2013 Payroll Breakdown: Part Two


This is probably something I should have pieced together last week, prior to the Winter Meetings, but better late than never I suppose. Here’s a breakdown of the Yankees’ current payroll situation for 2013…

That adds up to $182.55M for only 15 40-man rosters spots, and that’s real dollars being spent. It’s not average annual value for luxury tax purposes. The 15 players who are on the 40-man roster but not on the 25-man active roster will earn the league minimum ($480k-ish), so let’s just estimate them at $7.5M total ($500k each). That brings us up to $190.05M with ten roster spots to fill.

The Yankees have started each of the last five seasons with an Opening Day payroll between $200-214M (again, real dollars), and I assume they’re willing to spend that much again this year. We know they’re trying to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold for 2014, but they’re theoretically in the clear for 2013. Opening next season with a similar payroll means they have anywhere from $10-24M to spend during the remainder of the offseason, and their holes include a right fielder, a catcher, a good utility infielder, and bench pieces. League minimum guys like Chris Stewart, Eduardo Nunez, David Phelps, Ivan Nova, and Clay Rapada mean it’s really $7.5-21.5M for five roster spots.

Barring an unexpected trade, it’s tough to see the Yankees spending much money on a backstop given the available options and their reported disinterest in A.J. Pierzynski. Even a (very unlikely) trade for Carlos Santana wouldn’t put a big dent in the budget because he’s due just $550k next season as part of his long-term contract. A right fielder could range anywhere from dirt cheap (Nate Schierholtz at $2M?) to pretty pricey (Justin Upton at $9.75M?). Jeff Keppinger could wind up with $4-6M annually while Asdrubal Cabrera is owed $6.5M. I guess that’s the going rate for a replacement third baseman/high-end utility infielder.

As frustrating as it is to watch the Yankees sit on the sidelines so far this week, I do think there’s some good to come from it. Some of the recently-signed free agent contracts have struck me as big overpays, talking specifically talking about guys like Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro, and Shane Victorino. All nice players in their own way, but they got more money and one more year than I expected. Avoiding an overpay like that is a good thing for New York for obvious reasons, 2014 payroll plan or not. Either way, hopefully they’re planning to spend on the high end of that $7.5-21.5M range over so they can make one more serious run before scaling back payroll.

Categories : Analysis


  1. Jerkface says:

    Hey Mike, point about the guys not on the 25 man. If they are not on the 25 man, but on the 40 man, they will earn roughly 60-80k while they are in the minors. They only get the league minimum when they are active, so I’m not sure if you should count all 15 guys at that level, but rather an estimate of their playing time pro-rated against the value.

    Looking at both the numbers you’re putting out and the numbers I’ve come up with for the 189 business, they are in a real pickle. With 10-20 mil to spend, can they even afford Jeff Keppinger? Yes they can afford it, but they apparently do not want to. Crazy times!

    Thanks for all the work on the budget/roster stuff.

  2. Athenian says:

    Mike, should have put “Some of the recently-signed free agent contracts have struck me as big overpays, talking specifically talking about guys like Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro, and Shane Victorino. All nice players in their own way, but they got more money and one more year than I expected. IN BIG FAT BOLD LETTERS.

    As much as it sucks not seeing the Yankees in on players, is it really worth being stuck with more dead weigh contracts? How many more times do Yankee fans need to be burned to realize the playing with matches is dangerous?

    • Jerkface says:

      Can the Yankees spend money without spending it on shane victorino? If not, why?

      • Athenian says:

        Yes. And agree with your premise, Shane Victorino would have been a waste. But you can’t act the question that implies getting better talent than what is available assuming it is there on the FA market or via trade.

        Yanks don’t have money to spend due to budget restrictions. Yanks don’t have much in the way of trades due to demands of ready talent.

  3. Yankee Dandy says:

    If the Giants didn’t win 2 of the last 3 World Series, your comment might make more sense….

  4. Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle AKA True Yankee(TM) says:

    So by my math next season the Yankees will have 71.7 Million dollars coming off the books with the contracts of Cano, Granderson, Hughes, Kuroda, Pettitte, Rivera, Burnett, and Aardsma coming off the books. You figure they’re at ~210 this year, so to get to 189, you have to knock 21 mill off of that leaving them 50.7 million dollars to fill 2 rotations spots, the closers role, 2OF’ers, 2nd base, possibly catcher as well as filling out a bench and all the players who are free agents on the 40 man who I can’t think of. Next season is going to be really interesting.

  5. Neil says:

    Trading Granderson frees up 15 million for next season. And then the prospects that they get back can help make next off season easier to manage.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      It frees up $15M while simultaneously creating another, rather large, hole to fill. Not against it outright, but they’d be down about 90 HRs after Martin and Swisher. That’s pretty tough.

      Do I think it might happen? Yeah, it might, but it’s a really tough decision.

      • MannyGeee (189M or bust, bitches!) says:

        don’t worry, Josh Hamilton can hit 90 HRs a year with “Teh Short Porch!!!11!” in RF. problem solved

        • Neil says:

          Sure 90 HRs between Granderson, Swisher, and Martin.

          Replace them even with the worst case scenario of Cervelli, Ichiro, and Schierholtz should give 20-30 of those back.

          I think we hit enough HRs last year to still be above average in the offense department even if this is the case.

          Also, how many HRs did Granderson, Swisher, Martin hit in the playoffs?

          • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

            Need to make the playoffs before you worry about that.
            It’s not just about the Home Runs, it’s the overall level of offense they’d be losing. The Cervelli, Ichiro, Schierholtz combo is likely to make outs at a higher overall rate than Swisher, Granderson, and Martin as well.
            More outs + less power is a bad combination.
            As of now, if they did trade Granderson, they’ll likely get less offensive production out of every position except maybe 2B, 1B, and LF. They can make up some of that with acquisitions, but that’s an awful lot of production to make up.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              Agreed. Would be very difficult to trade Granderson without getting back an MLB ready prospect and/or having an off-setting move. I think most people in favor of a trade are also hoping they acquire Hamilton, Stanton, or Upton to off-set it.

  6. MannyGeee (189M or bust, bitches!) says:

    Obligatory “George is rolling in his grave” comment in 3…..2…..

  7. Ted Nelson says:

    I would argue that your expectations were off more than the contracts that those guys got. Two are high quality CFs. Both top 10 CFs the past 4 seasons. Victorino has averaged 4.15 fWAR the last four seasons. There’s risk of decline with age, but one bad season doesn’t make a trend or spell the end of his career. He’s been the 5th best CF in baseball the past 4 four seasons by fWAR, even with the stinker in 2012. Pagan has averaged 3.5 fWAR the past four seasons, putting up two 5 fWAR seasons in that time. 10th best CF in the past 4 seasons by fWAR.;players=0
    Their contracts don’t strike me as particularly out of line with previous contracts. They’re 31 and 32 next season. Johnny Damon was 32 when he came to NY, couldn’t play CF anymore, had put up FEWER fWAR the past four season than either… and he got $13 mill per for FOUR season… that was the 2005-6 offseason!!! What are your expectations here? That contracts would deflate significantly from 2005 to now?

    Scutaro plays middle infield and can hit respectably. I wouldn’t be thrilled to sign him, but I’m not surprised. He’s been about in-line with Yunel Escobar the last 4 seasons, and Escobar, while younger, took a deal that wasn’t too much lower without hitting the market.

    • MannyGeee (189M or bust, bitches!) says:

      Johnny Damon was a markedly better hitter than Victorino. And even then, save for some well timed heads up plays in 2009, those last 2 seasons were a little tough to watch.

      Also, if youre making a case for Victorino, I would have used Damon as a cautionary tale instead of a comparison.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        And a markedly worse fielder, at a markedly less difficult defensive position. CF is a premium position.

        I’m making a case that these contracts are pretty much market value, in line with what we’ve seen for years. That was my entire point. Damon was an example of a comparable contract, for a player who had performed worse the previous 4 seasons that was signed 7 years ago.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          And offensively you’re comparing the steroid era to now. Victorino has a .340 wOBA the past four seasons. I don’t know the translation, but might be better than Damon’s .350 the 4 years leading to his signing.

      • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (formerly Manny's BanWagon) says:

        Yeah, that Victorino signing seems to be a pretty bad deal. He’s a speed player who’s now 32 and can’t hit righies worth a crap who’s skills likely will deteriorate over the next few years.

        Keith low called the deal “doomed to fail” and thinks he should be platooned.

  8. King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

    How much longer are we paying AJ?

  9. Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle AKA True Yankee(TM) says:

    Looks like my two fantasy trade with teams are dealing the pieces I want from either of them to each other or a third/fourth team…and any of the Upton/Cabrera/Choo/Santana group would have gone a long way to sure up our line up and help with the 2014 budget bullshit.

  10. LightSABR says:

    Mike: overpays, or inflation?

    By my read, fielding a championship baseball team is getting much more expensive for the foreseeable future, at precisely the time when the Yankees are unwilling to spend.

    In other words, Yankees: either open the wallets or blow up the team and rebuild. The current course will mean mediocrity with nothing to show for it.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Based on what evidence? Your whole comment is conjecture.

    • Laz says:

      They just need to adjust. Can’t constantly be trading farm for only a couple years of control of a player. Don’t think they will be WS teams necessarily, but they do have enough still to win the division.

  11. Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle AKA True Yankee(TM) says:

    Kind of O/T, but does anybody else feel like since the ’94 strike every time there is negotiations between the league and the PA the players always seem to wipe the floor with the owners and get whatever they want?

    • Gonzo says:

      I don’t know if I’d characterize their last negotiations as the players wiping the floor with the owners. Both sides got stuff they wanted.

      • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (formerly Manny's BanWagon) says:

        Yeah, with the amount of money the players and owners are making, there’s no losers here, just differing degrees of making out like bandits.

        I did hear on the radio yesterday someone speaking about a major battle coming up at the next CBA between large and small market teams in regard to the huge influx of regional TV revenue the large market teams are now getting

  12. mrdbag says:

    Glad they’re finally being cheap when ticket prices are at an all time high. What a mockery of how an organization is supposed to be run.

    • jjyank says:

      Is it really so hard to understand that ticket prices have nothing to do with the budget? This has been talked about so many times on here.

    • IRememberCelerinoSanchez says:

      If the CBA hadn’t been changed, and the $189 million budget was an arbitrary number pulled out of Hal’s butt, you would be fair to call ownership cheap.

      But given the massive penalties/savings associated with getting under the luxury tax cap for next season, I think it’s ridiculous to call the $189 million budget cheap.

      Also, $189 million next year will likely be the second highest payroll in baseball. Hard to call outspending 28 of the other 29 teams cheap.

      And what do ticket prices have to do with salary budgets? Ticket prices are based on supply and demand. If people won’t pay the prices, they go down. If people continue to pay the prices, they stay the same or go up. It’s pretty much that simple (with a bit of PR thrown in). There is likely a link between winning and ticket demand, but that’s a separate issue, as spending doesn’t directly equate to winning (obviously, it helps).

      • Jerkface says:

        The Yankees already make nice profit. The CBA did not change enough to warrant such austerity at a time when it is infeasible to field a competitive team at the same time.

        The 189 is not arbitrary in the sense that it is the exact delineation between paying luxury tax & not paying luxury tax, but it is arbitrary in the sense that the Yankees could simply pay what they normally pay and save 30 million dollars on top of the profit they have already been making with the worlds highest payroll & not skip a beat. They have arbitrarily decided to value profit over performance.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

          I mostly agree, except I don’t think it’s unfeasible for them to still field a competitive team under $189M. They’d just have an extremely low (maybe non-existent) margin of error to be a playoff caliber team. At this point, I’d say it’s unlikely that they’d be a playoff team in 2014 while getting under $189M, but not unfeasible.

  13. Bill says:

    Hal doesnot want to win like his father the budget that you state he is going for cheapest amount.

  14. John says:

    hopefully everyone reads this. also mike let me know what you think. how bout the yankees attempting this. trade texeira to the nationals for morse and prospects. we all know that texeira is from annapolis so he would be close to home and that gives the nationals a gold glove 1st basemen plus a good hitter. upgrade i think so. i think mark would go back to what he use to be bc he doesnt that short porch to look at anymore. the yankees can use morse as their 1b. now not ideal but they dont have much of a choice.

    Then they trade granderson for once again they can package these prospects along with a nunez to the diamondbacks for justin upton. now we have upton in right and morse at 1b

    Next with the money they save on texeira they can go ahead and sign josh hamilton at 23 mil per year.

    Then for 3b and C with all these great hitters in their prime (upton, Cano and Hamilton) then can go with a chavez/adams platoon, and on the catching side they can go with cervelli, stewart, romine. or if they want an upgrade they can trade logan for a viable option at C. the yankees have plenty of loogy’s so they dont need anymore plus logan after 2013 will be a free agent and will demand a significant raise. so trading him now would be a good idea.

    therefore their lineup could look like this.
    CF Gardner
    SS Jeter
    LF Hamilton
    RF Upton
    2B Cano (he is probably a better 5 hole hitter anyway
    3B AROD when he comes back
    DH ?
    1B Morse
    C Romine/cervelli steward.
    The 3-4-5 spots could be lethal.

    • IRememberCelerinoSanchez says:

      Why would the Nationals take on Teixeira’s huge contract? The Yanks would have to eat more than half (minimum), which defeats the purpose of the trade. And I’m not sure the Nationals would prefer Teixeira to LaRoche, who would be cheaper and probably more productive (and has played there).

      Pretty sure one year of Granderson would not net the prospects needed to get Upton.

      I think I speak for a lot of Yankee fans when I say I wouldn’t give Hamilton more than a one-year contract, regardless of budget. The guy is a ticking time bomb who sulks and always gets hurt.

  15. Rick in Philly says:

    I’ve been holding this back for a while, but people, GET OVER THE $189 MILLION BUDGET! It’s likely going to be higher than all but one other ballclub will spend in 2014. We’re all assuming that the Yankees have the ability to print money, that the Steinbrenners are going to be swimming around in the luxury tax savings like Scrooge McDuck, and that nobody in the front office cares for anything but the bottom line. But, really people – how many of you really know anything about what the Yankees books look like?

    Let’s see what the Yankees can do. How many times have we heard that Cashman is only successful because he can spend money? If anything, these next couple of years are going to be really exciting. And at $189 million, the Yankees can still put together a really good team.

    • jjyank says:

      I agree with this. There are an awful lot of comments about how Hal “doesn’t care about winning” and the front office is “cheap”. Which is mildly amusing considering the budget will still be very high compared to other teams.

      • John says:

        ive never said he doesnt care about winning … for god sake even at 189 its still ridiculously high compared to most teams. anyways i am excited as well of what the future holds. i really want the yankees to stop signing so many FA. i would like for them to develop some of their players. when i saw brett gardner a few years ago at charleston i was excited about what he bought to the table. and now im glad he is on the big league team now. i have the same sentiment towards sanchez, heathcott, williams and austin. saw them in tampa and hopefully i get to see them next year in trenton.

    • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (formerly Manny's BanWagon) says:

      I agree that the $189 doesn’t signal complete doom but the point you’re missing is the point that Mike has made several times.

      While $189 million is a huge payroll, the Yankees are not starting with a clean slate. The huge money they have already committed and the fact that their doing the on the fly is going to significantly affect their ability to stock the roster.

      Whether it’s for only 1 year or permanent remains to be seen but in the short run, the Yankees will be fielding a less talented team than if there were no self imposed payroll restrictions. That much is pretty much indisputable.

      • Rick in Philly says:

        I don’t think I’m missing that point. But I think the majority of fans and posters are missing the point that the Yankees can still be a very competitive team. They have a solid leadership group that has already shown a willingness to be creative. The team will have about $100 million to play with next year.

        • Jerkface says:

          100 million? No they won’t. They will have 88 million if Jeter comes back & thats if they non-tendered every arb elig player & guy making the league minimum and had 4 players on the 40 man.

          So even less than 88.

          • Rick in Philly says:

            Jeter’s option is up to $17 million. So that means it’s $83 million to play with to cover free agents and arb eligible players. You can field a very good team with $83 million.

            • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

              You can (see Tampa), but the Yankees aren’t set up to do that right now. The only saving grace is that the <$90M will be adding to hopefully a still ace pitcher, and still above average overall for their position SS, 3B, and 1B. If the 4 signed players decline much from last year's performance (an entirely possible scenario), 2014 is going to be a long year for the Yankees if they stick to the $189M plan.

            • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (formerly Manny's BanWagon) says:

              To replace Pettitte, Kuroda, Mariano, Granderson, possibly Cano and Hughes, and you don’t know what you’ll be getting from Jeter and Arod all without impact players coming up from the farm?

              I don’t think it’s gonna be as easy as you make it about to be. I don’t see them becoming a 70 win team in 2014 but I could easily see them becoming an 85 win team that misses the playoffs.

      • the Yankees will be fielding a less talented team than if there were no self imposed payroll restrictions. That much is pretty much indisputable.


        Exactly no one is saying they will become the worst team in the league but they will definitely take a step back.

    • Jerkface says:

      The Yankees should not have ‘one of the highest payrolls’, they should have THE highest payroll. By a good margin to. This team makes money hand over fist. They are the richest team in the game, of probably any game. They pay 27% of revenue sharing, do you understand how ridiculous that is? They make so much more revenues than every other team that they pay 4 x as much in revenue sharing payments!

      And this team is crying poor? Running the team more efficiently, trying to eliminate waste, that is fine and good. Austerity for the sake of profits above all else is not. Not from the team that charges some of the highest prices, in the one of the highest priced cities in the world.

  16. John says:

    or 3b can permanently be the platoon of chavez and adams with AROD beign the permanent DH. with the Cano/Hamilton and Upton the yankees can afford to have a no hit catcher and be weak at 3b.

  17. Neil says:

    Scott Rolen for RH platoon role at 3B

  18. Ted Nelson says:

    Is there such a thing as an expected trade?

    I also like a lot of the cheap FA options as platoon guys in RF or UTL. Unfortunately not much at C. Guess I’m hoping for a trade there.

  19. Andy says:

    You could theoretically get to $189 million pretty easily in 2014 assuming only one year commitments for the rest of this off-season.

    Counting Jeter (player option), you have $90.5 million in 1B, 3B (assuming ARod is healthy by 2014), SS and number one starter. Let’s just say Slade Heathcott and Tyler Austin mash in AA early, get promoted to AAA mid-season and break camp with the Yanks in 2014 sandwiched between Brett Gardner, giving you a starting OF at a cost of somewhere around $4.5 million. As for the rotation, hopefully Baneulos is healthy and ready, and with Ivan Nova/David Phelps gives them four and five in the rotation at somewhere around $1.5 million. You instill Robertson as the closer, Joba as the righty setup guy, Logan as the lefty setup guy, Rapada as the lefty specialist, Phelps/Nova as the long man, and Mark Mongomery and Chase Whitley filling out a bullpen of about $12.5 million or there abouts. Austin Romine is your backup catcher, Eduardo Nunez your utility guy, Zolio Almonte (or Abe or Flores) is your 4th OF, Corban Joseph or David Adams your corner backup bats, with your last bench spot going to one of the Abe/Flores/Adams crew for a bench of around $3.5 million. That gives you a grand total of about $112.5 million, giving you $76.5 million to resign Cano and get two starters and a catcher, something that should be easy, especially if Romine, Murphy or Sanchez proves up to the starting task by 2014. Even resigning Cano to a $26.5 million deal still gives you $50 for two starters and a catcher, and you could field a pretty good team with that.

    I know it isn’t likely that this is the course, but at some point the Yanks have to give the young guys a shot, and I for one would find the OF of prospects extremely exciting, and I don’t think they could do much better in the pen than what they will have already there. In any event, if they are willing to give a few of their prospects a shot at starting gigs, there are definitely a lot of ways to make the 2014 payroll work and still field a competitive team.

  20. CG says:

    You know something interesting that I just thought of (apologies if it isn’t even close to an original idea)?

    Given a yankee’s performance in a year, you’d generally be somewhere between “indifferent” and “in favor of” as regards them them being awarded SS, GG, voted high in MVP (league, postseason series’, etc.).

    Except if “a yankee” is someone with incentives in their contract for those things and “a year” is 2014. Yankees ownership, and to some extent the fanbase, should attempt to prevent those yankee players from receiving these awards in whatever ways they are capable of in order to make $189M more possible.

    Furthermore, what if the yankees plan out 2014 with $185M of towards-the-cap payroll and you’re a player with a $5M incentive for an award in your contract? Doesn’t that player then feel a bit pissed off about management assuming (with large consequences) that they won’t win the award?

    Please ignore entire post if bonuses are part of AAV regardless of whether or not they actually happen; I am assuming that only actually achieved bonuses count. I do have a question which doesn’t bust my post up, but changes the magnitude of my concern: do bonuses as part of a multi-year contract count all at once towards the cap, or are they spread out over remaining years of the contract, or something else?

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      All at once in the year earned/paid.
      If the bonus earned raises salary in a future year (like Jeter’s silver slugger this year), the bonus counts in the contract year the bonus is added to.

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.