of about $204 million is the second-highest in baseball behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.
You’d expect an organization with a payroll that big to be one of the best teams in the league, right?
So why is that not the case?
A Good Chunk Of The Team’s Payroll Is Allocated Poorly
New York’s three biggest contracts belong to players who are undeniably overpaid.
Giancarlo Stanton is making $29 million this year.
That’s the biggest figure out of anyone on the roster, and he hasn’t produced at a level that suggests that he’s worth the money.
The 31-year-old is batting .260 this season with an OPS of .808.
Over 93 games, he has homered 17 times and struck out 109 times.
He has a mere 1.6 WAR.
The next-biggest salary belongs to DJ LeMahieu, who is making $15 million in 2021.
He currently has a very underwhelming slash line of .267/.344/.365.
He also has a below average OPS+ of 97 and a WAR of just 1.4.
Not a whole lot to write home about for the 33-year-old.
And to wrap this up, the third-biggest salary belongs to Zack Britton.
He is owed $13 million this season.
Britton’s performance this year has been the worst out of all the players we’ve talked about.
Zach Britton is having a terrible season.
Just inexcusable to issue the 4-pitch walk there and basically not compete against Whitfield.
— Matt Ehalt (@MattEhalt) August 10, 2021
Over 16 relief appearances, he has a 5.65 ERA, 4.91 FIP, 1.67 WHIP, and -0.2 WAR.
It has been a brutal campaign for the lefty.
So, in summary, the Yankees are paying Stanton, LeMahieu, and Britton a combined $57 million in 2021, and so far, those three players have accumulated a WAR of 2.9.
The Yankees Are Paying $104 Million This Season To Players Who Are Currently On The Injured List
The Yankees currently have 20 players on the injured list (some notable and some not), and the salaries of those players total to $104 million, according to Spotrac.
For reference, that figure alone is bigger than the payroll of 12 MLB teams.
It’s not a great situation however you spin it.
Regardless of the nature of the injuries, New York can’t be thrilled with the amount of money it’s spending on players who are currently on the shelf.
28 different players have spent time on the IL this season for the Yanks.
That list includes:
Gerrit Cole, Aaron Judge, Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Aaron Hicks, Jordan Montgomery, Corey Kluber, Luke Voit, Giancarlo Stanton … and I'm out of space. https://t.co/Bxm6RoXVg5
— Seth Rothman (@SethDRothman) August 7, 2021
New York Still Owes A Lot Of Dead Money
Although no longer on the roster, a good number of players are still owed money by the Yankees.
Some of the most notable players include Jacoby Ellsbury (who is owed $5 million this year), Justin Wilson (who is owed $1.8 million this year), Adam Ottavino (who is owed $1.75 million this year), and Luis Cessa (who is owed $672,000 this year).
In total, 10 former Yankee players are still owed money by the team
The combined salaries for those players is about $9 million.