It's plainly evident that when it comes to spending, Major League Baseball is about to enter a nuclear winter.
With the coronavirus pandemic having reduced the 2020 season by almost two-thirds of its usual length, fans not allowed in ballparks and no guarantee that 2021 will, to start at least, be any different, the vast majority of teams are looking to cut costs.
Layoffs -- on both the baseball and business side -- have hit the industry. Already, 2021 contract options that would have been routinely exercised have instead been declined. And the crowded free-agent field, anticipating a stagnant economic market that makes the last two winters look positively robust, will, in the next month, perhaps nearly double with the influx of non-tendered players.
This equation -- less money to spend, many more players competing for contracts -- will serve to create some true bargains for the few teams willing to wade into the uncertain fiscal waters.
The Yankees, though they've preached a certain amount of restraint, stand to be one of those. They've already swallowed hard and said yes to reliever Zack Britton's $13 million option. The expectation is they'll also spend whatever's necessary to bring back free-agent infielder D.J. LeMaheiu.
Know which other big market team might be among the very few with the capability to take advantage of a depressed market?
It's not the Chicago Cubs, who are instructed to cut spending. Or the Los Angeles Dodgers, since they have few holes to plug to begin with and a development system capable of filling most (if not all) of them internally.
How about your Boston Red Sox?
One MLB source, noting the team's rumored merger with RedBall Acquisitions, said: "They're about to become part of a $8.3 billion company (the projected value of parent company Fenway Sports Group should the merger take place). You do the math.''