There has been another report that the Yankees will eventually drop their goals of lowering their budget to below $189 million this offseason. The report seems like mostly speculation and I have not totally bought into the idea that Hal Steinbrenner has abandoned it after working towards it for the past two offseasons.
The idea behind abandoning it does make sense — the Yankees are potentially a $3 billion organization. Getting under the $189 million luxury tax threshold would be the difference of $30-$60 million depending on how you look at it. The effects of the budget have already been negative as attendance continues to drop. So why would the Yankees risk continuing to negatively impact a $3 billion organization over as much as $60 million?
Like I said though, the reports, the recent Jeff Passan article and previously the Wallace Matthews piece, have been based on speculation and have used anonymous sources outside of the organization. If the Yankees were serious about dropping the budget nobody from the organization has said anything about it.
They haven’t shown it either and the best way they could show it would be to sign a contract extension with Robinson Cano.
Right now the most recent news on that front is that there is no recent news. The Yankees made what they called a “significant offer” to Cano during the offseason, but since Cano has fired Scott Boras and signed with Jay-Z’s agency the two sides have not restarted contract talks.
This is despite a Jon Heyman report that said that Cano, “would appear to very badly want to reach a deal” to stay with the Yankees. Heck, his leaving Boras and signing with Jay-Z seemed to signal that pretty loudly. So the fact that contract talks have not restarted could be a big sign that the budget is still alive and well.
That doesn’t mean that, even if plans haven’t changed yet, that they can’t eventually change in the future. In past interviews, Steinbrenner, while insisting that he doesn’t need to spend more than $189 million to win, has also left himself wiggle room to ignore the budget. Usually he says something like, ‘We won’t let this stand in the way of building a championship caliber team.’
So we’ll have to see what happens. As it is right now, the team is doing well. After a 1-4 start it has been once of the best teams in the game exceeding most expectations. And this is before Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, and others come off the DL. So perhaps they will eventually abandon the budget, but maybe they won’t have to. Certainly they are not in a rush to otherwise Cano’s future would be more obvious.
• Some attendance figures: The average attendance in 2010 (the high watermark for the new stadium) was 46,491 per game. That dropped to 45,107 in 2011 (the year before the budget started to be imposed). They averaged 43,733 per game in 2012 (the first year we started seeing the budget), and it is way down to 37,739 per game so far this year.
It is early in the year, but the attendance last night, against a big division rival on a Sunday afternoon against the reigning Cy Young winner, was actually below average so far this year. And drop of 6,000 people per game is huge. That’s almost half a million over a full season.
• Attention Brian Cashman: Go sign Casper Wells! We all know that Ben Francisco sucks. He’s a left handed hitting specialist who has hit just .233/.305/.381 against lefties since 2010. Meanwhile, the A’s just DFA’d Wells who has hit .261/.345/.482 against southpaws over the same span. Get it done Cash.
• If you missed it in last night’s game summary — Kevin Youkilis is going to have a MRI done on his back today. He’s missed seven of the last eight games with stiffness in his back.
• The Yankees are expected to re-sign Hideki Matsui. Yes, you read that right. However, it will be just for one day as he will ceremoniously retire as a Yankee. That’ll be a cool day. No word on when exactly it will be.
• Buy Yankees tickets to see them beat up on the Houston Astros in a non-interleague play game.
(Photo by Flickr user Keith Allison).