The Yankees were one of only two teams that had to pay a luxury tax in 2010 and were hit with an $18 million bill, according to the Associated Press. They have now paid $192.2 million since MLB began the luxury tax in 2003.
Teams have to pay 40 percent on each dollar over $170 million and for luxury tax purposes the Yankees payroll was at $215.1 million. That was actually down from a payroll of $226.2 million in 2009 for which they had to pay a tax of $25.7 million. So in total they paid a total of $18.8 million less in payroll and taxes in 2010 than they did in 2009.
The Yankees were prepared to give Cliff Lee a seven-year deal worth roughly $150 million this offseason, but since missing out on him they don’t appear to be ready to spend that allotted money on payroll like many fans have hoped. So their payroll, currently at about $176.25 million before raises for players with less than six years of service time, should be cut back once again in 2011.
The biggest thing they could have left to spend on this winter is free agent pitcher Andy Pettitte who is still deciding whether he wants to retire or play one more season. He made $11.75 million in 2010 and will probably make about the same if he comes back in 2011.
Otherwise the Yankees probably don’t have any big dollar items left to add to the team. They’ll probably add one or two more relievers, one or two more bench players, and possibly even another starting pitcher, but none of those pieces are expected to come with big price tags.
Either way, with Pettitte or without, it appears that they’ll be spending less in 2011 than they’ve spent in 2010.
So what do you think? Are the Yankees just being smarter with their spending these days? Or are they being greedy and cutting payroll while they continue to charge more for tickets?