Hal Steinbrenner confirms 2014 austerity plan


(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

It’s been more than three months since we first heard about the Yankees’ intentions to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold in 2014, but now we finally have confirmation from ownership. Hal Steinbrenner spoke to reporters briefly this morning, making it clear that talk about the austerity budget isn’t just for show. Courtesy of Marc Carig and Chad Jennings

“The [$189M payroll] in two years is definitely a goal of ours,” Steinbrenner said. “We’re not too far off. We’re going to have a very similar payroll this year to last year, but I think we have a better team. Somewhat of an accomplishment I guess, on paper anyway. We’ll see. But yes, that 189 is a real number, and we’re going to be shooting for it.

“I’m a finance geek, I guess I always have been. That’s my background. Budgets matter and balance sheets matter. I just feel that if you do well on the player development side, and you have a good farm system, you don’t need a $220M payroll. You don’t. You can field every bit as good a team with young talent. When you consider (Manny) Banuelos and (Dellin) Betances and some of the pitching we have coming up with (Ivan) Nova and (Phil) Hughes and (Michael) Pineda, next year, when one of those two or both of those guys are up, we’re going to have the kind of young pitching we haven’t had since … I don’t know when the last time was.

“Luxury tax is an option; it’s a personal option. We do it. We go into it knowing exactly what we’re doing. Being the only team that does it, I’m just not convinced we need to be as high as we’ve been in the past to field a championship caliber team … I’m looking at it as a goal. But my goals are normally considered a requirement. Is it a requirement with baseball that we be at $189M? No, it’s not a requirement. But that is going to be the luxury tax threshold and that’s where I want to be.”

I sense a collective freakout coming on, but I think Hal laid things out well. He didn’t say they were unwilling to pay the luxury tax (they obviously are), just that they feel they can win a championship without paying it. We all know he’s right, we it happen almost every year.

Dave Pinto had a great take on the whole austerity budget thing, saying the Yankees essentially want to become “the Rays with money.” That means develop a core from within, then use the payroll advantage to add high-end free agents/trades strategically rather than necessarily. It’s exactly how the late-90s dynasty was built. It would make the Yankees crazy dangerous, but it’s much easier said than done.

The team’s current payroll is somewhere in the $225M range, so getting it down to $189M in two years will be no small feat. Shedding the Rafael Soriano, A.J. Burnett, and (sadly) Mariano Rivera contracts will account for roughly $39M in savings alone, but it’s not that simple. Robinson Cano is due a substantial contract extension, both Nova and Pineda will be arbitration-eligible by 2014, the trio of Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson, and Russell Martin will either have to be re-signed or replaced, and so on. It’s doable, but it won’t be easy. The club seems very committed, however.

Categories : News


  1. CountryClub says:

    I know some fans are very worried about this, but as long as the team continues to win 90+ games a yr I couldn’t care less. There’s nothing wrong with the team being run smarter.

  2. Tim says:

    If they get below 189MM in 2014, it will allow them to spend more money in the future, if they want to. Think about the millions that could be part of the actual payroll that are being wasted going into other team’s pockets.

    Cutting payroll for 2014 will hurt in the short run, but it will be much better for the Yankees, as a whole, in the long term.

    • Plank says:

      Think about the millions that could be part of the actual payroll that are being wasted going into other team’s pockets.

      Better wasting in the pockets of the Steinbrenners than in the pockets of other teams owners? He’s saying specifically he won’t use the money on the payroll. He’s slashing payroll.

      It’s a money grab plain and simple. If the Yankees were losing money, this move would be understandable. He just wants a bigger fortune for himself every year.

      • Havok9120 says:

        Is that a bad thing?

        The answer to that is beside the point. Show me where his reasoning is faulty. Spending this far over the limit has NOT been worth the investment, and anyone who says it has been either hasn’t been paying attention or has the “not my money” bug.

        • Plank says:

          I can simultaneously understand why the Steinbrenner’s want to do this and be against it. Of course they want to pocket tens of millions more every year. As a fan, however, I would rather they spend the money either to improve the team or lower prices. (I’m not naive, I know the second one will never happen.)

          I would argue that the higher payroll was worth the investment. The higher payroll kept the Yankees at a high level of play after the late 90′s dynasty. If they had come back to earth in 2002(ish) they wouldn’t be as big as they are now. The 90s teams had high payrolls but they didn’t blow everyone out of the water like they have the last few years. If they became a .500 team in the mid 2000s, I don’t think the franchise value would be close to where it is at currently.

          • Havok9120 says:

            Oh, I won’t argue that the spending, even when it went over, was a net positive of the 2000s. I agree with that completely. I’m simply saying that we’ve reached the point of diminishing returns now that the farm system is producing some talent. Is it worth the revenue sharing and luxury taxes if we can field a team that, while it won’t win the division by 8 games, will be quite capable of winning it by 2 or 3?

            If we had spend the last 5 years forging a new Yankee dynasty or even by winning 2 or 3 titles over the last decade, I’d be verrrry worried by this. But we haven’t. We’ve been good, great at times, but the spending hasn’t put us over the top. We spent a ton in ’09, and I think we’d do it again post 2014 if the talent is right. But the 2000s were rife with spending for the sake of spending, spending enourmous sums for miniscule gain and, simply put, that was dumb then and its even dumber under the new CBA when the farm system is capable enough to carry more of the load than it has been.

  3. Jesse says:

    I’m not sure the Yankees can pay both Granderson and Cano huge contracts while fielding viable players at other positions with this $189M threshold in mind.

    • CountryClub says:

      Let’s see if after 2 more seasons we think that Granderson deserves a huge contract. He won’t be young at that point. My guess is that he’s not coming back. But if he puts up 2 more huge years he’ll obviously make it a tough decision.

      • Needed Pitching says:

        though if its not Granderson, they will still likely need to find another big bat from outside the organization to fill the whole, which will still cost big bucks (unless they pull off a trade for a cost controlled young stud)

        • Cris Pengiucci says:

          (unless they pull off a trade for a cost controlled young stud)

          I see this as a real solution to some of the potential upcoming problems in signing their current players. The strong farm system, especially at pitcher and catcher, should provide opportunities to trade for young, cost controlled talent, as we saw with the Pineda deal (although they also gave up a very strong cost controlled talent for him).

      • Jesse says:

        I agree. As of now, and of course things can change, I see Cano getting the long-term extension if indeed they sign at least one of these guys long-term, and Granderson gets shown the door, sadly.

      • RetroRob says:

        Let’s see if after 2 more seasons we think that Cano deserves a huge contract. A lot can change.

  4. Cris Pengiucci says:

    Seems they’ve got a good place to build from down on the farm now. This wasn’t an option in the early 2000s, and while they can’t fill all openings that will pop up within a few years, they can enhance their rotation without having to sign a Hamels-like pitcher at $20M+/year (although I wouldn’t complain if they did), leaving them some money to retain the top talent they have.

    With CC heading a young but strong rotation next year and beyond, they still need to be a bit creative to retain their current top talents and stay within budget, but they’ve certainly got more options now than they’ve had in quite a long time. I like.

  5. Tom Swift says:

    I think this means that there’s a good chance that in 2014, the team will make the playoffs as a WC rather than as the division winner. 2014 should be interesting — a lot of young players will get a shot.

    • RetroRob says:

      To make that statement, you’re projecting not only the Yankees roster, but the entire field of competition.. Pineda can be great, Banuelos, too. They might be better in 2014 than they are now. It’s unknown.

  6. Vegetable Lasagna says:

    This is a mistake and goes against everything Hal’s father stood for. We haven’t won a title since 09. Do you think George would just stand by and say we need to cut payroll? George would be singing up the Fielders and the Darvishes to put the best team that money can buy in front of the best fans in the world. The fans deserve better than this. Hal is a penny pincher who doesn’t care one bit for the fans. George must be rolling in his grave.

    • Needed Pitching says:

      “George would be singing up the Fielders and the Darvishes to put the best team that money can buy in front of the best fans in the world”

      I take it you didn’t start following the Yankees until the late 90′s

    • gc says:

      George is dead. And he didn’t always run things well around here. Time to move on and be smarter about this stuff.

    • I Voted 4 Kodos says:

      George led the team through some of their darkest years because of his spending. They only became good again when he was banned and they focused more on player development than on outspending everyone. George’s method didn’t really work all that well.

      • toad says:


        You can have too much money to spend. When the budget is unlimited there is little discipline and you make mistakes by not thinking carefully about what you are doing. It’s not just baseball. The phenomenon is known in the business world in general. Companies with tons of cash make stupid acquisitions, etc., because they can.

      • Don W says:

        George’s irrational hatred of Dave Winfield led to his banning. George’s ban allowed Stick Michael to rebuild the farm system. The rebuilt farm system produced the Core Four.

        Thus, we have Dave Winfield to thank for the Yankees dynasty of the late 90′s!

    • Jesse says:

      I laughed.

    • CTRob says:

      Fantastic. Laughed when I read this, as we were intended.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      There was no such thing as luxury tax for the bulk of George’s time at the helm, so who knows what he would have done. Its not like, in 2001, when both moose and Manny were on the market, George signed both guys.

    • Eric says:

      Sarcasm detector is going off here

  7. Jimmy McNulty says:

    I recall Cashman committed to getting payroll down in the past. Shit happens. The Yankees have the money and they should spend it, I pay ticket prices and watch YES so that I can see a good team. Spend the money on the fucking on field product.

    • gc says:

      Cashman can’t spend money the owners don’t give him. And if “only” spending $189M and still having the highest payroll in baseball by a lot isn’t good enough for you, then your priorities are way out of whack.

    • Plank says:

      That kind of attitude is going to lead to Hal Steinbrenner’s great great great great great great great grandchildren having to actually get jobs to maintain the lifestyle to which they’ve become acustomed. Why do you hate America?

    • Havok9120 says:

      They DO. Saying otherwise is just silly, given how high the payroll is and STILL WILL BE after a move down to 189.

      There is a point of diminishing returns and we reached it about a decade ago. Its time to step back and reassess.

      • Plank says:

        I think you are underestimating how much money the Yankees bring in.

        • Havok9120 says:

          Oh no, I know quite well that their revenue from the team alone far exceeds the upkeep of the team. Throw in YES and you’re talking as much as a billion dollars in revenue. But we aren’t talking about base revenue, or even profits. We’re talking about the concrete benefits of spending this amount of money on a consistent basis. One title in a decade is not what we should be getting for a payroll consistently exceeding 200 million a year.

          If the players are right and the team is in need, such as in 2009, it makes perfect sense. Otherwise? Its just silly. There is such a thing as the principle of the situation, and when we’ve seen as few concrete results as we have for this payroll, then a reassessment makes sense. Sure, we could afford to spend 50% more than we do now. The League would lose it and sanction us, the Union would probably balk, and a new CBA would be written with a hard cap, but we could do it. But it the evidence doesn’t suggest it’d achieve something worth the damage it would cause.

  8. Robert says:

    If Granderson has a great year again i think it’s time to sell high on him.

    • Knoxvillain says:

      It depends on who the Yankees have roaming around in CF if they trade him. I like Grandy and I would hate to see him go, but that is baseball.

      He is due for a 4-5 year extension at 15 a year if he repeats his last season.

    • toad says:

      Yes. Because only the Yankees will know that he is sure to start to decline thereafter.

  9. All Praise Be To Mo says:

    Let Swisher & Martin walk after this year, extend Cano now to reduce the AAV of his inevitable huge deal and let Granderson walk after picking up his option for next year. We can sign/trade for a reasonably priced RF replacement. In 2 years, hopefully either Mason/Slade are ready for CF or we can still have GGBG for not too much $ and move him to center and get a cheaper LF. Hopefully ManBan comes up and is a solid 4th starter at least and another kid or Hughes can man the 5th spot or higher if Hughes finally lives up to the old expectations.

    • Cris Pengiucci says:

      Let Swisher & Martin walk after this year, extend Cano now to reduce the AAV of his inevitable huge deal and let Granderson walk after picking up his option for next year.

      Other than extending Cano now (they may address this after the season, but not before IMO), I’m beginning to agree with this approach. I was a bit surprised at the talk of a 3 year extension for Martin, but at $20M, that would have been a good deal. Not sure who they’d get to replace Swisher, but I think letting him and Martin walk is within the realm of possibility in otder to meet the $189M goal for 2014.

    • Havok9120 says:

      Martin I can see. But who are you putting in RF? Andruw? Unlike at C, we don’t have any good internal options and the FA market is…well, “not good” doesn’t cover it. Swish and Upton are by far the best on it, and the dropoff after them in production and even defense is substantial. And if we end up dumping the Grandyman too….that’s one punchless outfield.

  10. TrollHunter says:

    The only reason the Rays have been able to do what they have done is because they finished in last place the first 15 years of their team’s existence. I don’t think thats a model worth emulating.

    • All Praise Be To Mo says:

      We need to emulate the Rays extending young players early and locking up some FA years. Why not sign Nova/Pineda/Gardner/Robertson/Hughes(while his value is low) to long term deals at cheap money? Small market teams are doing this, why don’t the Yanks?
      Worst case they don’t work out, we can eat a little money and move them, best case we save a bunch.

      • Foghorn Leghorn says:

        One of the best things Theo did in beantown is lock up Lester, Pedroia, Youk and Bucholz.

        • Dan says:

          You could argue that when its all done they would break even on their success. They just signed Clay to an extension last spring, if he continues to have injury problems for the next 4 years they might have just thrown away about $28 million, Youk has had significant injury problems that has limited him the past two years when they might not have re-signed him had he been a free agent.

          • Foghorn Leghorn says:

            indeed…you just never know how these things will work out. guys get hurt.

            • Dan says:

              Right, that was part of my point. I wouldn’t rush to locking any of those players up long-term right now. Pineda and Nova I might give contracts after 2014 (their first year of arbitration) to lock them up through their prime. However, Gardner, Robertson, and Hughes I would let go through arbitration. Gardner isn’t going to cost much through arbitration, Hughes has been so unpredictable, and Robertson is a reliever and sustained success for relievers is pretty rare.

              • All Praise Be To Mo says:

                Yes, but by doing it now would reduce the AAV on the contract in the attempt to get under the 189mm cap. It would be riskier on the Yankees end, but could pay off even more. If you know they’re gonna be on the team in 2 years, which everyone besides Hughes I can almost guarantee why not? With K-Rob, he’s killing it, why not sign him long term now as a middle reliever before Mo retires and we move him into a possible closers role and because of a stupid “save” stat he’d cost 3-4 times as much as he would now as a middle reliever.

              • Havok9120 says:

                I can see both sides. Just because we shrink our payroll and spend smarter doesn’t mean our money won’t still show. For instance, while it IS a risk, its a much smaller risk for us than it would be for anyone else, including Boston.

                On the other hand, in the particulars I agree with you. I’d extend Nova and Pineda if he has a positive season (not based off performance per se) and leave the rest be. Gardner’s arb years will be very cheap, Hughes is an enormous ? and DRob is a reliever. Though, honestly, I would sound DRob out. I love the guy, and its not like he has some super-violent motion or relies and pure stuff/velocity to do his job. He seems the safest reliever bet we have in the bullpen, and if his demands were in any way reasonable I’d lock him up.

    • gc says:

      You missed the part where it said, “like the Rays, BUT WITH MONEY.” Unlike the Rays, the Yanks didn’t need to finish last place 15 years in a row to build themselves a top notch farm system. I think it’s perfectly laid out in the article what they’re really trying to emulate.

      • TrollHunter says:

        No but the Yankees did build a top notch farm system by paying over slot in the draft and signing foreign players for more than other teams. The new CBA will put a stop to that.

        • The Guns of Navarone says:

          + 1

          It seems to me that the new CBA seems more condusive to signing free agents rather than building through the draft. The Yankees advantages in the draft and Latin America are all but eliminated IMO.

          • RetroRob says:

            I guess, and that is a concern of mine (and I’m sure others here!), but identifying the right talent and signing those players is still a skill, and the Yankees still use their financial advantage here.

            Bottom line is none of us really know what’s going to happen here, but the Yankees money still should be able to create an advantage over other teams.

      • Peter R says:

        Well they do now, with slotting and IFA limitations….money wont really help with building a farm system besides hiring and million scouts to find all the diamond in the rough.

        • TrollHunter says:

          Well said! I think the future Yankee teams will find it very difficult to consistently stay on top of the standings considering the new limitations in the draft, IFA, and the luxuray tax. The new CBA really punishes teams for winning.

    • Foghorn Leghorn says:

      agree….why does everyone seem so surprised at the dearth of pitching and young talent on the Rays…like it just happened overnight?

      The Rays do have smarter people running that team but don’t forget that they sucked mightly for 10 years, allowing them to draft high. And, once its time to pay a guy they’ll trade him for other team’s top prospects.

      That formula is working for them, but they also have serious limitations. Any youngster they bring up will most certainly bolt as soon as they are able. They also can not field a deep team so if key guys get injured they have to bring up a not ready for prime time player or put a past his prime player on the field.

      • YanksFanInBeantown says:

        Matt Moore was an 8th rounder, Jennings is a 10th rounder.

        Obviously they’re exceptions, but not all of their success is due to draft position. A lot of it is due to smart drafting and great player development.

        • Steve (different one) says:

          Sure, but Price was the first overall pick. Longoria was 6th overall (going from memory). Uptown was first overall. Take away those guys and the Rays are pretty mediocre.

          Not saying the Rays aren’t great at player development, they clearly are. But there is also truth in saying they are where they are because they sucked for so long. now, if drafting with high picks were simple, the pirates would be the rays. But I have to think drafting with the first overall pick is a huge factor, look at the Nats.

          • Bo Knows says:

            Very Mediocre except for

            Wade Davis

            and then their were the early trades for unheralded prospects and FA signings like

            Ben Zobrist
            Carlos Pena
            Edwin Jackson
            Matt Joyce
            Carlos Pena

            this is just a small list btw

      • j says:

        i don’t think its fair to just say that the Rays sucked for 10 years to get all those cheep young stars. They got really good at drafting the later of those 10 years. If they were good at drafing years 1-4 they wouldn’t have been comming in last place years 7-10

        • Foghorn Leghorn says:

          well, sucking so bad for years 1-6 made them realise that if they did a better job in the latter years it would result in a better team. they learned from sucking mightly for so long.

      • Joey from jersey says:

        Umm, dearth means a shortage or inadequate supply. Are you saying the rays lack young talent?

  11. Dan says:

    I think this is the right move. Especially with the addition of the extra wild card team, the Yankees don’t need to overspend to make the playoffs and with the dominant young pitching they are developing once they get into the playoffs they can use that depth to their advantage. I could see them letting both Swisher and Granderson walk if it means getting under the tax. If they have a Rays-esque type dominant pitching staff they might see less of a need to have dominant hitters at every position. I think if anything, they will give Cano a big contract and cut salary at other offensive positions (RF, CF, C).

    • Needed Pitching says:

      the new playoff format makes it much more important to be better and win the division, or else the season comes down to a one game playoff
      the new playoff format is an incentive to get better, not just skate by enough to just make the playoffs

      • Dan says:

        Normally I would agree, but when you can throw out two aces like Pineda and CC it allows you to use one for the one game playoff and use the other for game 1 of the ALDS. I am not saying they should just dump those players now, I would try to offer them the qualifying offers and if they won’t take it then try to find cheaper alternatives. I don’t think they are going to have a huge dropoff offensively between Martin and Romine by the time he might be ready. The outfield will be harder to manage just because they don’t have anyone in the minors, but they could fill spots cheaply like what the Red Sox are doing in RF this year.

  12. David Ortiz's Dealer says:

    I think the concept of the luxury tax stinks. Teams like Pittsburgh get it a kick down every year and the best they can do is assume part of AJ’s contract …come on.

    • Havok9120 says:

      You’re reffering to Revenue Sharing, not the Tax. The Luxury Tax money goes into the MLB’s Secret Fund for World Domination.

  13. kiwi says:

    please stop calling it an “austerity” plan! :(

  14. JohnC says:

    Cano is the one guy they cannot let go. They have to pay him. Should see what it takes to keep Granderson too if he is still at a high level in 2 years. Mariano will be gone, Jeter will be in the last year of his deal, Arod’s salary will be reduced by about 7 million, and Swisher will probably be gone so there will be some wiggle room

    • Needed Pitching says:

      Arod’s salary being reduced doesn’t help them get under 189M for the luxury tax. Luxury tax is based on AAV.

  15. JohnC says:

    Damon Oppenheimer’s job will now take on even greater significance as he and his scouts must continue to scout and draft good players to keep the farm stocked

  16. Vegetable Lasagna says:

    And if Hal is so concerned about the luxury tax why doesn’t he just blame his brother for extending A-Rod’s contract for 10 years? Or signing Soriano to a giant contract. They don’t listen to Cashman. Mo will come off the books next year and Soriano in 2 years. Drob will be the closer of the future. Keep Gardner because he’s cheap. Dump Swisher who can’t hit in the playoffs anyway.

  17. whocarestom says:

    > Rays with money
    My god.

  18. forensic says:

    If you really didn’t want a ‘collective freakout’, then you wouldn’t absurdly use the word ‘austerity’ in every post about it. When every other team can be under the number, then it’s not austerity for one team to try to actually manage things better and get under it. If they can’t get under it and still field a winning team at that amount then there are bigger probems with the organization’s struture and planning.

    • viridiana says:

      “If they can’t get under it and still field a winning team at that amount then there are bigger probems with the organization’s struture and planning.”

      Not at all the case. The Yankees must overcomethe disadvantages of low draft position every year. Baseball under Bud Selig has been organized to neutralize every real and imagined advantage of winning and prosperous teams — well, of the Yankees, in any case. So the Yankees must spend to overcome the disadvantages built into the sturucture of the game. That siad, with the the current strength of the farm system, they can probably get under 189 and still field good te

      • viridiana says:

        That said, with the current strength of the farm they can probably still meet the 189 “austerity” goal and field good teams for 5-10 years. After that, maybe they’ll have to emulate the Rays by finishing last for a decade. Or maybe, just maybe, by then the despicable Selig will be gone.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Your best prospects don’t always come from the first round. Being lean and mean and picking the right players in those early-to-mid rounds is going to be as important as it is now.

          The team has already shown that it will go against the grain to get the player they want, even in the first round. If them having the last laugh with a Bichette Jr. continues to work, then have at it.

          We can’t possibly predict the shape of the team, or sport, ten years from now.

          • viridiana says:

            The Bichette pick looks like a good contrarian move right now. But some of best recent picks have been above-slot guys Yanks could not sign under new CBA. Examples: D-Rob, Betances, Austin Jackson, Melancon. Before the last few years, Yanks drafted low and (with some exceptions) poorly. Hopefully, they can figure out how to thrive under new CBA.

          • Havok9120 says:

            The draft only counts for so much though. Changes to IFA (and the prospect of a Selig-constructed International draft) worry me far more than any changes to the draft. I agree with you that we can survive these draft changes by using our Mad Skilz ™.

      • forensic says:

        Oh, those poor Yankees. They should be able to win every year AND just be handed the top pick too. Maybe they should also be given all the best developmental teachers in the league too to make sure they don’t fail to develop any of them.

        Even Mike has said that the majority of the good young players TB has produced haven’t been top picks and have gone through rounds where the Yanks should have picked them too.

        I know it’s blasphemy to say anything bad about some areas of the organization, but maybe they just don’t pick the right players and or just can’t develop good players (especially position players) consistently. Or, maybe the absurd way some of their spoiled fans act doesn’t quite allow them the leeway of trying to get their young players consistent playing time on the big league level lest they unforgivingly struggle for a time.

        • Havok9120 says:

          Easy there boy. No one’s after the top pick, we’d love to have the last pick every year forever. Not capping our spending in the draft would be nice (for all of us) though.

    • Mike HC says:

      (I’m saying this tongue in cheek), but agreed, if I never see the word “austerity” written again, it will still be too many times. Just something about the word, ha.

  19. mike says:

    I think this is a bit of a pipe-dream, to be honest, and demonstrates the ineptitude by the Yanks front office, especially Cashman, concerning the identification and handling of draft-eligible or minor leaqgue/international FA players.

    IMO the Yanks will need to spend serious $ to replenish offensive players over the next 2-3 years, where the continued declining production of Tex/Arod/Jeter will be felt. There is no bat anywhere in the system equal to any of those three players (sanchez is too far down to consider IMO), so it will be a net loss of offense at those key positions with no financial relief to help replace them.

    Additionally, the Cano/Swish/Grandy trio in a few years will cost just as much today…except the yanks can only afford two of the three for the same gross $.

    The Yankees will be unable to be the “Rays +$” unless Cashman can develop a minor league system which can produce players who play 9 innings in the field and contribute plus-offense as well.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Aren’t they doing just that? Isn’t the team loaded with intriguing position prospects in the lower levels? Demanding that they suddenly have found those players several years ago, so that they’d be in AAA now, is a bit silly. We can only move forward, not demand different things of the somewhat-immediate-but-still-past.

  20. JT says:

    The way cot calculates payroll is completely wrong. Either you count signing bonuses in the years they are actually payed on top of the real salary that year or you average out the entire contract including signing bonus and opt outs.

    The current payroll on a real basis is about 216M including benefits and 201M AAV . Remove Soriano and your at 189M including benefits. This isn’t that difficult.

    • Needed Pitching says:

      its about 200M AAV without benefits, removing Soriano just gets them to 189 before adding benefits and 40 man roster, which adds about 15M total

      • JT says:

        3.2 Hughes
        4 Garcia
        24.4 Sabathia
        10 Kuroda
        1.7 Joba
        1.6 Robertson
        1.9 Logan
        .5 Wade
        .5 aardsma
        11.7 soriano
        4 feliciano
        15 rivera
        2.8 gardner
        8.8 cano
        7.5 martin
        6 granderson
        6 swisher
        22.5 teix
        28 rodrigues
        16 jeter
        1 ibanez
        .9 chavez
        10 burnett
        2 nunez, cevelli, nova, pineda
        12 benefits


        Most people calculate AAV when options are picked up completely wrong.

        • Needed Pitching says:

          AJ 11.5 (Pirates only picking up 5M this year)
          Swisher 9.25M (10.25m option – 1M buyout)
          Cano 12M (14M option – 2M buyout)

          Those 3 add about 8M to your total, plus about 1-2M for the rest of the 40 – man roster, and benefits I’ve seen reported as closer to 15M, plus any bonuses earned this year will add to the total

          • JT says:

            The way MLB does the math…

            With the option picked up Cano has a 5 year contract @ 44M not a 1 year deal @ 14M.

            Swisher has a 6 year 36M deal with the option picked up not a 1 year 10.25M contract

            It doesn’t matter what the pirates are picking up this year. This is AAV. They are picking up 13M total.

            • Needed Pitching says:

              wrong, wrong, and wrong

              from the CBA (last one, because I don’t believe the full new one has been released yet)

              “(c) Club Option
              (i) General Rule. If a Uniform Player’s Contract covers one or
              more seasons that are Club Option Years, the Player’s Salary for
              the championship seasons that are Club Option Years, if exercised,
              shall be the total of the Base Salary and any bonuses
              by operation of Section E(4) above.”

            • Needed Pitching says:


              “An assignor Club that pays
              cash consideration to defray all or part of the salary obligation of
              the assignee Club for an assigned Player shall include such cash
              consideration in its Actual Club Payroll in the Contract Year in
              which the cash consideration is paid”

  21. Peter R says:

    Cue Kermit running around with his arms raised yelling “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH””

    But seriously, gonna be hard to see them let fan fav’s go but it makes sense.

    Seems like it will be more a permanent thing then we might have imagined though. I think the RAB simulations had them bouncing back up after hitting the $189 so as to gain the lower luxury tax %. To me, reading this, it seems Hal might want to stay under the luxury tax for good.

  22. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Not getting into specifics of who can be paid, who should, etc. I’m not concerned at this very moment.

    All I’m thinking about is becoming “The Rays with money,” and that would just be awesome.

    I think we’ll re-examine this again and again as time grows closer, but it means making sure this franchise is at the top of its development game. Should make for fun times if team construction is your thing and your assumption isn’t that the team will always fill its part-time DH slot with, say, Prince Fielder.

    Not discouraged in the least.

  23. tbord says:

    It’s time the bottom feeders paid their own admission price. Otherwise, it’s all been said before. Trade Phil Hughes at the All-Star break for a good cost controlled shortstop to replace Jeter. Then bring up Banuelos. You’ll be headed in the right direction Hal.

    • j says:

      unless Hughes pitches like CY Young reincarnate, he’s not going to get you back anything better than Nunez. At that point you’d just keep Hughes.

  24. Rahsaan says:

    To say that the Yankees CAN’T win with a 189 million dollar payroll has got to be the dumbest, most arrogant statement I’ve heard in a long time. Some Yankee fans need a dose of reality. They are more than capable of reaching that number and putting a quality team on the field. Its refreshing to see them trying to show a bit of restraint while injecting much needed youth going forward.

    • bkight13 says:

      I agree, but we have to deal with the players we have under contract NOW. ARod, Jeter and Tex count for $66M and will still be here in 2014. It can be done, but those bad contracts do hurt. We’ll have to go young for the BP, C and the bench.

  25. Greg says:

    The real challenge won’t be pitchers – we got plenty of young (cheap) versions of those. The real challenge will be replacing Jeter, and figuring out what to do with Grandy and Swisher. Not clear that any of our young guys (Flores, Williams, Santana, etc.) will be ready by then, and if not, it really blows a hole in the budget.

  26. Mike HC says:

    Is there the tiniest bit of a chance that the Yanks are trying to lay real low on any interest they might have in Hamels? Making the Phillies think they aren’t a big threat to woo him, keeping the pressure off getting an extension done.

    Probably not I guess, but you never know.

    • Havok9120 says:

      That MIGHT be something Cash would do. Hal? Methinks no.

    • FIn says:

      There are plenty of other teams that will be bidding huge money for Hamels. Even without a plan to get under the cap, the Yankees would be far from certain to land Hamels. A team like the Jays could blow everyone out of the water. There are plenty of teams for the Philies to worry about who would love to sign Hamels.

  27. thenamestsam says:

    I’m all for trying to get below for one year to grab all those savings than can be reinvested in the team. If this represents a long-term plan to cut payroll, the team is really going to have to change the way it has operated in the past if they want to remain successful.

    The Yankees have always had the luxury of paying for things other than production while still remaining competitive. We could afford to pay Derek Jeter twice what any other team would because he’s a Yankee legend. We could afford to give ARod an outrageous contract because his pursuit of the home run record is good for the brand. But if you want to cut payroll and be a 90+ win team every year, you don’t have that kind of luxury.

    I’m not crying poor, because we will obviously be the one of, if not the, highest payroll teams, but no other team expects to win every single year (to the point where division series losses have been treated as grounds for being fired) and no other team is run with as much sentimentality as the Yankees. I truly believe that you can’t have all three. If you want to be a sentimental organization that also wins every year, the payroll basically needs to be where it is now.

    If the payroll comes down, one of the other two areas will suffer. Do the Yankees as an organization have the willingness to let a homegrown talent like Cano walk away if his price exceeds his expected production? Do they have the willingness to tell Mariano that even if he wants to play in 2014 he has to take a dramatic paycut or go find another team? I suspect not, and thus the winning is what I’m guessing will suffer.

  28. MattG says:

    Being that the have the money (as opposed to the Rays), the Yankees will always be at risk of having the player one year too long…or five years too long. Some portion (10%? 50%?) of their payroll will always be dedicated to that, as the Yankees simply could not get away with letting Carlos Pena, Carl Crawford, or Rafael Soriano walk away in their primes.

  29. Fin says:

    What worries me is this doesnt sound like some one year plan to get under the cap and then spend like crazy. It sounds like a long term plan to stay under the cap. I cant blame Hal for wanting to pocket as much money as he can. I just hope it doesnt come at the cost of winning.
    I cant see the farm system going forward as the main way the Yankees can compete. The new CBA seems to make free agent spending the only way for a winning team to compete. It seems to me that it keeps big market teams in the position to have to continually spend big money on older FA. You win you get low picks every year, you sign the best FA you loose picks, meaning you have to sign more FA.
    I also dont think Hal or Hank have anywhere near the passion for the Yankees that George did. Fortunately, the only way the Yankees continue making money is to continue winning, at what level of winning do the Yankees keep making money? Is being in the wild card hunt every year, going to keep bringing fans out in droves and YES ratings up?
    I think its very possible the Stienbrenners get under this $189, pocket a bunch of cash and sell the Yankees/YES and walk away with 5 Billion. It certainly has to be a very tempting idea. Its very possible the new CBA makes it impossible for the Yankees to win every year going forward, or if they do at a very reduced profit. Which makes it very possible the Yankees are now at a peak value.

  30. Januz says:

    If people look at the NY Giants in 2011-2012, you will see a team that lost valuable pieces such as Steve Smith & Kevin Boss to free agency, because they were up against the salary cap. However, they still managed to win (One major reason being Eli Manning). However, an under appreciated reason is Jerry Reese as GM, who knows what he is doing with contracts and player acquisitions. The Yankees have Brian Cashman who is able to do the same thing. It really means prioritizing certain players over others, and drafting well. If people look at most of Cashman’s trades they have certainly worked out, and if you look at the guys they have been drafting over the past two years (Mason Williams, Ben Gamel, Taylor Morton, Tyler Austin, Dan Burawa, Dante Bichette Jr, Greg Bird & Dan Camarena come to mind)look pretty good as well (This is despite drafting low, and not spending what the Red Sox spent). I have no doubt they will be successful going forward, particularly as bad contracts such as Soriano’s come off the books, to be replaced with a more cost effective replacement like Dan Burawa, and that savings of $$$$ can be used to fill a different hole.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      Reese was able to have a winning season due to letting his young players get a chance to prove themselves. The biggest contributors were from recent drafts. The Yankees are the complete opposite. The comparison won’t work.

      • fin says:

        There is also no comparing how the NFL works right now to baseball. Via rule changes and salary cap, defense is almsot non exsistent in football. THis makes the QB far and away the most impactful single player in all of professional sports. There is nothing equivenlent in baseball. While a pitcher could be compared, the fact that in a single game 2-6 pitchers are used and those 2-6 pitchers change game to game, doesnt really make the comparrison of much use. CC Sabathia has no where near the effect on the Yankees that Eli does on the Giants.
        The genious front office guys, all seem to have 1 thing in common, a great QB. After you have a great QB, you sourround him with at least decent talent and hope for the best. There doesnt seem to be a single common denominator in baseball like there currently is in football.

        • JobaWockeeZ says:

          Uhm no defense is a freaking huge part of football. 4 defensive lineman was all the Giants need to beat the best offense in NFL history in 2007.

          A great QB is a need but when was the last time a great QB won it without talent on the defense?

          • FIn says:

            THe Giants while having 4 great devinsive linemen, were far from having a great defense. IT passes as a good defense in modern football. Those 4 players are some of the players they choose to supplement Eli’s talent with.

  31. tbord says:

    Note to GM: Learn to sell high, and avoid contractual mega-sloths.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Selling high is one of those things that doesn’t really exist.

      • Eric says:

        Or rather, it exists in retrospect, but can’t be known at the time.

      • tbord says:

        I say it’s an art – There is a great opportunity this year, to take advantage of all the pieces falling into place, and an abundance of starting pitching. If the rotation remains stable, and Hughes has a solid first half – Sell high for a piece that helps down the road – Like an A+/AA shortstop with a lot of upside. Sell high on Hughes would be just that, regardless of his future.

        • Plank says:

          Selling high on Hughes would have been 2 years ago (or 4 years ago (or 5 years ago.))

          No one wanted to trade him those times though, since he was both good and had a lot of age based improvement projected and actual good performance under his belt at those times.

          If he has a good year, his value will be higher than it is now (very low in my view) but it certainly wouldn’t be selling high. He will be one year away from FA with a spotty record at best.

  32. Vic says:

    Where was all this fiscal responsibility when Hal was throwing money at ARod and Soriano like an idiot?
    Besides which, if the Dodgers are worth 2 billion then the Yankees are worth, what, 4 billion? So who cares about a lousy 20 million? Hal has that in the ashtray of his car.
    Well, at least Hank’s been quiet. That’s a blessing, anyway.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Different rules, plus $200 million does not get you the ability to predict the future.

      • Vic says:

        You don’t change a business philosophy based on a rule change that effects less than half a per cent of your business. Hal’s latter-day thrift rings false.

  33. A.D. says:

    This just makes sense, and by putting a budget on the team frankly makes his execs work harder to likely put a better product on the field by shying away from overpaid FA towards the end of their careers and instead focusing on getting the best young talent

  34. Reggie C. says:

    Will be very interesting to see how the team manages to get below the $189 MM mark, yet, retain both Cano and Granderson.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      Letting Swisher walk is a start.

      • Reggie C. says:

        That’s a start for sure. Swisher is expendable at the end of the day when we’re prioritizing Granderson and Cano. With the arbitration raises due Hughes and Pineda by that time, and hopefully large raises due to performance, I can live with Swisher’s absence.

      • Havok9120 says:

        NOT retaining Granderson would be a start as well. And a much better one in terms of money.

    • Bubba says:

      They won’t. Unless one or both of them take a rather sizable hometown discount, 189 with Cano and Granderson isn’t in the realm of possibility.

  35. DM says:

    I like it.

  36. Ethan says:

    I sure hope cutting the payroll will lead to slightly cheaper tickets rather than the steinbrenners pocketing the money.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Ticket prices are based on payroll. I hate to break it to you, but if they get below the luxury tax and keep winning, prices are only going up.

      • FIn says:

        Man, if the Yankees ever started loosing, that stadium would be an absolute ghost town at the prices people are paying. With the old loosing Yankee teams, the stadium was empty because people didnt want to make the trip to the Bronx, to see a looser. IT would be worse now, that condition would still exist plus the cost deterrent.

        • Havok9120 says:

          I think consistent losing on that level is the only thing that could lower the prices at the stadium.

          Which is why I think if it even starts to happen, we’ll see a spending spree to make The Boss proud.

    • Havok9120 says:

      Ticket prices are based on supply and demand. NOT team expenses.

      At least, thats the way we better hope it stays. Otherwise the team is going bankrupt and we’re pretty much screwed.

  37. Eric says:

    Another nice thing about getting payroll down for 2014 is that it would leave the Yankees some room to go after one of Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, and Clayton Kershaw, who would all be eligible for free agency after that season. I don’t expect all 3 to hit the market, but I imagine at least one of them could. A guy can dream right?

    Felix (or Kershaw or Verlander)

    • GardnergoesYardner says:

      I honestly hope that Felix stops giving everyone BS about wanting to stay with the Mariners. The only reason that he signed that deal is because after 2009 the team looked promising. There is no way he is still happy with that situation. Jack Z needs to give players like Felix some respect and trade them when the team is struggling. Hopefully the Yankees get at least a chance to sign him if he becomes a free agent.

      Imagine if he didn’t sign the extension and hit the free agent market after last year? All austerity budget talk would fly right out the window.

  38. Manny's BanWagon says:

    Problem with trying to be the like the Rays with money is the new CBA screwed the Yankees.

    They no longer have an advantage by paying over slot in the draft or whatever they want internationally so unless they’re content to fall back to the pack, they’re either gonna have to be smarter and better than everyone else in drafting/player development (very unlikely) or outspend everyone else which likely means going over the luxury tax.

    • Bo Knows says:

      the IFA money does suck, but there have been numerous top prospects that have signed for a few hundred thousand. Your namesake, Manny Banuelos was part of a 4 player deal with a Mexican league team that cost a little less than half a million. Pineda was a cheap signing, Jose Campos too, so was Nova, Martin Perez of the Rangers, and numerous other young players. It does suck that there won’t be the big time signing like a Jesus or Gary Sanchez, but there are tons of gems that haven’t been found yet can become something special.

  39. GardnergoesYardner says:

    Why can’t baseball have a damn amnesty clause? We’d send A-Rod packing and cut nearly 30 million per year off the payroll! $189 million? We’d get under 150! We’d be the Marlins of the big market teams! Bud would have to force us to spend more, just so we’d fit his narrative of the big market money spending team!

    (sigh) We can only dream…

    • Havok9120 says:

      That is one (of maybe 2 or 3) thing in the new CBA that screams to me “we’re out to get the winners.” The big signings made earlier than, say, 2008 or 9 really should have been grandfathered in. No one could have accurately predicted the new CBA even 3 or 5 years ago. I’m not a believer that the league hates the Yankees and similar teams, but this is clearly an area where they said “screw you, be mediocre” to a few of us.

      • FIn says:

        Well it pretty much only affected one team. The Yankees have payed virtually all of the tax
        money as every other team in baseball is under the tax or goes barely over for a year before getting back under. I think its fairly obvious baseball isnt going to go out of its way to help the Yankees, especially when it comes to helping them avoid the tax.
        I wonder what it does to MLB if the Yankees do get under the tax and stay there? I cant imagine thats what they had in mind. I think they had in mind that the Yankees would pay more money.

        • GardnergoesYardner says:

          The fact that MLB has “something in mind” for the Yankees shows how much the big market teams get screwed. I’d like to get under the tax, just to see Selig’s reaction when there isn’t enough money to give to his precious Brewers.

          Sorry, I feel like hatin’ on the system today.

          • Needed Pitching says:

            luxury tax money doesn’t go to individual teams
            It goes to player benefits and to the Industry Growth Fund (though I suppose the Brewers may need to pay more for benefits if the Yankees weren’t paying luxury tax)

            • Havok9120 says:

              I prefer to call it the World Domination Fund. I’ve never seen the numbers, but I like to pretend that a lot of that money gets socked away, especially given the amount of money that the teams themselves spend on industry growth in their local areas and overseas.

              Objectively, I’d say the vast majority probably gets spent. But that isn’t as fun a story as the World Domination Fund.

  40. your mom says:

    Well, I guess that decreases the chances of seeing Cole Hamels in pinstripes, or BJ Upton.

  41. warren says:

    i think were also forgetting that the value of things like benefits gets calculated into the 189. They would theoretically need to be closer or below 179 to actually be below 189 for the cap.

    I feel like the goal of 189 should honestly be for 2015 not 14. Obviously prediction things so far out is a little crazy, but not having to pay Jeter 17 million makes it far easier to get under budget

  42. FIn says:

    Yep, I figure if the new CBA was in place last year, Jeter would be playing for another team. No way would he have accepted market value from the Yankees, which they would now be forced to offer. The money Jeter makes for the Yankees may have warranted his contract last year, but I have to think the money the yankees save getting under the cap over rides that.

  43. Juke Early says:

    An admirable & desirable, albeit self-rewarding, goal Hal. The results will be dramatically less so, if you don’t get some “baseball people,” who get some decent young players.

    I won’t live long enough for Selig & cronies to die(too), but the NYY need an owner like Mark Cuban or they are fated to join the status quo.

    • Bo Knows says:

      Pretty sure they have some good baseball people, who have done a good job so far identifying talent.

      And the Yankees had someone far better than that clown Cuban, his name was George Steinbrenner.

  44. George says:

    It should be do-able. with 39K from Soriano/Burnett/Mariano, then you add in the savings from not having Kuroda, and Garcia (replace them with Banuelos and Betances) and hopefully Robertson can be a closer. Then we need to resign Cano, then Granderson, then Swisher if the money is available. Like Swish, but I think he would be the most expendable of the 3. I’d just love to hear the crying around the league when owners don’t get to pocket the luxury tax Yankee’s money.

  45. Randi says:

    $189M is considered austerity?????????

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