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Saturday, December 8, 2012

THE YANKEES & THE PAYROLL CRUNCH


For years, the Yankees have had no problem opening up the checkbook and adding the necessary amount of zeroes to get the player they wanted in pinstripes; we have been spoiled. Now the Yankees are quickly changing the way they do business. It’s not easy to watch other teams outbid us for players; we have never had that problem. A lot of players have said they dream about playing for us…..but so far Brian Cashman hasn’t been able to sign them. What’s going on?

The new Collective Bargaining Agreement has really changed the philosophy for the Yankees. The terms give tax incentives if a team stays within payroll constraints, and in this case it is $189 million for the Yankees in 2014. If the Yankees go over this number, they are taxed a hefty 50% on the excess amount, read the rest HERE. There is a benefit to it, but this is a daunting task for a team that has had a payroll in excess of $200 million in five of the last seven seasons.

So what does this have to do with what the Yankees are facing now? Well….a lot. The Yankees have to be careful with how they spend their money this year. Multi-year deals are not favorable for them at this point. Looking ahead to 2014, the Yankees already have $70 million committed to big names like Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and CC Sabathia to name a few…and they will have $119 million for about 20 other players. That’s really going to require a lot of strategy, especially if they want to resign Robinson Cano.

I know it is frustrating to watch the free agents that the Yankees pursue sign with other teams. A lot of people are protesting to just ditch the payroll strategy all together because it just isn’t how the Yankees operate. Derek Jeter weighed in on the idea saying "I don't know what to make of it, it's the Yankees," he said. "I'll believe it when we get to spring training. Just when you expect us not to do something, something happens. That's pretty much been the norm the 17 years that I've been here,” you can read the rest HERE. Just like Jeter, I’m not sure what to make of it either. This is a business and I get that. The idea is to make the most money regardless of the point that this is the Yankees and they make plenty of it. On the other hand, I can also see this from both a player and a fans point of view….let me explain.
Let’s look at the Winter Meetings. One example sticks out to me, Jeff Keppinger. The Yankees really wanted him, but the White Sox offered him a three year deal worth $12 million. Sure, that breaks down to $4 million a season, and that isn’t expensive but the Yankees are trying to avoid longer term deals. I can’t blame Keppinger for taking the offer; he’s got a place to lay roots down for a while. Who wouldn’t want that? A fan is going to have a hard time believing that the Yankees can’t match that offer to put the best product available on the field to help win.

Also, what does a one year deal say to a player? Sure, some may not be opposed to the idea like Kevin Youkilis but that doesn’t work for everyone. Think about it….right now any third baseman interested in coming to the Yankees is wondering what happens to when ARod returns. These guys want their at bats, and they want their playing time on the field, not everyone likes to DH. This is unfamiliar territory for the Yankees and we will have to see how Cashman works his way around it. I’m sure he is feeling frustrated, too.

Times have changed. Who would’ve guessed that previous shopping sprees in the Free Agent market would put the Yankees in this position under new guidelines? It’s just more proof that anything is possible when it comes to baseball. This hasn’t been an easy process by any means, but at the end of the day, we have to believe that once Opening Day gets here we will have a winning team on the field with or without the bigger budget. GO YANKEES!!




--Jeana Bellezza, BYB Writer and Editor
Twitter: @NyPrincessJ


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