Report: Yanks will reevaluate budget soon

Posada's Place In Yankees History
Scouting The Waiver Market: Fernando Martinez
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

It’s been a very slow offseason for the Yankees, who have spent a whopping $6M* on free agents. All of that money went to re-signing their own players as well: $4M to Freddy Garcia and another $2M to Andruw Jones. That’s it. We’ve heard quite a bit about their unwillingness (or inability) to increase payroll, particularly long-term with regards to the 2014 austerity budget. That could change though, as Buster Olney is reporting (Insider req’d) that the team will make a decision about whether or not to expand its current budget “in the next couple of weeks.”

An increased budget will change the equation dramatically for the Yankees, particularly the pitching equation. Edwin Jackson is still lurking out there, as are Hiroki Kuroda and Roy Oswalt. In my crazy world even Ryan Madson is rotation option. As we see this morning with the Paul Maholm deal — one-year, $4.25M with a club option when comparable pitchers got two guaranteed years earlier in the offseason — prices are starting to come down just a bit as Spring Training draws closer. The Yankees will simply reevaluate their budget, and possibly adjust it.

From here, this sounds like an awful lot like the next step towards Jackson becoming a Yankee. Joe recently wrote about the similarities between the Edwin rumors and last year’s Rafael Soriano rumors, and this kinda sorta fits the theme. The only difference is that last year we knew they had the money to spare after losing out on Cliff Lee, whereas this year they might have to up their payroll to accommodate a new pitcher. Remember, increasing the budget is not guaranteed at this point, it’s just up for consideration.

My rough estimation has the Yankees right around $200M with their payroll at the moment, and bringing in a pitcher like Jackson or Kuroda or Oswalt would push them into the $210-213M range. Coincidentally, the team’s final payroll for luxury tax purposes was $212.7M in 2011, so perhaps they’re willing to go back to that level next year. Obviously it’s not that cut and dry, but you get the idea. The market for those three pitchers isn’t exactly hot right now, and the fact that they’re still available this late in the winter indicates that other teams haven’t deemed them worthy of their asking price either. The Yankees have the advantage of money, but right now it’s unclear if they’ll decide to use it.

* Obviously this doesn’t include the $122.5M they re-invested in CC Sabathia, but he technically wasn’t a free agent. Tomatoes tomahtoes.

Posada's Place In Yankees History
Scouting The Waiver Market: Fernando Martinez
  • Mister Delaware

    I’m 100% certain that whatever contract Edwin Jackson signs, I’ll either wish the Yankees had done it or hate that the Yankees did it. Either way, I will not be happy.

  • John White

    no on edwin

    • AJavierkei Pavagawnett


  •!/czm93 Craig

    Dear Yankees Brass and Front Office,

    This is how I, and many others feel regarding Scott Boras and Edwin Jackson, as well as Jon Heyman comparing Jackson to Lincecum and Felix:

    (Most likely 80% of) New York Yankees fans.

    • Preston

      Well done.

  • TLVP

    I’d say that the Steinbrenners’ are in general spending as much money as they dare without risking a hard salary cap.

    Reallocating profits to YES is only a way to help MLB show that the teams on aggregate aren’t that profitable

    • Ed

      Keeping profits in YES is about limiting revenue sharing. Revenue sharing is based on the team’s income. MLB would prefer the money be in the team.

  • Jeremy

    I want them to raise the budget to give a 1 year deal to Kuroda, not 4 for Jackson. Just give us a stopgap til Banuelos and the next free agent class.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      Agree. I’d prefer the Kuroda or Oswalt options to Jackson. A 1-year stopgap seems the most prudent approach if the organization really wants to get the budget below the tax threshold. I’m aslo anxious to see if the new crop of young guns can be the building blocks for the future.

      • I Live In My Mom’s Basement

        I hope they sign no one. I’d like to make sure we see some of Noesi, Warren AND Phelps, not to mention Betances and Banuelose if they are ready. If we sign another starter, that greatly decreases the amount we can see these other guys hang it out at the major league level. How will we, or the Yankees, ever find out if they are any good?

        I really don’t think it’s absolutely necessary that the guarantee making the playoffs every year– I’d rather taking some chances. Besides, if we want to build a better team, you will get more in exchange for trading guys who have shown something in the majors vs. equivalent guys who are stuck at AAA.

        • Cris Pengiucci

          I see your point and agree on some points. Perhaps I should have said “If the Yankees are going to make a move for pitching this offseason, then I’d prefer …”. I think the Yankees have a good amount of pitching talent and need to properly take advantage of it. If the prospects do well enough on the ML team, they should increase their value to other teams (and the Yankees, of course). However, if they fail, the Yankees may have been better off trading them before promoting them. That’s a decision they are in the best position to make. We’ll see what they do and hope for the best.

          • I Live In My Mom’s Basement

            I absolutely agree with you, and I agree that the Yankees have better information than any of us to use in evaluating their talent. Where I think I diverge from the Yankees, as I see it, is in risk preference– I would be willing to trade, say, a 90% chance of making the playoffs this year for a 75% chance, in return, say, for increasing the chance of winning the WS sometime between 2013-2015 from 25% to 40% . I would be much happier to see another world championship relatively soon if it meant gambling on younger talent now and risking the playoffs in the short term– with the assumption of course, that if one player were the difference in 2012 between making the playoffs, they would be unlikely to get much beyond the first round.

            • Cris Pengiucci

              I’m with you on this.

        • AJavierkei Pavagawnett

          I’d have no problems with the Yankees rolling the dice on a one year contract for Kuroda or Oswalt. Either of those pitchers have the potential to be a legitimate #2 starter, especially Oswalt.

          There is no one else with reasonable chance of being a second high end starter to compliment CC on the Yankees right now.

          I think the probability of Hughes, Burnett, and/or Garcia imploding or getting hurt is very high. Whether or not the Yankees sign Kuroda or Oswalt, I think we will get a good look at some of younger arms this year.

          • viridiana


    • Adam B


  • James

    “Next couple of weeks”? The Yankees can move at whatever pace they want to I guess, far be it from me to complain about a $200MM payroll, but there’s a real possibility a lot of free agents will be gone by that point. So if they’re serious about increasing the payroll for 2012, they may want to make that decision sooner rather than later.

    • Mike Axisa

      “Next couple of weeks” could very well mean this week.

      • Plank

        I can’t read the article, but it sounds like the decision has already been made. Maybe they just need to work out the logistics.

    • Ethan

      Also if there’s the possibility of the yankees entering the negotiations with one of these free agent pitchers, don’t you think the agents would wait to see if they can get the yankees in on the bidding to raise the price?

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    I’m completely fine with them raising the budget to bring in someone like Oswalt or Kuroda on a 1 year deal. Both those guys have the upside to pitch towards the front end of a rotation, and would only take a 1 year commitment that wouldn’t affect us from acquiring an elite starter next offseason. It sure seems like if we get Edwin Jackson, we won’t have the money to upgrade the rotation next year, and I don’t think he’s worth that cost. (Similarly I didn’t think Soriano was worth that cost, so I have the same ominous feeling right now)

  • dean

    If you’re going to bend the budget…..then do it to bring Kuroda on board and take chances on Cespedes/Soler, not to sign AJ Burnett 2.0.

    • Mike Axisa

      I think they have little interest in Cespedes, but will go hard after Soler.

      • JohnC

        I agree. I think they go after Kuroda on a 1 year deal and make a big pitch for Soler.

      • Johnny O

        Mike – have you done a write up on Soler? Or could you point us to one? A lot of chatter about Cespedes and his videos, but i haven’t seen much on Soler. Thanks

        • Mike Axisa

          The only stuff I’ve seen on him has been behind pay walls. They say he has power, speed, yadda yadda yadda. It’s tough to take some of these reports seriously, which is why I wait until they play some minor league games before passing judgment on the guy.

  • JoeMoes

    A pitcher on a one year deal makes most sense I highly doubt they go for Jackson unless he takes a 1:14milliom which he might because market is down this year. I’d rather peruse Cole or Cain next offseason.

    • Dan

      I would doubt that Jackson would take a one year deal this year, especially with the potential pitching free-agent classes coming out the next two years. He should try to get a multi-year deal now, which is why the Yankees should stay away because even if he lowers his price significantly they shouldn’t lock up that much payroll for the next 3-5 years.

      • toad

        I agree with this.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    At the end of the 2011 season, I thought that Jackson could be a viable option for thew Yankees. When I heard people comparing him to AJ then I ceased seeing him as such. They might just sign him anyway.

  • ADam

    One thing the Yankees have never really stated is what type of affect a in year deal for Oswalt… hell, even a 2 year deal has on the 2014 budget?.
    Adding on, there is a decent amount of coin coming of the books after this season, ~35 MM, plus I’d bank on on Cashman doing everything he can to trade both Soriano and Burnett after this season to get that number to about 50-55MM

    I’m not really sure whats up with the inconsistency in the front office, or what it says about the team it doesn’t help the front office gain any credibility, so I’m not so sure why they keep going back on forth on this budget.I guess I’m confused as anyone else. Too many cooks in the kitchen maybe?

    • vin

      “Adding on, there is a decent amount of coin coming of the books after this season, ~35 MM”

      You’re only partly right. The following contracts will be over after 2012:

      Mo – 15 mil
      Swisher – 10.25 mil
      Martin – 4 mil
      Feliciano – 4.25 mil
      Garcia – 4 mil
      Jones – 2 mil
      total – 39.5 mil

      Soriano has a 3 mil pay raise, Cano and Granderson have club options worth a total of 28 mil (4 mil increase), ARod and Jeter’s salary adjustments cancel each other out. Then you have arbitration raises for Joba, Robertson, Hughes, Gardner, etc (conservatively figure another 5 mil).

      That leaves us with 27.5 mil coming off the books, but no right fielder, no Mo (my hunch is he re-signs though), a catching troika of Montero, Romine, and Cervelli (not sure how much Girardi will love that, but I’m cool with it). For argument’s sake, lets say Mo re-signs for 15 (he’s obviously not taking a pay cut unless something goes horribly wrong in 2012). That leaves them with 12.5± to spend on an ace pitcher, a RF, and they still have to figure out what to do with Cano and Granderson (or perhaps re-sign Swisher for similar money to what he’s been earning). I bet the 2013 payroll goes up from 2012… thereby making it very difficult to get below 190 for 2014 (not without some major salary restructuring which MLB wouldn’t be happy with).

      Here’s my prognostications:
      They extend 2 of Swisher, Cano, and Granderson (Cano being most likely to stay).
      They spend big on a FA pitcher next year.
      They decide eating money and trading Burnett just isn’t worth the effort (see the Lowe trade).
      They hang on to Soriano because he makes the team better on the field, and that is always the primary concern.
      The only way they sign Edwin Jackson is if their intelligence tells them Cain, Hamels, Greinke, etc won’t reach FA or won’t sign with NY… which is a possibility.
      They don’t come close to reaching that magical 189 mil mark in 2014.

      • ADam

        Both Soriano and Burnett become much more more serious trade bait after this season, and My prediction is he (Soriano) gets tired of being the 6th or 7th inning guy and wants to close and rack up saves in yet another contract year. A lot of teams will need closers next year and if the yanks eat some of his contract they should get something in return for him and Cash can give randy a big FU when he turns Randy’s lemon into lemonade.

        The yanks will shop Burnett HARD, in the 2012 off season, and probably get pretty aggressive with how much they will be willing to eat.

        I think your right, baring some ill fated miracle where the yanks tab Dickerson as their everyday RF in 2014 and dont resign Hughes or Joba and let others walk there is no shot they get under 189

        • jsbrendog

          The yanks will shop Burnett HARD, in the 2012 off season, and probably get pretty aggressive with how much they will be willing to eat.

          because……??? maybe you should throw in a might

        • Preston

          The Burnett and Soriano contracts have nothing to do with the 2014 budget. Neither will be under contract and I don’t see either being re-signed. Plus we don’t need to pay big money to replace what is essentially a 5th starter and middle reliever. We would probably fill both positions internally or with low cost signings. That’s around 28 million off the books. In addition if Jeter plays in 2014 he will do so for only 8 million (saving an additional 9 against the cap). Even if Jeter retires it’s likely we’d give Eduardo Nunez a chance to play everyday (if he’s gotten more consistent with his throws) and wait for Cito Culver to develop rather than make a big free agent acquisition. So the real question of whether or not we have a chance to get under the 189 mark for 2014 revolves around whether we feel we have enough front end pitching in Hughes, Nova, Noesi, Banuelos and Betances at the end of 2012, or if we need to sign Hamels, Cain, Greinke or trade for Lincecum.

          • vinny q

            lol how is Noesi a front end pitcher?

            • Preston

              He’s not as flashy as Banuelos and Betances, but prior to 2011 Sickel’s gave him a B grade (same as Manny). He made some peoples top 100 prospect lists and was pretty consistently ranked ahead of Nova (who just performed like a front-line starter). He should have started at AAA last year but instead skipped the level and pitched effectively as a long man, so I don’t know what about last season would change anybody’s opinion of him. He’s got a good fastball, with good command and his change and slider could both be plus pitches. Most teams would slot a prospect of his caliber into the back end of their rotation no questions asked. Give him some time at AAA to further develop his secondary pitches and I easily envision him being a good number three or even two down the road.

      • craig

        The salary change for Alex is only relevant from a “cash in hand” standpoint. For the luxury tax they go by AAV, so the decrease in his salary doesn’t change his AAV at all.

        • vin

          Oh, that’s right. Good catch.

    • MannyB ace2be

      Are you familiar with the word “misinformation”

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      A little late to the conversation, but you reading a bunch of conflicting reports on the internet does not equal actual inconsistency on the front office’s part.

  • Preston

    At some point Jackson becomes worth the risk. Obviously at 5 years and 15 million he’s way overpriced. But this is Scott Boras’s asking price. Prince isn’t getting 10/250 and Jackson isn’t getting 5/75. He’s just 28 and has been healthy and productive over the last couple of years. Fangraphs puts his value for the last three seasons at 48.5 million. Because of his age it’s not unlikely that his best years are ahead of him. I’m not in love with Jackson, although when you consider that Garza will cost multiple high end prospects and probably make just under 20 million over the next two years I’m inclined to like Jackson better than Garza. Additionally I think that Oswalt and Kuroda are both likely to give you zero return on your investment, given age and injury history. I’m not sure at what price I would say yes to Jackson but 4/40 or 3/36 both sound like no-brainers to me. Is he likely to be a front-line starter, no. Is he likely to give us around 200 solid innings and get 15 wins, yes.

    • ADam

      Ill take Jackson for 2/25… Tell Boras he can use his commission from the Soriano disaster to make up the difference

      • Preston

        I’m sure Boras will give you a 400 page portfolio explaining how Rafael Soriano’s 2011 season was similar to bad years by other great relievers proving that he will one day be in the HOF and we should be glad to pay his eight figure salary just for his presence. Randy Levine will be confused by all the big words Scott uses and be convinced to give Soriano a raise.

        • ADam

          probably so

        • Mister Delaware

          “He has my vote!” – Jon Heyman

  • mike_h

    Reevaluating the budget could also mean eating more of AJ’s contract to move him.

    You guys are acting like signing Jackson is gonna hurt the team this season. Yes, long term it isn’t a good idea but can you realistically say that Cain or Hamels are gonna be free agents next year. No, they will get re-signed and even then you’re gonna be competing with the Red Sox and other teams to sign them.

    Option 1: Sign Jackson, Phil to the bullpen, AJ as the 5th starter
    Option 2: Sign Jackson, Phil as the 5th starter, trade AJ

    Option 1 is better since if Garcia gets off to a 2010 Javy Vasquez start you can DFA him and move Phil to the rotation.

    • AJavierkei Pavagawnett

      Fine but let’s say we sign Jackson for something like 4/$50 or 3/$40, is Jackson that much of an upgrade over Hughes or AJ? I’m really not sure. So why commit that type of money to him, especially when you would have to eat the money of AJ’s contract if you move him.

  • CJ

    In my opinion, the yanks are not taking a “couple of weeks” to consider budget to add Edwin Jackson or Kuroda, they are considering something substantial either for 2012 or beyond (Hamels and/or Cain). They have analyzed and discussed their payroll and budget forecasts for weeks, months, years in advance. Either Olney’s report is overblown or they have something greater in mind.

  • craig

    Trading for Garza would also require an increase in the budget. Maybe this is what they are talking about. The price for Garza will come down. I imagine that they just added Maholm as a precursor to moving Garza.

    The expectation for Garza has been so out of whack. Garza is a super-two, so he is more expensive than most guys with 2 years of control left. I don’t care what players have been bandied about. I think that when it actually comes to moving Garza a package of talent like Romine, Phelps and Warren gets it done (not necessarily those guys, but that “type” of package). Teams are not going to move their top 3 prospects for an expensive #2 with 2 years of control left. The Cubs will also move him because his prices is continuing to come down and if he starts the season with them and gets hurt, they get nothing.

    My trade proposal sucks…I know.

    • CJ

      The report that they are reevaluating budget comes the day after reports that Detroit is close to a deal for Garza. They don’t need additional meetings to decide if they can afford
      Kuroda. Either bad reporting or something bigger, a change in direction. You think Hal hasn’t noticed angels and rangers and what that means for wild card?

    • Preston

      The Tigers are rumored to be willing to trade Jacob Turner for Garza, so nobody’s getting him for less than an elite prospect. So at least Betances if not Banuelos would have to be included.

      • craig

        The reports of the Cubs being “down the road” are out of Chicago, so I wouldn’t put too much into them…plus he backed-off that report 2 hours later.

        The only place that is saying the Tigers will include Turner is, again, out of Chicago. I see no evidence of that yet. If they would, the deal would have been done already. This is all Chicago beat writers trying to help create some sort of urgency and overpay for Garza…nothing more.

        • Preston

          Chicago has the money, so the reason to trade Garza is to acquire more talent. So it doesn’t really make sense to trade your best pitcher for a prospect that doesn’t have that kind of talent level. I think Theo would rather just keep Garza.

          • craig

            You are saving money and that matters to a team that is likely going to lose 90-95 games next year. Today’s money can help you buy tomorrow’s player that you are going to need + you will get 3 players to build your system. The names could be different, but they’ll get 2 arms that might turn into 3,4,5 type starters and a position player. Maybe they’ll get a low-level player thrown in too, so they can say they “got” 4 players like the Latos and Gio deals.

            latos and Gio were much cheaper and under control for 2 more years…they will cost more than Garza (and I like Garza).

    • vin

      Theo and Hoyer might say your trade proposal sucks, especially compared to their initial asking price. I think if you swap out Phelps with Betances it could get done. That would be 2 years of Garza for a realistic starting catcher, a high-upside pitcher, and a projectable back of the rotation starter.

      Sounds fair to me, which probably means the Cubs still wouldn’t be interested.

    • CJ

      I think betances phelps romine is fair enough for garza. Its going to depend on if they like detroits package better. Jacob turner? garza is the type of pitcher Detroit likes verlander garza scherzer= lots of missed bats

  • candyforstalin

    my guess is they’re waiting to see if there’s a second wild card or not.

    • Mike Axisa

      That’s a really good point. Second wildcard? Okay fine, we’re set as is. No second wildcard? Okay go get an arm.

      • CJ

        Mike, I respectfully disagree. I think the 2nd wild card necessitates a more aggressive approach. Making a 1 game playoff is a dangerous approach for yanks elimination is a complete failure. Winning the division becomes a must in 2 team format

        • Preston

          I think you may be right. But either way it affects our decision making on the kind of talent we need to assemble.

      • toad

        I thinkj CJ is right. Another point is that if the post-season schedule gets compressed you need more pitching depth, whether you win the division or are a wild card.

  • John

    Sorry, No Jackson please!!! Could not even get thru the 5th inning in the post season. let me see Warren or Phelps or Joba for that!

    • jsbrendog

      except for those two starts he pitched 6+. oh curse you facts!

    • vin

      Did you even watch the Cardinals in the playoffs this year? The starter failed to reach the 6th inning in 11 out of their 17 postseason games.

      Of course I don’t disagree with your sentiment on Joba. ;)

  • bpdelia

    I’m inclined to believe this regards Garza. I would be fine with bettances,romine, Phelps or Warren and one of the fast track college rps. Williams, montero, Sanchez and banuelos are off the table. Guys like gumbs, bichette, cote, heathcott etc are all discussable in exchange for the ml ready low ceilling Aaa starter that would presumably be the third piece.

    • jsbrendog

      garza just isnt that good imo

      • Preston

        Agreed, I feel like people throw around the Betances, Romine trade combo like it’s not a lot. There is a real chance that Montero is not an everday catcher. There is also a real chance that Cervelli is done due to his concussions. Romine could play a major role on the Yankees in 2013 and beyond. Betances may not be as highly rated a prospect as Banuelos but that has little predictive value as to who will have more MLB success. Acquiring and keeping as many high end pitching prospects as possible is the only way we will ever develop an elite level starter.

        • viridiana

          Betances has been under-rated by some. Recently named a Top 30 prospect pick by Too much made of walks for a pitcher who gives up few hits and misses bats.

  • John

    Its Garza or Bust !!!

    • CJ

      Sounds like Garza will probably be gone in a couple of days let alone a couple of weeks.

  • mustang

    If this report is true it could be something out of leftfield because they know the price on Jackson, Oswalt and Kuroda or maybe the price has come down on one of these guys to the point that its worth discussing.
    This is a complete shot in the dark but maybe something with the Cubs and Yankees with Garza, AJ and Soriano with less of a prospect package, taking on money, and trading untradeable contracts.

    I just hope its not Jackson.

    • CJ

      I agree with it “could be something from out in leftfield” I don’t see reevaluating and analyzing a budget for 2 weeks in january to see if they can afford Edwin
      Jackson. They know their budget to the cent at this point, a change in strategy or a big $ move has to be the topic.

      • mustang

        I been thinking of my crazy “Cubs and Yankees with Garza, AJ and Soriano” for a while but Soriano is owe so much money that I just can’t make it work. Let say Garza makes 6, Soriano is making 54, AJ 33 that’s a 27 million dollar difference. We are not even talking about the prospect part or how it would work on the field. It’s just too crazy.

        • mustang

          And there are partial and full no trade clause involved.

  • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

    Wasn’t the time to evaluate the budget, you know, *before* most FA’s signed and major trades/extensions occurred?

    • CJ

      Exactly. They have done all the necessary evaluation So why re-evaluate? Something has changed. The availability and projected cost of Edwin Jackson is not a new development.

  • Mike Tomohawkxia

    Edwin Jackson come on down your the next contestant on Randy Levine doesn’t know baseball.

  • Nathan

    Couple weeks? Why bother. All the big ticket players are likely gone and what is left are the low-risk players that you give small contracts to.

  • duzzi23

    Reading between the lines I think they are having a hard time selling tickets and want to make a move to show fans they did something. Isn’t that how the Soriano acquisition went down last offseason?

    • mustang


  • ND Mike

    Does anyone know if restructuring current deals would lower the payroll number for luxury tax reasons? Maybe stretch paying A-Rod’s contract over a couple of more seasons after he’s retired?

  • Need Pitching

    “Coincidentally, the team’s final payroll for luxury tax purposes was $212.7M in 2011”

    True, but that number includes 40 man roster and benefit costs. I believe their current payroll in luxury tax terms including those items (reportedly an extra 10-15M/year) is only about 2-4M short of last years luxury tax payroll.