More on the Yanks and the economy


Picking up where I left off this morning is Ken Rosenthal. While I think the MLB-wide arbitration decisions portend tighter economic times throughout the sport, Rosenthal feels that, contrary to what many of us assumed, even the Yankees will suffer. Outside of a soft market for outfielders, Rosenthal expects the Yanks’ 2009 payroll to be significantly lower than their 2008 total and doesn’t believe the new stadium will be as lucrative in its first year as it would be had the economy been stronger. Of course, we’ve heard the payroll line before, and the Yanks still have a $140 million offer outstanding to CC Sabathia. The Yanks’ spending, though, may not be as all-encompassing as we once thought it would be.

Categories : Asides


  1. stuart says:

    when the economy is this bad it affects everyone.

    this is not a 6 month slight downturn..

    this is years of contraction in the economy or very very slow growth(best case scenario).

    The mortgage mess is far from resolved and manufacturing is at a 26 yr low, ask Rome how making nothing worked out!!!!!!!!!!!

    GM and Ford go bye bye ad revenue will hit the toilet..

    You think Lehman, Morgan Stanley, and others will be keeping there suites????

  2. radnom says:

    I don’t think it is as much about the Yankee’s spending as it is spending around the league and our own roster flexibility.
    We don’t want/need Abreu or Pudge for double digit millions. People on this site (myself included) tend to get excited over draft picks and overvalue them, but honestly the fact that the market in general can’t support Arbeu for more than he would get in arb. from us is more telling about the other teams than the Yankees.
    This isn’t the Diamondbacks not offering arbitration to Dunn because they are dangerously close to being overbudget..We could afford Abreu, we just don’t want him…and the possible draft picks are not valuable to warrent the risk.

  3. Alex K. says:

    “… and doesn’t believe the new stadium will be as lucrative in its first year as it would be had the economy been stronger.”

    That’s why he gets paid the big money.. No s**t!

    I think everyone is just worrying too much because everyone is waiting for CC to set the market. The big players will get their money but I’m betting you see mid-level contracts for aging veterans (e.g. Abreu, Pettitte, etc.) and certain positions (middle reliever) to drop significantly.

  4. pat says:

    This is like the tjmaxx offseason… same brand names at low low prices. If this means we can swoop in and lowball a few of the 2nd tier free agents like sheets 3/30 or dunn 3/45 then more power to us. Even if leaguewide spending goes down we still have our relative financial advantage.

  5. Bill says:

    I predict the payroll will be about 160 Million and in the next year or two with Hal and Hank in charge the Mets, Angeles & Redsox will have a higher payroll.

    It would not be so bad if the cut payroll but they are also cutting cost in the draft and the international market.

    I feel that is why they did not offer arbitration to anybody because they will have to spend more money in the draft.

    I dont get the feeling that Hank and Hal are in to win they want to cut cost because when George dies they are going to sell the team.

    That is just my thoughts in regarding this matter because they are not cutting ticket prices.

    • Your thoughts are pure speculation and not rooted in much of anything, except a predetermined agenda against Hal and Hank.

      If they were truly interested in slashing costs, they wouldn’t have backed up the truck for ARod, Posada, Mo, and Cano last year.

      And, if they’re interested in selling the Yankees, they’d be adding more superstar players to build the brand and drive the price up further, not jettisoning superstars and turning the Yankees into a second-tier club.

    • steve (different one) says:

      I predict the payroll will be about 160 Million and in the next year or two with Hal and Hank in charge the Mets, Angeles & Redsox will have a higher payroll.


      It would not be so bad if the cut payroll but they are also cutting cost in the draft and the international market.

      more bullshit.

      I feel that is why they did not offer arbitration to anybody because they will have to spend more money in the draft.

      utter bullshit.

      how many times can you make the same exact post without providing a shred of evidence??

      • Yank Crank 20 says:

        i’m sensing that you’re not a big fan of Bill’s speculation right now…

      • pat says:

        Not to mention the last two things you bolded are completely contradictory.

        They didnt offer arbitration because they will spend more money on the draft. They are also cutting payroll and spending less in the draft and international market.

        Mindblowing stuff here.

    • steve (different one) says:

      I feel that is why they did not offer arbitration to anybody because they will have to spend more money in the draft.

      this has to be one of the stupidest sentences in the history of this site.

      what a load of crap.

      they f*cked up on Cole. we get it.

      somehow this translates to you that the Yankees will stop spending on the draft.

      just utter, baseless nonsense.

  6. Again, Rosenthal’s premise is that we didn’t offer arb to these guys because we couldn’t afford them, and that premise isn’t necessarily true.

    We never had any intention of bringing Bobby and Pudge back, we would have only offered arb if we were sure they would decline. When it became a non-certainty, we didn’t offer arb, because having them possibly come back to us on one-year deals hurts us, not financially, but in terms of roster flexibility… we were planning on giving their spots on the 25 and 40 man rosters to other players all along, and Bobby at 18M or Pudge at 13M blocks our ability to sign another free agent or promote another youngster.

    And, as their salaries would be all but unmovable, if we offered them arb and they accepted, when we sign CC, Tex, Manny, Dunn, or whomever, we’d have to cut some other player we do like and need, like a Chris Garcia or a Frankie Cervelli.

    It’s not a money issue of not being able to afford these guys, it’s a roster number issue of not wanting to be possibly obligated to keep a player we’re planning on jettisoning and replacing.

    • JT says:

      I always thought there was interest in bringing back Abreu for another year, just not at the price tag he would of gotten through arbitration.

      I might be mistaken but I thought a team had the right to cut a arbitrated player in the first X days of spring training and only pay them a pro-rated salary.

  7. jobatheheat says:

    even though Cashman said it is still “early in the process,” the Yankees are hoping that flexing their financial muscle will help to smooth over some of the holes they need to fill.
    I feel the economy will end up helping the Yankees in the FA market.

  8. From Rosenthal:

    “The Yankees and Mets are opening new parks this season. The NFL Jets and Giants are opening a new football stadium at the Meadowlands in 2010. Think about it — four New York teams battling for corporate dollars at precisely the wrong time.”

    Precisely the reason we should be investing dollars into our product right now, to ensure that it remains the class of the market. If the corporate suite market is contracting, what we want is for the individuals left with money to spend to spend that money on Yankee suites, as they represent a clearly better investment than Mets suites, Jets suites, or Giants suites. We need to ensure that the suite buyers see Yankees suites as a better potential return on investment as the suite most conducive to impressing clients and conducting business.

    If it’s a perk, it should be a perk so great that it’s easy to justify keeping on a company’s bottom line as a useful revenue stream.

    How’s that old adage go? “You should buy when everyone’s selling and sell when everyone’s buying”?

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

      “How’s that old adage go? “You should buy when everyone’s selling and sell when everyone’s buying”?”

      Warren Buffett. He’s the man. Worth billions and he says he’s leaving his kids $5 million each. He says that if they can’t make it on that, then they have real problems.

      • pat says:

        Buffets mantra is be greedy when everybody else is cautious and be cautious when everybody else is being greedy.

      • Mike A. says:

        Warren Buffett. He’s the man. Worth billions and he says he’s leaving his kids $5 million each. He says that if they can’t make it on that, then they have real problems.

        Did he really say that? If so, he’s my hero.

        • Chris says:

          I don’t remember the exact amount, but he did leave almost all of his money to the Gates foundation, with only a (relatively) small amount to each kid. Certainly enough to be set for life, but not a large percentage of his total wealth.

        • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

          I may be paraphrasing what he actually said, but I’m pretty sure the figure was $5 million each.


            “Buffett, 75, the CEO of the Omaha, Neb.-based company Berkshire Hathaway, is worth $44 billion, according to Fortune magazine.

            Fortune reports that Buffett will donate 85 percent of his fortune amassed from stock in the Berkshire Hathaway company to five foundations.

            The donations, which will come from Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway shares, would amount to about $37 billion, based on current values…

            Seven years ago, Buffett told ABC News’ “Nightline” that being born into wealth did not entitle his children to fortune.

            “Buffett once told Fortune magazine: ‘A very rich person would leave his kids enough to do anything, but not enough to do nothing,’” Hobson said.

            “He says he and his wife talked about it and decided they shouldn’t pass huge amounts of money along to their children. They believe their kids were born with the advantages of wealth, and grew up with great opportunities because of that. He says they had a gigantic head start, and that dynastic megawealth would further tilt the playing field in America, when we should be trying to make it more level.”

  9. ko says:

    I have the same feeling about things that Bill does. You can’t substantiate it right now, but to call it bullshit is, well, bullshit. Its very reasonable, by the way Yankee management has behaved the last few years, to believe that Hal and Hank would like to cash out but only after their father is gone. With the Yankee franchise, if you’re into it, you will go all out to get top players this winter because you know that by winning you can keep the high revenues coming in. The Yankees made the 140 million offer to Sabathia with the same attitude that you give your ex wife an alimony check. They threw it on the table, threatened to withdraw it and show no enthusiasm at all about it. And why aren’t they going whole hog after Teixeira? All you hear about is excuses about lengths of contracts, etc. You hear nothing like this is a guy who could really help us win. Like I said, there’s no proof of any of this, but to reject it out of hand – is bullshit.

    • steve (different one) says:

      ahh, so they made the biggest offer in history to a pitcher, but they weren’t ENTHUSIATIC about it.


      no, you’re right, that makes total sense.

    • Steve S says:

      I wont use the same language but thats a ridiculous comment. First half of it is untrue and the other half is pure speculation.

      The last few year, so last year which was Hal and Hank’s inaugural offseason, they demonstrated that they will cash out by handing out the largest baseball contract ever to a player? Or perhaps it was the close to $100M they gave to Posada and Rivera? Maybe it was demonstrated by Hank clawing at getting Santana and giving him $20M per year for six years?

      As for the Sabathia offer, what kind of enthusiasm would you have liked? Perhaps the captain of the team calling him? Were you on the phone when the offer was made? Or were you in the vicinity when the term sheet was faxed excitedly through the machine. I heard Brian Cashman told his agent they “like him like him” and not “just like him”. Often when you make the biggest offer ever, on the first day you can make an offer without even waiting for someone to set the market, that demonstrates enthusiasm.

      And when comments like this are made, then no it isnt bullshit. You can have subjective beliefs but to state them as fact AND not support them as fact is bullshit. Additionally, to defend something and qualify it as not supported by fact or “proof” is even more bullshit.

    • Again, ko, what I’m waiting on if for either you or Bill to say how penny-pinching and slashing payroll is something that the Steins would be doing in order to sell the team. They’d be reducing the team’s value in order to sell it, but that’s the exact opposite of what most sane businesspeople would do.

      You don’t buy property, gut it, and then resell it at a loss. You buy property, improve it, and then resell it at a profit.

  10. planet says:

    No matter what their actual method is, the Yankees actions help to soften the stance that you can always milk the yankees for the biggest contracts. Whether they can or cannot afford to be offering Pettitte/Abreu arbitration, by showing signs of vulnerability this will help them when negotiating with free agents. If the impression is that the Yankees are no longer printing money, players that were already interesting in signing with the Yanks won’t be as forceful in demanding over market contracts.

    Summary: If a player wants to sign with the yankees, maybe they will actually sign at their market value instead of forcing the Yanks into a bidding war, they will simply force them to own up to the market and nothing more.

  11. Conan the Barack O'Brian says:

    Don’t know if I’d say the Yanks will be “house poor,” but I think a heavy emphasis next year, despite the initial look of staggering offers to CC and rumored offers to others, will continue to be on the cost-effective young pitchers. It’s a plenty sound backup plan to have Hughes, Aceves, Kennedy, and others waiting in the wings behind three main starters, if we only pick up one free agent.

    Dare I say 2009 could be what we hoped 2008 would be?

    Admittedly, yesterday’s events and the state of economy make me dream of more whimsical, optimistic times: the Big Three events preceding the 2008 season.

  12. Bill says:

    Right now the payroll is about 140 million, including Nady’s and Bruney’s Arb. increases. If they keep the lineup as it is (which they should do), they’ll spend between 30-40 million on starting pitchng for next season(2 of C.C., Pettite, Burnett, Sheets, Lowe), which will bring the payroll to 170- 180 million.

    For 2010, Jackson should replace Gardner in CF. Miranda should replace Matsui at DH. Then they’ll move Jeter to RF to replace Nady. And replace Jeter w/ a young SS, that they’ll aquire via a trade (Maybe for Gardner and a SP prospect). They’ll replace Damon by signing a FA OF (Holliday, Bay, or Ankiel). Or they’ll move swisher to LF and sign Adam LaRoche to play 1B. Cervilla wil replace molina on the roster, and split time at C w/ Posada, wo will split time with Miranda at DH.

    The pitching will be the same from 09, with the exception of Pettite beign replaced by a young gun.

    • Joltin' Joe says:

      Leaving the lineup as is equals average offense, and our pitching is hardly great right now. We need more OBP!!!!!!!!

      • Joseph P. says:

        I don’t know if the !!!!! means sarcasm or not, but if you read through the previous thread you’ll see that the Yanks are fine with OBP.

        • Joltin' Joe says:

          Haha, !!!!!1!1!111oneononeone for emphasis. But really, losing Giambi and Abreu and not bringing in replacements just spells trouble. Nady doesn’t take walks, Posada and Matsui are not exactly guarantees to play a ton, and Gardner is somewhat of an unknown IMO. We need at least ONE of Dunn/Tex/Manny or this team isn’t going anywhere.

  13. Manimal says:

    When does CMW get a new contract? He is worth way more than 500k or whatever he makes.

  14. A.D. says:

    Congrats on Ken Rosenthal for figuring out the economy will effect everyone… hopefully by now most people are aware enough to realize that the words “recession proof” & “too big to fail” are words tossed out by people pretending they know something about economics.

    Yankees are tightening up the ship, making sure to spend savvy, as anyone can see with the automakers, people can run a business like shit and still make money during the good times with a decent brand name, but when pocketbooks tighten poorly run companies quickly fall

  15. DonnieBaseballHallofFame says:

    I recall talking about that the economy will effect players and possibly even star players and got laughed outta here. This recession is not just that, it is a credit meltdown. Banks do not trust each other, the government is printing as much digital funny money as possible and we still are sliding deeper and deeper into a hole.

    With all that said the Yankees will still put a representative product onto the field.

    This does make the A-Rod signing look worse and worse and it looked bad from jump. As well as the Jorge and even Mo’s deal. Really the thing handicapping this team now is that A-Rod deal. After this year the Damon and Matsui deals are gone. The Jeter deal is close to over and in this economy he will have to take a pay cut but Jeets being a smart dude will know that and keep it moving when the time comes.

    If things get really bad I wonder how many of the Yanks high paid staff (coaching, front office, etc) get the axe or are asked to cut their salary. The Boss might come back and start firing clubhouse guys.

  16. Joltin' Joe says:

    All in all I am one of the few (along with someone else who commented on this post towards the beginning) that would like to see us have a payroll south of Boston, Queens and maybe even Los Angeles of Anaheim of CA of USA.

    • Joltin' Joe says:

      But NOT THIS YEAR of course…

    • Ben K. says:

      I have to ask you this though: Why?

      The Yankees are in a position to use a resource — money — to put themselves in a better position than their closest competitors. It doesn’t make sense to pocket the money and not spend it while putting an inferior product on the field. If the Yanks have the money and they can spend it wisely, it doesn’t make sense not to.

      • Joltin' Joe says:

        But they haven’t, that’s my point. We’ve seen over the last several years that buying players who are in the twilight of their careers does not equal great success. Plus, if the front office really knew what it was doing, we should be like the Red Sox — $130MM payroll, great farm and 2 WS in 4 years. In fact, from my guesstimating, I don’t think a team with a payroll over $130 or so has ever won the WS…

        Just seems to me like the Yanks were all too willing to sign players to overpriced contracts simply to try to turn a strength into a greater strength, at the expense of another area (a la last year’s Tigers).

        And, of course, Peter Gammons would just wave off our WS wins ’cause we ‘bought’ ‘em.

        • Ben K. says:

          Right. But just because they haven’t doesn’t mean they should stop spending. They should stop spending poorly and start spending wisely. There’s no need to stop altogether. That gives an unnecessary edge to the team’s competitors.

          • DonnieBaseballHallofFame says:

            I think this is rather silly on a lot of Yankees fans part.

            When a team wins it overpays or pays market value to keep their star players. We did that with the Dynasty teams. Now to make up for the guys who got old, dusty, retired or went elsewhere you have to restock. To do that you trade young players for top or close to star players you have a need for and pay them money. Then you bring in youth at positions where they fit and hope they stick. Then you sign free agents and the best ones you can get for your money.

            Yanks have made some bad moves no doubt but really the worst move they made was not doing the deal for Santana.

            You add Santana to last years team and they are in the playoffs, possibly going deep.

            I agree they should not cease to spend money, but they are not doing that and wont. Last time I checked they have a 140 MILLION DOLLAR deal on the table for a fat guy who is a pretty good pitcher. Too bad last year we overpaid big time to keep Alex yet we whiff on the one deal that would have been a good look.

            CC and Santana or Alex and Hughes plus chumps (which these two and the chumps cost you more dollars end of day)

            I take CC and Santana all day. Put those two with Wang and Joba and I think you can start fitting guys for rings.

            • Ben K. says:

              CC + Santana = At least $280 million in pitching over an aggregate of 12 years. That’s a terrible, terrible investment.

              Meanwhile, without A-Rod, the Yanks probably would have scored fewer than 750 runs last year. That’s pretty sad.

        • pat says:

          Just seems to me like the Yanks were all too willing to sign players to overpriced contracts simply to try to turn a strength into a greater strength

          Times have changed tho dude. Cashman is now fully in control and has a well thought out plan to transition from the old ways to new. Theres a renewed focus on the draft and a public reluctance to sign those overpriced vets to long contracts.

        • Mike P says:

          They could also make more trades. Then if these go wrong, by your reasoning they should stop making trades. Signing bad contracts should never stop you from attempting to sign better ones. Just because they spent badly doesn’t mean they should stop. Would you never buy a TV again if your recent purchases all broke down?

      • Thomas says:

        I would like the Yankees to have a lower payroll than the Red Sox, Mets, ect., but only if they are better than those teams. If the Yanks win the WS, I don’t care what the payroll, high or low.

        Additionally, what benefit do the fans get if the payroll is low? We get to stick it to Boston and that’s it. We won’t see lower seating costs even if the payroll drops.

  17. Babe's Ghost says:

    Paul Volcker addressed the MLB owners. Unlike Bush and his stooge Paulson, he has no interest in sugar coating the truth and a track record in facing reality that gives him credibility. The bottom line is things are likely going to get much worse. We haven’t seen the current problems feed forward into the economy to any significant degree.

    Hal and the Steinbrenners probably don’t want to risk losing control of their assets by getting overextended in an environment in which they have huge fixed costs in salaries, huge capital investment in the stadium, sharply declining wealth in their home market and likely dropping advertising revenue. Who knows how much debt they took on to start Yes and build the new stadium. They need to make sure they retain enough cash flow to service that debt. If any of it is short term debt that will make things even harder.

    Before you pooh pooh this, remember in the 80′s financial services, the dominant industry in NYC, represented 8% of S&P earnings, last year they were 40% of S&P earnings, reversion to mean anyone?

    To put it another way, if you thought your job or home were possibly at risk, how many people on this blog would go out and buy a fancy new car to keep up with the Joneses?

  18. dkidd says:

    is it paranoid to think the owners have decided to use the economy as an excuse to roll back player salaries? not for the big ticket guys (cc tex and manny will get their $) but for everyone else? interesting to see how much the cubs/mets offer for abreu. collusion doesn’t require a secret meeting in zurich, just a few casual conversations…

  19. ortforshort says:

    I don’t think $280 million for Santana and Sabathia is a terrible investment if you’re the Yankees. Anybody else, yes. The Yankees made close to half a billion last year. They’re projected to bring in an additional 100-200 million this year on top of that – with the bad economy. All they have to do to keep this huge revenue stream going is to put a serious contender on the field. They are on the brink of not being able to do that. Those two guys at the top of the rotation would virtually assure the Yankees of contending – and their income stream. Therfore, money well spent.

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