NEW YORK -- As the Yankees continue to speak about the importance of keeping payroll beneath the $197 million threshold this coming season, they have reached agreements to avoid arbitration with all of their eight eligible players.Right-hander Dellin Betances ($5.1 million), right-hander Sonny Gray ($6.5 million), shortstop Didi Gregorius ($8.25
NEW YORK -- As the Yankees continue to speak about the importance of keeping payroll beneath the $197 million threshold this coming season, they have reached agreements to avoid arbitration with all of their eight eligible players.
Right-hander Dellin Betances ($5.1 million), right-hander Sonny Gray ($6.5 million), shortstop Didi Gregorius ($8.25 million), outfielder Aaron Hicks ($2.825 million), right-hander Tommy Kahnle ($1.3125 million), catcher Austin Romine ($1.1 million), left-hander Chasen Shreve ($825,000) and right-hander Adam Warren ($3.325 million) have come to terms on their 2018 salaries.
Hicks and Kahnle approved their pacts with the team Thursday, while the other six players agreed on Friday.
General manager Brian Cashman has said that the team remains on track to field a payroll under $197 million in 2018, thus resetting their luxury-tax penalty rate from 50 percent for what is expected to be a monster offseason of 2018-19.
Though Cashman declined to provide exact figures, the Associated Press reported that the Yankees' payroll is currently projected to be about $177 million, a figure that permits room for more additions this offseason.
Most notably, the Yankees have been in contact with the Pirates about a trade for right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole and with the representative for free-agent right-hander Yu Darvish, who has drawn interest from no fewer than six teams and tweeted late on Friday that the Yankees have made him an offer.
Betances and the club were able to find common ground one year after they clashed in a contentious arbitration hearing. Following the Yankees' victory, team president Randy Levine remarked, "I'm not an astronaut and Dellin Betances is not a closer, based on statistics."
The hard-throwing reliever, who turns 30 in March, went 3-6 with 10 saves, a 2.87 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 66 appearances. An All-Star in 2017, Betances struggled with his fastball command in the second half and was frequently bypassed during the team's postseason run.
Gray, 28, split the 2017 season between the Athletics and the Yankees, going 10-12 with a 3.55 ERA that ranked 10th in the American League. He was 4-7 with a 3.72 ERA in 11 regular-season starts for New York and made a pair of starts during the playoffs.
Gregorius will turn 28 in February and is coming off a season in which he set a franchise record for shortstops with 25 homers, surpassing Derek Jeter's 1999 mark of 24. Gregorius hit .287 with 87 RBIs in 136 games, establishing career highs in runs (73), homers and RBIs.
Hicks, 28, has played two seasons with the Yankees after being acquired from the Twins prior to the 2016 campaign. A first-round Draft pick in '08, Hicks is entering his sixth year in the big leagues and has hit .240/.326/.403 with 23 homers and 83 RBIs through 211 games in New York.
Kahnle, 28, joined the Yankees in a July trade with the White Sox, and he made 32 relief appearances with the Yankees in 2017, posting a 2.70 ERA through 26 2/3 innings. He was originally selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2010 MLB Draft.
The 29-year-old Romine hit .218 with two homers and 21 RBIs in 80 games as the Yankees' backup catcher in 2017, with the team going 33-25 in his starts behind the plate.
Shreve, 27, was 4-1 with a 3.77 ERA in 44 appearances for New York last season. He was arbitration-eligible for the first time as a Super Two player.
Warren, 30, returned to the Yankees in a July 2016 trade with the Cubs and was 3-2 with one save and a 2.35 ERA with 54 strikeouts in 46 relief appearances last season.