Over the past week, as the Yankees doled out the dollars for A.J. Burnett and CC Sabathia, many pundits noted that despite these behemoth contracts, the Yankees are actually shedding payroll. Because the contracts for Jason Giambi, Bobby Abreu, Andy Pettitte, Carl Pavano, Mike Mussina, and Kyle Farnsworth/Ivan Rodriguez have expired, that means the Yankees have around $80 million to spend if they keep their payroll consistent with 2008. Since the average annual values of the Sabathia ($23 million) and Burnett ($16.5 million) contracts add up to just $39.5 million, many folks presume that the Yankees could conceivably spend another $40.5 million on their 2009 payroll and still not break the $209 million mark of 2008.
This is fuzzy math. It’s nice to think this way. It gives us the impression that the Yankees can dole out enormous contracts and still have a payroll below the $200 million mark. That, however, is not the reality of the situation. This does not take into account arbitration raises, which are due to Chien-Ming Wang, Xavier Nady, and Brian Bruney. It also ignores raises in a player’s salary. For instance, Alex Rodriguez will make $5 million more in 2009 than he did in 2008. Robinson Cano gets a $3 million raise. They’ve added Swisher. They’ve added Damaso Marte’s salary. All that adds up, too.
Thankfully, I’ve saved a spreadsheet which documents the salary of each Yankees player. This completely debunks the meme that the Yankees have plenty of money left for the 2009 payroll.
*AAV of contract
** Arbitration estimate
I’ll keep this up to date as we start to see actual salary numbers for the reserve-clause players and the arbitration guys. As Mike has noted before, the team also has to pay the entire 40-man roster a certain salary, though that might just be a five-figure amount.
In any case, when you consider things like Andrew Brackman’s and Kei Igawa’s contracts, plus buyouts for Pavano and Giambi, the payroll is up around the $190 million mark. If the Yankees spent that $40.5 million that so many claim they have, the payroll would clearly shatter even the team’s own record.
Please, going forward, do not base an argument on the money coming off the books. That’s just not a good way of calculating how much money the Yankees have. Other commitments change that value. As you can see from the table above, the Yankees signing another bat means raising the payroll, once again, over $200 million. Not that I’m opposed to that. Not at all. In fact, it will only rile up the Yankee haters, and I sustain myself on their ire. In fact, if the Yankees do win it all, I will bask in the misery of others as they shout at the top of their lungs that the Yankees bought another championship.
Now that we have the payroll issue straight, do you think that affects the Yankees willingness to spend on a bat? Or do you think they’ll break the bank in a time when other teams are pinching pennies?