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Blog Entry

Yankees aim to get payroll under $189M by '14

Posted on: March 1, 2012 5:13 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 5:40 pm
 


By Matt Snyder


The New York Yankees are going to be doing a little tightening of the belt. Thursday, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner told reporters that the "goal" is to have the payroll below $189 million before the 2014 season. That's not an arbitrary placement or year and monetary figure, either, as baseball's new collective bargaining agreement has set the luxury tax threshold at $189 million and it goes into effect starting in 2014. Also, goal may not be the correct word here.

"I'm looking at it as a goal, but my goals are normally considered requirements," Steinbrenner said (Associated Press). "Is it a requirement with baseball that we be at 189? No, it's not a requirement. But that is going to be the luxury-tax threshold, and that's where I want to be."

The Yankees were hit with a $13.9 million luxury tax last season.

The Yankees are heading for opening day with a payroll of around $210 million this season, according to Steinbrenner. Here's what the opening day payrolls have looked like since 2004, the last time the Yankees weren't over $189 million, via Baseball Prospectus' Cot's Contracts:

2004: $184,193,950
2005: $208,306,817
2006: $194,663,079
2007: $189,639,045
2008: $209,081,577
2009: $201,449,189
2010: $213,359,389
2011: $207,047,964

Steinbrenner sounds like he wants to -- at least mildly -- shift focus, too.

"I'm a finance geek. I guess I always have been. That's my background," he said (MLB.com). "Budgets matter, and balance sheets matter. I just feel that if you do well on the player development side and you have a good farm system, you don't need a $220 million payroll. You don't. You can field every bit as good a team with young talent."

It's going to be interesting to see how they squeeze down under the threshold, because Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez are due to make over $70 million combined in 2014. Derek Jeter has an $8 million player option, too. You also have to assume Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson are going to command huge paydays (both have club options in 2013 but are free agents after that). Brett Gardner and David Robertson will be in their final year of arbitration while Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda are also still under club control. Otherwise, the roster will have to be filled out from the farm system, trades or free agency.

The Yankees do have some promising young prospects like pitchers Dellin Betances and Manuel Banuelos.

"We'll see how these young kids perform towards the end of this year and into next year," Steinbrenner said (AP). "The young kids are going to play a big part of being able to lower this payroll. I am going to need some of these young pitchers to step up."

Still, the bottom line is we might be seeing a lot more offseasons like this one -- where the Yankees take a backseat on the huge free agent signings.

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