The owners and players made a smart play for baseball by agreeing to a new collective bargaining agreement Wednesday evening.
At the moment it appears the CBA could also be good for the Yankees in the not-so-distant future.
With just $57.26 million of payroll commitments currently for the 2019 season — and Manny Machado, Matt Harvey, Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper possibly free agents following the 2018 season — the Yankees could pounce on high-end talent to augment what they and other organizations believe is a stable of sensational young and inexpensive players, led by Gary Sanchez, and stay under the luxury-tax level.
Such a happening is predicated on prospects turning into contributing big league players, which isn’t always the case.
CC Sabathia ($25 million) and Alex Rodriguez ($21 million) will evaporate from the Yankees’ payroll after the 2017 season, providing financial relief. Masahiro Tanaka could opt out following the upcoming season, which would save the Yankees $45 million.
Of course, 2019 is a long way from this winter, when the Yankees are interested in spending significant dollars for a closer (Aroldis Chapman) and a DH (Edwin Encarnacion).
Yet, two factors in the new CBA help the Yankees regarding the luxury tax, which moves from $189 million to $195 million for the 2017 season. It will be $197 million in 2018, $206 million in 2019, $208 million in 2020 and $210 million in 2021, the final year of the deal.
First, the previous CBA had a multiplier system based on teams’ market size, payroll ranking and past history of revenue growth. The Yankees were ranked first in the multiplier system, which helped determine luxury tax, but that system has been eliminated in the new CBA.
econd, since the Yankees built and operate their own stadium, they get a tax shelter.
Those situations could result in the Yankees eventually dropping to third or fourth on the luxury-tax payout list.
The numbers for 2016 haven’t been released, but after the 2015 season, when the tax threshold was $189 million, the Dodgers shelled out an MLB-leading $43.6 million in taxes. The Yankees were second at $26.1 million.
The Yankees remain engaged with Chapman and Encarnacion, with the latter’s situation possibly determined next week in National Harbor, Md.
“It could get done during the winter meetings,’’ Paul Kinzer, Encarnacion’s agent, told The Post on Thursday. “It’s starting to heat up now.’’
Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday also are on the Yankees’ list of lineup additions.
The Yankees might not be ready to hand out a five-year deal for $100 million to Encarnacion, who will be 34 in January. But if the price drops, they might be interested in the slugging right-handed hitter, who crushed 42 homers and drove in 127 runs for the Blue Jays this past season. Encarnacion has averaged 39 homers, 110 RBIs and a .912 OPS across the past five years.