Yankees Cutting Payroll, Let's Take a Look

Buster Olney of ESPN broke the news yesterday (H/T MLB Trade Rumors) that the Yankees are expecting to cut payroll somewhere to the $190-$200 million range, but noted that “it is not a hard ceiling.”

So what does that mean exactly? How much do they have to spend? Well let’s take a look at where they are at, what they have left to spend, and what they’re going to need to be ready for the 2010 season.

How much they’ve already spent:

Pitchers ($67.6 million):

CC Sabathia – $23 million
AJ Burnett – $16.5 million
Mariano Rivera – $15 million
Damaso Marte – $4 million
Joba Chamberlaiin – $3 million (estimated)
Phil Hughes – $3 million (estimated)
David Robertson – $900,000 (estimated)
Alfredo Aceves – $900,000 (estimated)
Phil Coke – $900,000 (estimated)
Mark Melancon $400,000 (estimated)

Catchers ($13.75):

Jorge Posada – $13.1 million
Francisco Cervelli – $650,000 (estimated)

Infielders ($82 million):

Alex Rodriguez – $32 million
Mark Teixeira – $20 million
Derek Jeter – $21 million
Robinson Cano – $9 million

Outfielders ($10.65 million):

Nick Swisher – $6.75 million
Melky Cabrera – $3 million (estimated)
Brett Gardner – $900,000 (estimated)

If my estimates are right, and I’m sure they’re not, but they’re probably close, then that puts the Yankees at $174 million for 19 players. Add another $10 million for Andy Pettitte and that brings you to $184 million. That leaves them with $6-$16 million left to spend without going over budget.

So what else do they have to spend that $6-16 million on? Well, if they decided to go with Joba and Hughes in the rotation then they should be set, but we all know the Yankees are going to want insurance for the top three starters who all had to pitch an extra month with Sabathia often going on short rest. So let’s say the Yankees need one starting pitcher.

If they go with the bullpen I have above, Rivera, one of either Hughes or Joba, Marte, Robertson, Aceves, Coke, and Melancon, then they really don’t have to sign any more relievers. They could if someone they liked dropped into their hands, but between the guys they have and others in the minors they’re ok here. The Yankees need no relief pitchers.

Their infield is set, they’ll need backup players, but could add a utility infielder, Ramiro Pena or Kevin Russo, at minimal cost. They’re set at catcher, they’ll add some journyman veteran to Scranton’s roster just in case.

The outfield is where they need to fill holes. They can stay with Swisher and use a combination of Melky, Gardner, and Austin Jackson in center, but they’re going to need a left fielder and DH. They’ll probably need one more veteran outfielder or bat off the bench a la Eric Hinske, but that shouldn’t cost more than $3 million.

So in total they have $6-$16 million to spend on a starting pitcher, a left fielder, a DH, and maybe a veteran bat off the bench.

Of course there now, according to Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, they’re supposedly going to be bidding on Roy Halladay this offseason. He’ll make $15.75 million in 2010 so this might all go out the window. I guess that’s what they mean when they say no hard ceiling.

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