2013 Payroll Breakdown: Part Four


Since we last met, the Yankees addressed nearly all of their arbitration business by signing Phil Hughes, Boone Logan, and Joba Chamberlain to one-year contracts that were a bit more pricey than MLBTR’s projections. Here’s an updated look at the team’s payroll situation for the upcoming season…

Assuming Robertson wins his arbitration hearing (doesn’t make a big difference either way), the Yankees already have $203.825M in real dollars (not average annual value for luxury tax purposes) tied up in 17 roster spots. They’ve opened each of the last five seasons with a real-dollar payroll in the $203-214M range, meaning they have approximately $10.2M to spend on the remaining 23 40-man roster spots if they’re willing to again open the season at a similar level.

The 15 players on the 40-man but not in the big leagues will earn less than the league minimum — the pro-rated minimum in the show and something much less in the minors. I’ve seen those players estimated at $2.5M total which I think might actually be a little light in the Yankees’ case. Remember, Alex Rodriguez and Michael Pineda are going to open the season on the 60-day DL and will have their 40-man spots occupied by other players. Let’s call it $3.5M for the non-active roster 40-man players.

Ivan Nova, David Phelps, Chris Stewart, Frankie Cervelli, Eduardo Nunez, and Clay Rapada are in their pre-arbitration years but project to open the season on the 25-man roster. They’ll earn something close to the league minimum, so $3M for the group ($500k each). Those six combined with the 15 non-25-man players brings us to $210.325M for 38 players. Jayson Nix and Matt Diaz are the early favorites to fill out the bench, and they signed minor league contracts that will pay them $900k and $1.2M in the big leagues, respectively. We’re now at $212.425M for a full 40-man roster.

The Yankees still have a number of holes to fill, but at this point I think we should all stop expecting them to find a legitimate starting catcher. Maybe (hopefully) they’ll claim George Kottaras and his meager $1M salary to, if nothing else, compete for the job in the camp. It’s not like they’d be taking on a huge financial commitment or anything. They still need a DH and miscellaneous depth pieces, both on the bench and for the pitching staff. More minor league contracts are inevitable, but there still appears to be some room left in the payroll to acquire a real big leaguer who improves the club. I expect that to happen at DH.

Categories : Analysis


  1. Blake says:

    They could use a RH bat to balance out the outfield but who is gonna DH vs RHP?

    They can solve the DH vs LHP either with Nunez or by rotating Jeter, Youk , etc through there but they really don’t have many options to DH every day vs righties….not a ton available either….Luke Scott?

    • MannyGeee says:

      Luke Scott is a horrible horrible person. fcuk Luke Scott

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Can’t believe I’m about to make this argument, buuuut….

        We base this on the fact that he buys into the birther bullshit. I can’t really recall anything else we’d base it on, but I could certainly be wrong.

        There’s people who buy this stuff because, well, I’ll leave it up to each of you to connect the dots. Scott was just vocal about it. He’d reap what he sowed playing in NYC and would have to answer to reporters and cameras here.

        This is also why I volunteer to take Slade Heathcott on a tour of NYC when he gets called up.

        I couldn’t find myself being a Scott fan were he to be a Yankee, but I’m not excited about him more because I don’t think he’s any great shakes and that the team could equal his production with someone else I’d want to punch less.

        • MannyGeee says:

          I am not even thinking about the Birther stuff… OK he’s a little nutty with the Right Wing stuff. Get in line, there are plenty of people in the public eye who think anti-Obama stuff.

          The throwing platanos at his Latino “friend” so he doesn’t act like a “savage” kind of got under my skin a touch. And then the doubling back saying “That’s not what I THINK… It’s what other people think when you act like an animal…”

          OK, fine. My dislike of Luke Scott is based solely on those lamb chop sideburns.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            Oof. I hadn’t heard that one.

            So who’s going to drive him slowly, in an open convertible, through Washington Heights?

            • MannyGeee says:

              Manny Ramirez…. covered in Platanos.

              for reference:


            • Barry says:

              Why don’t you drive him if you’re so comfortable there.

              • Robinson Tilapia says:

                I’d actually LOVE that job. I’d even blast some Juan Luis Guerra the entire ride.

                • Barry says:

                  I bet you would.. all talk. So what the guy doesn’t like Obama and says some strange things, he’s a baseball player not a congressman. The country is almost split down the middle on Obama, everyone has opinions and the beautiful thing about America is they can have them. I’m a moderate but I despise abortion, does that make me an asshole? It’s not like Obama came from the hood, his mother is white and he has tons of money so I don’t see the correlation.

                  • Robinson Tilapia says:

                    It’s crystal clear you’re trying to pick an argument because your little feelings are still hurt from the open thread last night.

                    This is a pretty shitty attempt at doing so, though. Try basing it on something I actually said next time.

                    It’s also crystal clear you don’t even know where Washington Heights even is, that it’s a reasonably safe place to walk through/live in/drive Luke Scott through, and the fact that you’re trying to claim that the actual physical me would have some fear of tough neighborhoods is about the funniest thing I’ve ever heard.

                    You’re not ready for prime time, buddy.

                    • Barry says:

                      Haha the prime time.. my feelings are so hurt because I understand that decreased performance would result in decreased revenue for the team. It’s 1214 in the afternoon, prime time is a few hours away. Oh yeah I’m not ready for the prime time and I get so scared wherever I walk. You are just an internet tough guy. Next time I go visit my friends down in Jamaica you can come and see what a tough neighborhood really is.

                    • Robinson Tilapia says:

                      ….and cut!

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      Internet tough guy talk is my favorite kind of internet talk.

                    • Robinson Tilapia says:

                      Is there actually any other kind of internet talk? It’s either this or “Catfish.”

                    • Havok9120 says:

                      And oaktag.

                    • jjyank says:


                    • Robinson Tilapia says:

                      Flapjack was set to make a comeback last night, but I just forgot.

                    • jjyank says:

                      It’s never too late.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      Barry, the claim people questioned was that decreasing payroll would make seats cheaper. People then explained to you that winning drives ticket prices, which you argued against for a while until you changed your argument around.

                      The decreased spending is not the driver, the losing is. They could spend more and lose, and ticket revenue should still decrease.

                    • Robinson Tilapia says:

                      I was more questioning the idea that Yankee fans are incredibly fickle. I don’t buy that for a second.

                      Other than in ’86 where, suddenly, I was the only kid in class with a Yankee hat, I’ve never physically met a bandwagon Yankee fan. I think we’re lifers.

                      If you want a bandwagon, come to my former home of Miami, Florida.

          • Jim Is Bored says:

            I reserve my “horrible people” comments for criminals, rapists, murderers, and dalelama.

          • RetroRob says:

            The birther stuff doesn’t bother me. I’ve surprised how many people I’ve met, normally reasonable and intelligent people, who seemed to have been on board with that nonsense. One thing that has become clearer to me over the years is how poltics is a license for people to either lie (knowingly) or accept illogical ideas. Left vs. Right is like Yankees vs. Red Sox. I take it all with a healthy does of skepticism.

            The other stuff is more concerning, yet I’ve also read articles on Scott where his teammates all generally like him, viewing him as an offbeat character. I think even Manny liked him, which could be the most damning thing against him!

            So I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s clearly not the brightest bulb, but unless I hear there is something malicious in his nature, then his less-than-enlightened views shouldn’t stop the Yankees signing him. Delmon Young? Milton Bradley? Brett Meyers? No to all. Violent people I have a problem with.

            The biggest question is can he hit and how fast can those crazy sideburns be shaved.

      • Blake says:

        Bobby Abreu? Other not good or old player?

      • Jim Is Bored says:

        Don’t care about his views, if I thought he’d be a useful bat.

        Hard to call someone a horrible horrible person who has never actually done anything terrible. He has some bizarre, extremely conservative viewpoints, but I’m not going to crucify someone because of their words.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I don’t know that the Yankees will use a roster spot on one, but there are LH DH optionsabut theret: Scott, Hafner, Giambi, Thome, Abreu, Huff…

    • Gethimabodybag says:

      The DH should be Jeter until A-Rod arrives to split DH duties with him. Just get a slick fielding SS even if he can’t hit the Yankees need defense at SS and Jeter can provide the offense at DH needed.

  2. Blake says:

    I also really hope they can get Kotteras to at least give them a left/right platoon at catcher

  3. William says:

    Let’s ask the A’s about Norris……..

  4. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Nice write-up. I hadn’t paid close attention to the first few editions on this.

    I look forward to seeing what the thin line they’ll have to walk next off-season looks like in order to field a strong team and stay under 189 million. Should be interesting for those with a thickish skin.

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      We’re going to need some of our prospects to help out, I don’t see any other path to 189 million.

      Of course(all following scenarios are the most likely, btw), if none pan out, if our pitchers all get rabies and die, if A-Rod breaks his 3rd leg, if Cano quits baseball to pursue a career in politics, if Tex hits .170 and decides he needs to rethink his life choices, if Girardi spends too much time in the gym and forgets to submit lineup cards, and the yankees only win 89 games, our FO might decide that we don’t have a “championship caliber team” and spend some more money.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        You forgot “games goes until 6th inning….in June, before team realizes they didn’t actually field a catcher.”

        I agree this gets easier if we get some quick risers and strong returns from injury with the younger crew. If enough goes wrong, though it may quickly become a test of the “championship caliber versus luxury tax” litmus test.

        I won’t say this won’t be for the weak at heart, but those who can’t deal with even mre uncertainty than what this off-season brought may want some extra time on the titty come November 2013.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Trades can also be a decent way to acquire cost controlled talent without needing the prospects to fully work out, just work out enough to have trade value. The costs and results vary, but the Swisher, Granderson, and second Javy deals are recent examples that probably would be options under the $189 plan.

    • mitch says:

      I think a lot of things will have to go right to make the playoffs and stay under 189 next season. There are just too many holes and not enough money.

      I’m okay with a down year if it means they’re focused on spending smarter going forward. If they give Cano 8/200, sign a bunch of old scraps, and go 80-82, i’ll be pissed.

      • Barry says:

        I agree, Robinson Cano is the key and other teams will be willing to pay a premium to bring him in. He hasn’t been inclined to a “hometown” discount and that probably won’t change. He needs to be a priority. If we can bring him back and find some offense for the C and replacing Granderson if he leaves then they’ll be able to compete but the division won’t be guaranteed with so many teams on the up. Also, replacing all the pitchers that may be gone after 2013 is going to be a headache. A whole lot of things need to go right.

  5. Mr. Furious says:

    This is very minor in the grand scheme, but I think that Feliciano’s buyout applies to last year’s payroll. I asked the guy who runs Cot’s about a similar option buyout not appearing on his payroll spreadsheet, and he explained that those generally apply to the payroll of the (calendar) year when the option was declined, rather than the year(s) that the option covered.

    That’s not a big distinction for a $250K buyout like Feliciano’s, but it might make a difference if we ever see any more whoppers like Giambi’s $10MM buyout.

  6. Eddard: Back and better than never says:

    Another RH bat in the outfield would be good to give Ichiro a breather every now and then. I do think Ichiro should play vs LHP most days as he hit them just fine last year when people said he couldn’t. People are so worried about the offense but the defense will be much improved. Defense prevents runs.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      There’s still going to be some pretty significant defensive issues, namely the big “hit it here” sign between short and third until Alex comes back. It is what it is. I don’t disagree with what was done there, giant vacuum sucking ground balls into LF and all.

      • Blake says:

        Yea….I think historically Jeters defensive woes have been overstated but with him coming off ankle surgery and clearly already losing steps before that ….and Youk at 3B you really worry about that left side defense

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          I also wouldn’t have it any other way, nor will we get it that way. I agree with the Youk signing and am not even bothering to bring up where Jeter should play.

          I agree that outfield D shouldn’t be a concern unless the extra guy turns out to be a butcher and/or Bobby Abreu.

          • Barry says:

            To digress from our usual bickering, I’m hoping Gardner stays healthy enough that his speed will at least keep any balls Jeter or Youk miss from turning into too many free bases. Maybe Jeter will be willing to move eventually but who do you put there?

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              I doubt Jeter ever moves from SS. Your guess will be as good as anyone’s as to who replaces him. Mike has Elvis Andrus on speed dial, from what I’ve heard.

              Good point on Gardner.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              Gardner has stayed pretty healthy besides last season.

      • dalelama says:

        It will get even worse if Aroid comes back which I doubt he will.

    • MannyGeee says:

      Infield defense would be nice though. there is a GIANT hole on the left side of the infield. pick away with singles and it doesn’t matter how good your RF is.

      Just playing devils advocate. I am pretty alright with the outfield as it stands today, save for a RH bat for platoon purposes…

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Yeah, Ichiro plus Gardner should help out defensively.

      Ichiro has a reverse platoon split in his career, so I think a lot of people just don’t realize that. As I remember he struggled overall against LHP last year, but had a reverse platoon in just 2011.

  7. Blake says:

    Id really love for the Yanks to consider signing this Cuban SS Diaz if he’s legit and can hit like the reports indicate. He’s 23 so be wouldn’t count against the spending cap and if he can’t play SS then we could use a 3B as well long term…… seems like a risk that may be worth taking given their needs if its a minor league deal

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      What do you know about him that would make you think he’d be a useful piece to add?

      • Blake says:

        Just what I’ve read. 23 year old SS with 3 years experience in Cuba’s best league…..projectable bat that supposedly has good range and a strong arm. Basically if he’s close to ready and has a chance to be a big league SS then that’s something they should look at….need as many SS and 3B options as possible

      • MannyGeee says:

        I know about him Yoenis Cespedes…


        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Nah….I wasn’t trying to be unfair to Blake. I’ve just heard so much about “the Cuban guys” this offseason, but little actually ABOUT them.

          If I knew all it took was to be Cuban, I would have stayed in better shape this past year.

          • Blake says:

            Can you catch?

          • MannyGeee says:

            Not pointed towards Blake either, but you’re right. Cuban + Lefty = Instant Prospect Boner.

          • RetroRob says:

            That’s been my question. Just because they’re Cuban means as much as saying they’re American. It would be as if Mike Trout appeared in Cuba, and the teams who missed out on him suddenly wanted to sign the next American who showed up, who might be Jayson Nix.

            So I’m interested in the Cuban SS because of the aging SS on the Yankees. I read one thing about him that was sort of interesting, but that’s it. No idea what level prospect he is.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Doubt it’s a minor league deal if the consensus is that he’s any good. That’s not to say that he’s not worth a look if he’s a more Mustelier caliber player. Some of the hype has just seemed to point to MLB deal, not that the hype is very accurate.

      I’m certainly intrigued, but there are a lot of ifs here.

  8. trr says:

    Agree that the next “big” move will be to acquire a R/H bat who hopefully can play a little OF as well….it’s obvious by now that the team will use Cervelli/Stewart as a stop-gap until they deem Romine is ready

    • Cris Pengiucci says:

      Personally, I think the next “big” deal (if you can call it that) wil be a LH DH. While there’s a need for a RH OF, I think the bigger need is a LH DH.

  9. Greg says:

    like I’ve been saying for months – we’re already at $210M. Which is wh we’re not going to add anyone of value – no Hairston, no Kotteras, nothing. We’ll add Diaz or Mostelier to round out the OF. It is what it is. Better hope that the kids get ready fast.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      While it’s debatable whether Kottaras actually adds value, he would add all of maybe $500,000 to the payroll.

      Hairston has reportedly been offered all of $2 mill per for two years by the Mets.

      I would also guess that you don’t make the decisioms for the Yankees, and point out that you can add value via trade, FA, or even waivers without adding any payroll if there is an offsetting salary going out.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Maybe the funniest part is that adding Diaz would add to payroll at least as much as adding Kottaras.

        • Blake says:

          Depends on if it had to be a big league deal or not and whether they put him on the 40 man…..stuff I’ve read says he will likely start at A ball but could move fast

          • Ted Nelson says:

            Sorry, meant Greg’s suggestion of adding Matt Diaz to the 40 man at his current $1.2 million deal vs. picking up Kottaras on waivers (he might actually be cheaper if he passes through waivers).

  10. sandy g says:

    there is no way the yankees stay under 189 mil with arod,sabathia,teixeira,cano,kuroda,pettitte,rivera,and granderson all on the team in 2014.the yankees will have the biggest problem they ever had if rivera decides he wants to pitch again in 2014 and if jeter has a big year and wants another 2 or 3 year contract.no way they stay under if that happens

  11. RetroRob says:

    So basically they’ll need to cut about $40M from 2013 to 2014. If this offseason pissed off fans, wait until next!

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Yeah, there will probably be a lot of whining. At the same time, there should be a lot of movement. Guys like Hoss seem to evaluate only the guys added to your roster without really accounting for the baseline or the subtractions. A combination of moves and prospect promotions might be more likely to excite those types, and there seem to be a lot of them, than this off-season did.

      • RetroRob says:

        Right. These next couple of seasons are probably going to be the most difficult in the process. I’m sure the original planning inclded low-cost Pineda and Banuelos in the 2014 rotation. The former should be there, although remains to be seen how strongly he bounces back. I’ll think positive. Banuelos probably won’t. His arrival is probably delayed until later 2014, most likely 2015.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Who knows? It’s too far away to say what will happen. Keith Law and others thought Manny should have opened the season in the Yankees’ rotation several years ago.

          So much can happen between now and the end of the 2015 season, both good and bad. People seem to fixate only on how the prospects work out, but that’s one part of it. Sure, it could be huge if they do work out and it’s going to make it a lot harder if they don’t. Trades can also come up that either really help the Yankees or really hurt them, though. They can end up wasting the huge chunk of payroll they will choose how to spend between now and then, or use it really well.

  12. MannyGeee says:

    I am not for one second going to lie. I am kind of giddy to have the YANKEES actually have some competition in spring training for some roles outside of 5th starter and LOOGY.

    Something that other teams get to experience which we rarely do. Makes March baseball semi-interesting.


  13. scooter10 says:

    I think there is also $1.5m buyount money for Soriano (that should be listed under dead money).

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