Hal Steinbrenner: $189 million budget for 2014 and beyond


The Owners Meetings are going on this week which gave Ken Davidoff of the NY Post a chance to catch up with Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner to ask him some question about the team and The Budget Boss stirred up some controversy.

The biggest bombshell that he dropped was the news that the Yankees goal of a $189 million payroll isn’t just for 2014, but that he would like to see the budget in that range from then on.

“I believe that you don’t have to have a $220-million payroll to win a championship,” Steinbrenner told Davidoff.

Initially it was thought that the Yankees were simply going to dip below the $189 million luxury tax threshold in order to reset their penalty. Right now they would pay 50 percent on everything over that amount starting in 2014, but if they get under the tax threshold that penalty will be reset to 17.5 percent. The Yankees were never really clear as to whether that was a one year plan or a long term plan, but it certainly sounds like we should expect a budget of over $21 million less than his father set about 10 years ago.

Hal did leave himself some wiggle room to potentially go above the $189 million plan, but he was vague when discussing it.

“All I can continue to tell everyone is our commitment to the fans is never going to change,” Steinbrenner said. “We will always field a championship-caliber team. Is our goal 189 next year? Yes. But only if I’m convinced if the team I see, that we’ve put together, is a championship-caliber team.”

What is a championship caliber team? This team could arguably be championship caliber, but they are right on the cusp of missing the playoffs too. Passing up Josh Hamilton types can be justified, but not being able to offer Eric Chavez $3 million seems like penny pinching more than a team that is satisfied that they are championship caliber.

This is when The Budget Boss starts sounding delusional.

“I’ve been resolute that that is our goal, and that is our goal. But I’ve also said, including spring training a year ago, that to achieve that goal, these young players have to step up and get the job done.”

That’s when Steinbrenner mentioned Manny Banuelos and Michael Pineda, two players coming off major surgery who won’t contribute in 2013. He’s seriously banking on players who won’t even contribute at all next year.

“I’m surprised to hear that there’s anger, if you see what we’ve done this offseason. …We’ve signed three or four of the top free agents that were on the market, because we’re going to continue to field a championship caliber team.”

Correction. What they’ve done this offseason is maintain the status quo in the pitching staff while downgrading the offense. Re-signing Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera and picking up an aging Kevin Youkilis while losing Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, and Rafael Soriano is not something to exactly be proud of.

And as for the anger, it seems hard to justify an offseason where they have not been able to offer anybody besides Ichiro Suzuki a multi-year deal and have missed out on multiple potential fits because of it. They also missed out on Martin and Eric Chavez without even making offers to either players and they’re planning on starting the season with a catching tandem of Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli.

This while the Yankees are making record profits. The new stadium, although attendance went down last year (and will no doubt go down again this year), is still a cash cow for them. They get huge revenues from the YES Network and netted themselves a huge amount of cash while selling off part of their share in it. And they’re cutting payroll to levels lower than any since 2004 while missing out on key pieces that they could use.

Davidoff also asked about extensions to manager Joe Girardi and Robinson Cano and, well, you know the company line.

“I’m not a big believer in extensions (before the contracts finish), but there are exceptions to every rule.”

One thing Hal “The Budget Boss” Steinbrenner is a big believer in — profits.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.

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7 Responses to Hal Steinbrenner: $189 million budget for 2014 and beyond

  1. Fred says:

    I'm done, sell the team.

    Hal lives in a fantasy world. To compete, you have to be able to sign players. And with the contracts the Yankees have on the books, its almost impossible to improve the team while cutting costs.

  2. klaus says:

    You can't blame Hal for being focused on the bottom line, but the costly, emotional blunders this management team has made in the past don't allow for much confidence at this point.

  3. Matt_DC says:

    I am all for staying away from crazy contracts and developing the minor league system. However, Hal is acting more like John Henry in that it is more about turning the ballpark and organization into a profit machine rather than a sustainable ballclub. Granted, I am glad the Yankees have not done stupid deals like the BoSox signing Victorino for three pricey years (and if they ever get the Napoli deal finalized), but not being able to sign Russell Martin because they were too busy negotiating with guys who were coming back regardless still boggles my mind.

    In that article Hal also blames stubhub for playoff attendance. Good grief.

  4. Jim A. says:

    I understand the need to try to be responsible with money, but Hal cannot expect the Yankees fans to just continue paying the ridiculous prices we pay for tickets, parking etc. AND then he spends like the Pirates. I do not think he should have it both ways- if there is a free agent out there, the Yankees should be a player and money should never be a factor. They need to make better baseball decisions is what they should be worried about.
    As a fan, I refuse to pay $$$$ for tickets to watch a mediocre team. I'll always, always be a Yankees fan, it's in my blood, but I'll just watch them from home.

  5. Steve says:

    This is the New York Yankees we are talking about? Really? We can't afford it? Really? F U Hal

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