A lot of people, myself included, have accused the Yankees of caring more about profits than winning this offseason, but despite that they will set a record with their payroll at $230.4 million this offseason.
While that is technically true it is how they’ve spent their money, with relatively little money committed after this season limiting them to older players on one-year deals, and not how much money they’ve spent this season that bothers most fans.
For instance, don’t forget that the $230.4 million figure includes $8.5 million spent on A.J. Burnett and $11.5 million on the walking dead Vernon Wells. The Yankees are also spending $39.5 million on third base alone thanks to Alex Rodriguez‘s hip surgery that still could potentially keep him from playing ever again.
With the goal of getting the payroll beneath $189 million by next year and $83.3 million committed to just five players already (one of which, unfortunately, is Wells), the Yankees will be limited to filling the rest of the team on just roughly $93.7 million (remember, about $12 million goes toward player benefits).
That’s really not a lot considering Robinson Cano will cost at least $20 million and they don’t have a lot of cheap homegrown talent already in the major leagues. There are a few options close to the major league level, but all prospects are question marks and the Yankees rarely trust them anyway.
Their two highest paid players, A-Rod and Mark Teixeira, will not live up to their contracts either so they’re going to have to, somehow, find better bats than them at cheaper prices. CC Sabathia may also be joining them soon as players on huge deals that are in decline and not living up to expectations.
Needless to say it will be very hard for them to put together a team that is championship caliber next year. All of this, of course, is self imposed and at a time when the team is making record profits.
It’s one thing to cut payroll, and if they did it the right way I do feel that most fans would support them. But they are cutting payroll without a strong and consistent farm team churning out players while they are saddled with at least two, and maybe three, albatross contracts. It’s a perfect, and self imposed, storm that has already come at the cost of the quality on the field and it will only get worse.
So the Yankees have indeed set a spending record this year, but it is the way that the money has been spent and the arbitrary cutting of spending next year that is what’s bothering fans.
• Robinson Cano might have fired Scott Boras, but he just signed his deal with Boras on March 20th and players owes the agent fees for 12 months after signing a deal. So Boras may get a piece of Cano’s next deal anyway.
• This one was obviously, but Brian Cashman finally admitted that Derek Jeter won’t be ready by April 6. Jeter, coming off ankle surgery, suffered a setback and had to be shut down a couple of weeks ago. No word on when they realistically expect Jeter back. He’s not even doing anything except playing catch right now.