2014 Payroll Breakdown: Part One


(Gregory Shamus/Getty)

Although the calendar just flipped to 2013, I think we’re all looking ahead to 2014 as far as the Yankees’ payroll is concerned. The club plans to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold one year from now, and because of the way the tax is calculated, they’ll have to stay under that amount for the entire 2014 season. The Yankees haven’t finished a season with a sub-$189M payroll in about ten years, so it’s a significant cut o matter how much ownership and the front office try to downplay it.

The luxury tax is based on the average annual value of contracts* on the 40-man roster and is basically adjusted daily, meaning the “tax hit” for players who don’t spend the entire season on the 40-man (called up late, traded, etc.) is pro-rated. Bonuses count as well, as does the team’s portion of the league’s player benefits. Players benefit costs are shared equally by the 30 teams and will be valued at a touch less than $10.8M in 2013, but they are expected to go up to about $12M for 2014. Just like that, the $189M is really $177M as far as what can actually be spent on players.

Obviously a whole lot is going to change over the next 22 months, but the Yankees have started to plan for 2014 by going heavy on one-year contracts this offseason. Here is where the current 40-man roster stands with regards to the 2014 payroll…

The Yankees have just four players under contract for 2014, but those four soak up 42.8% (!) of the $189M limit, or 45.7% of the $177M limit, if you prefer. There’s a decent chance two of those players (A-Rod and Ichiro) will be non-playable and need some kind of replacement. It seems like a safe bet that Jeter will exercise his player option, though I suppose he could decline the option and demand a multi-year contract if he has a huge year. That would be something.

Obviously A-Rod won’t hit all five of those homer milestones in 2014. He’s sitting on 647 career homers right now and will miss about half of 2013 due to his hip injury, and you know what? It would be pretty great for 2014 payroll purposes if he managed to hit 13 homers next season to take care of that first milestone. He’d need to have a monster campaign in 2014 to trigger the 714th homer bonus, which is unlikely to happen at this point. Even A-Rod in his prime would have trouble hitting enough homers to trigger that bonus. Saving that $6M would be pretty big in the grand scheme of things, think of it as the ability to acquire a $17-18M player at the trade deadline.

Nova would need to spend about four months in the minors next season to avoid being arbitration-eligible in 2014, which doesn’t seem all that unrealistic if he continues to pitch the way he did in the second half. Pineda would need to spend about three months in the minors to delay arbitration, but remember, he will collect service time while on the DL at the start of the season. He’d have to be activated off the DL when healthy in May or June, then be optioned down and basically spend the rest of the season in Triple-A. I could see the Yankees sending Pineda down for the two or three weeks to delay free agency a year, but not three months to delay arbitration, especially if he’s healthy and throwing well.

Ten players who project to be full-time big leaguers in 2013 are due to hit free agency next winter, including three starting pitchers and half the bullpen. Cano’s free agency is the elephant in the room, as he’s expected to command a nine-figure contract in an age when so many teams have so much money to spend. You don’t have to try all that hard to envision the Tigers, Dodgers, Angels, Red Sox, Nationals, Rangers, Mariners, Cubs, or Giants making a run at him. I expect the Yankees to re-sign him to a huge contract, and if it’s worth say $23M annually (eight years, $184M?), the Yankees will be left with $73.1M to spend on 35 (!) 40-man roster spots during all of 2014. Doable for sure, but it won’t be easy given the current market.

* I get questions about this every single day. The luxury tax is based on the average annual value of the contracts. Front-loading, back-loading, side-loading, or whatever else you can think of won’t help. MLB will also step in should there be any blatant luxury tax circumvention, such as signing Cano to a one-year, $5M deal for 2014 with a nine-year, $200M player option. It won’t help at all.

Categories : Analysis


  1. Blake says:

    Please forward a link to this post to all the writers because none of them seem to understand it

    • CG says:

      Mike, I understand AAV, but you could still see teams getting away with some minor circumventing of the rules. Suppose jeter performs the same as last year, commanding what in normal times would be another 2 years at $12M per year. Couldn’t the yankees sign him to 3 years at $8M instead, with the understanding that he probably won’t be playing that third year (retiring if he gets to keep the money, or sitting on the bench otherwise)? It takes up an extra roster spot in that last year but provides $4M in AAV relief.

  2. Blake says:

    If Jeter plays in 2014 then his AAV will be 15 million I believe due to the MvP bonus he just got…..

    So that’s like 81 + 15 + 12 (for bonuses) = 108

    Signing Cano to a 23 AAV deal would make it 131 million for 6 players….leaving them like 58 million to spend on actual players….for a whole bunch of roster spots

    • MannyGeee says:

      Options dont count against the current AAV of his contract though. For luxury tax purposes, Jeter is a $9M player in 2014.

      • Blake says:

        Player options I believe are treated as guaranteed money

        • Mike Axisa says:

          They aren’t, I read through the CBA when I wrote the post. They’re considered guaranteed if it’s an opt-out clause (like Soriano), but not a true player option.

          • Blake says:

            I read it too and interpreted it differently I guess …but if you’re right then great that makes things a little better

            • Mike Axisa says:

              We need a lawyer to look this thing over. I’m sure we’ll get it sorted out in time.

              • Blake says:

                Another question I can’t seem to get an answer to…..if a player such as Upton was traded to the Yankees…. Does his 8ish million AAV carry over to the new team or is it recalculated based on what the new team owes from the time of the trade?

                I’ve read through the CBA and it doesn’t seem clear on that

                • MannyGeee says:

                  I believe his AAV of the contract as a whole. So a trade for a Chase Headley or Justin Upton would carry his current AAV just like it would carry his arbitration clock and option count. If memory serves (and my interpretation of the rules is true), the only sticky wicket is the option year.

                  • Blake says:

                    This is what I thought….but it’s not really clear in the CBA from what I can tell…..it could be a big deal in the case of a guy like Upton though who’s contract is backloaded…..the difference in like 8 AAV vs 13+

                • Mike Axisa says:

                  I think it’s the AAV of the whole thing. That’s how I’ve seen it explained in the various Upton trade scenarios by the MSM (particularly Joel Sherman).

                  • Blake says:

                    Yea….CarGo is another guy with a backloaded deal where the AAV would be lesser than the actual money towards the end

                • Joba is Einhorn...Einhorn is Joba says:

                  i asked this a while ago on here and the answer i was given is that it only applies to what the new team pays not the whole contract…

                  that seemed to make sense to me because if you extend the logic of the acquiring team paying AAV, what happens if a team aquired alfoso soriano and the cubs pay most of his remaining contract? are the cubs off the hook for the tax? Does the aquring team need to pay tax on the ten million they are assuming or the AAV which is much larger

                  • Ed says:

                    In the event of a trade with cash, the player trade & the money transfer are separate events.

                    The player and his full AAV get charged to the new team. It’s removed from the books for the old team.

                    However, there’s a separate part of the luxury tax calculation that deals with money paid to other teams. Money you give to other teams gets added to your payroll in the year you send it. Money you get from other teams gets deducted from your payroll in the year you receive it. There’s no averaging involved here, the actual amounts get used in the season the money transfer takes place.

                    • Pete from NH says:

                      I hve asked this before but want to ask you experts. If the Yankees trade A-Rod and absorb most of the contract, does that free us up from a luxury tax calculation perspective? Assuming he would waive the no-trade this could be the way to gain the budget flexibility this team so desperately needs.

                    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

                      Any money the Yankees paid towards ARod’s contract would count on the Yankees luxury tax payroll in the year the money is applied to ARod’s salary.

                • Ed says:

                  It’s the AAV of the whole.

                  In the event of a trade, it’s billed to the old team up to and including the day of the trade. The new teams picks up from the day after.

                  The only time the AAV changes is if the contract has a clause requiring a pay increase in the event of a trade. (Some guys demand that when they sign with teams in no income tax states.) In that case, the salary of the remaining contract years is adjusted, but the AAV calculation still includes the entire contract.

              • jsbrendog says:

                paging mr kabak….

              • Milt Toast says:

                Kabak’s a lawyer. Or is his only specialty copyright infringement? Just kidding.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Options are treated as an entirely different contract with a new AAV.

      • Blake says:


        My understanding was that player options were treated as guaranteed money and if Jeter played then the AAV for 2014 would be 14.75 million (59/4)?

        Is that wrong?

        • Derek says:

          Yea, I interpreted it similarly…From the CBA:

          “A “Player Option Year” shall mean a championship season covered by a Uniform Player’s Contract: (A) in which the amount payable pursuant to paragraph 2 of the Contract becomes due or guaranteed at the election of the Player; or (B) that can be nullified by a Player for a reason other than those set forth in paragraph 7 of the Contract. A Player Option Year shall be considered a “Guaranteed Year” if, pursuant to the Player’s right to elect or subject to his right to nullify, the terms of that year are guaranteed within the definition in Section A(8)”

          Section A(8): “(8) “Guaranteed Year” shall mean any championship season included in a Uniform Player’s Contract for which more than 50% of the Player’s Base Salary is guaranteed by the Contract in the event of termination under paragraph 7(b)(2).”

          I think what this is saying is this: if player A has a player option, and that player option would become 50% guaranteed if exercised, the player option year is considered guaranteed. My reasoning is that Section A(8) is a qualification, not the final say in the matter.

          So in Jeter’s case, his initial contract is 3/$51M (including $3M buyout), but in Luxury Tax terms it is 4/$56M with $8M exercised option. So his AAV is $14M, but a $1.5M bonus for the Silver Slugger makes his AAV in 2014 $15.5M. This all, of course, is if he exercises the option.

          Things can get tricky if Jeter declines, because then the AAV becomes $17M (51/3) for 2011-2013, which means the Yankees have to pay back the difference from the original AAV ($17-$14M)*3 years=$9M. If Jeter re-signs, that “penalty” can be spread through the life of the new contract, so a 2 year deal could be in two $4.5M installments.

          Sorry for long-winded posted, but it’s the way I’ve interpreted it from the CBA and a few articles I’ve read on the subject around the web.

          • Blake says:

            I think this is correct…..so if Jeter plays in 2014 (and he likely will)….he’s gonna cost over 15 million towards the tax from what I can tell

          • Ed says:

            That’s my understanding of things as well. If Jeter has a good season this year, that opt-out clause could be brutal on the payroll plans.

            • Derek says:

              Right…but they could “break-even” if Jeter opts out by signing him to a new 2 year, $22M deal. So the AAV would be $11M, but the $9M penalty split over the two years would be $4.5M, making the total essentially committed to Jeter $15.5M, or what they would have been obligated to under tax terms if he accepted the option.

              So I don’t look like I plagiarized – here’s the credit for this: http://www.captainsblog.info/2.....egy/18507/

              • Ed says:

                That’s theoretically possible, but I think it’s likely he gets more than that if he opts out. Remember, he’s only opting out if he has a good season in 2013, and getting to an $11m 2014 salary isn’t unreasonable with the bonuses remaining.

                • Derek says:

                  Yea, it’s definitely good in theory. But then again, will be 40…and will he really want to go anywhere else? Maybe he’d even be willing to opt out and take a lower salary (in a perfect world, of course). You make a good point too – he still can earn some of his other bonuses.

                  • Derek says:

                    Should clarify though – based on the last negotiations, Jeter’s probably going to try to maximize salary.

                    • mt says:

                      I also have read stuff on Internet that says Jeter is $15.5 million AAV in 2014 luxury tax purposes ($15 million salary (2011) +16 million (2012)+17 million (2013) +8 player option for 2014 treated as guaranteed divided by 4 iyears s %$14 million plus $1.5 million is $15.5 million, not $9.5.

                      There should be a separate post on this Jeter issue,incluidng wheter it is a counter-intuitive win/win for Jeter and Yanks to decline his player optiuon for $8 million and then resign for 2years at $23 million – Jeter gets paid more than $9.5 million and Yanks get to treat him as $11.5 million for AAv purposes, not the $15.5 million. Only downside is that Yanks will have to reamortize 2011-2013 and pay more taxes in those years at a $17 million AAV ($51 million ($48 mm + 3 million buyout) amortized over 3 years) – also Jeter will be signed for 2015 which is probably OK since I do not see Jeter retiring any time soon.

                    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

                      mt – if Jeter opts out, they don’t re-calculate the previous years. The difference between what was paid including the buyout and what was taxed in 2011-2013 would be included in a lump sum for the 2014 luxury tax payroll, regardless of whether Jeter resigns or not.

      • Blake says:

        This is the part in the CBA about player options

        i) A “Player Option Year” shall mean a championship season covered by a Uniform Player’s Contract: (A) in which the amount payable pursuant to paragraph 2 of the Contract becomes due or guaranteed at the election of the Player; or (B) that can be nulli- fied by a Player for a reason other than those set forth in para- graph 7 of the Contract. A Player Option Year shall be considered a “Guaranteed Year” if, pursuant to the Player’s right to elect or subject to his right to nullify, the terms of that year are guaran- teed within the definition in Section A(8); provided, however, that a Player Option Year shall not be considered a Guaranteed Year if the payment the Player is to receive if he declines to exer- cise his option or nullifies the championship season is more than 50% of the Base Salary payable for that championship season.

        • Blake says:

          Jeters buy out is for 3 million for 2014…..so that’s less than 50% of the 8 million he’d get of he accepted…..so that’s why I was thinking that Jeter’s player option would be considered a “guaranteed year”

  3. MannyGeee says:

    God… Every time I see “Alex Rodriguez ($27.5M)”, I get a visceral reaction. But I also get reminiscent of when he was worth that kind of money. Then I get pukey again.

  4. TheOneWhoKnocks says:

    It’s overwhelming to think about but after you break it down a little further, it’s not too bad a situation. I’m going to assume Jeter picks up the option and Cano gets an extension because both things are really likely
    RF Ichiro
    SS Jeter
    2B Cano
    1B Tex
    3B ARod
    C Romine/Cervelli
    CF Gardner
    DH ?
    LF ?

    SP CC Pineda Phelps Nova
    RP Robertson, Cabral

    We’ll need a SP or two.
    We’ll need a reliever or two.
    We’ll need a DH and a corner outfielder.
    After cano/jeter, arbitration boosts and stuff we’ll have about $45m to spend
    Doesn’t sound all that different from our situation going into this offseason.
    We’ll end up signing a couple SP’s to 1 year deals. A stopgap outfielder. Hope someone from the farm can contribute. There probably won’t be any room for any big FA acquisition, we’ll continue the trend of the last couple years of targeting some older guys on 1 year deals.

    • MannyGeee says:

      Also, Alex may be relegated to DH duty in order to conserve whats left of his hips. Lets just assume that Nunez is still in play, that is one spot taken.

      That said, it could be a LOOOOONG year at the hot corner if Nunie doesn’t get his shit together.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      They can also trade for cost controlled players. The deals they took on when they got Swisher and Granderson were well below market value, for example, and I doubt anyone saw those deals coming a year out.

      And among all the prospects, chances are that a few someone’s from the farm can contribute.

  5. Alex says:


    Do you think it’s safe to say that the Yankees are essentially gambling that 2 of Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, and Tyler Austin can be major league contributors within the next 2 years? Without their league minimum salaries it seems unlikely that the team can even pretend to outfit a decent outfield unless they are content to gamble on guys looking to rebuild stock off injuries or AAAA type re-treads.

    • Robinson Tilapia (or, in this case, "Mike") says:

      I wouldn’t call in “gambling,” but it would make life a ton easier if that were so.

      Odds are against that happening, though.

      Need a lawyer? We’re going to need a psychiatrist around here next off-season.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Yeah, I think you more play it by ear than gamble on any one outcome (except when taking on a long-term contract, then you’re gambling that guy stays healthy and productive). See what options present themselves. As fans we all hope there’s some master plan, but to a large extent I think the plan is just to try to make smart moves as they present themselves. A year out I doubt that Cashman knew he would trade for Swisher or Granderson, for example.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      I don’t think so at all. They’re smart enough to know better. Getting to MLB is tough enough, but having an immediate impact is even tougher. If they are counting on even one of those guys for 2014, I’d be pretty disappointed.

  6. TheOneWhoKnocks says:

    To put on my optimist hat for a second, 3 of our big needs (SP, OF, RP) will have prospects that should be ready to step in, in a perfect world in 2014.
    Banuelos for the rotation
    one of Austin/Williams/Heathcott for the OF
    Montgomery for the bullpen

    With how prospects work, we’ll probably only get a positive contribution from 1 of these guys in 2014, but I feel like it’s been a while since our farm has turned out an every day player for us, we’re due to start reaping benefits at some point.

    • MannyGeee says:

      IN THEORY – (taken with a grain of salt, of course)

      You are looking at a rotation of CC/Nova/Phelps/Pineda as four guys who have major league rotation experience. You also have ALOT of options for guys who could line up for one year contracts out there: Zito, Vogelsong, maybe Johan, Wandy Rodriguez, Chris Carpenter, Jorge De La Rosa all come to mind.


      That’s not a bad place to be, should things break right…

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        I am taking that rotation possibility with the smallest grain of salt possible. Really fucking small.

        • MannyGeee says:

          Yeah. it sucks.

          HOWEVER… (small grain of salt alert again) this is not the first time the Yankees have gone into the year with a rotation of less experienced pitchers.

          In 2008 we went into the season with Hughes/Joba/IPK as the tail end of the rotation. What resulted was early golfing for our team, but still.

          Truth is, you almost NEED Hughes to be resigned on a friendly contract, you certainly need a really good sophomore showing from Phelps, the biggest of big bouncebacks from Nova, and you need a Lance Armstrong level recovery from Pineda to even entertain this.

          And even then, you have to sign a wily vet or two (think Colon/Garcia) just to keep you in the game.

          Or, just Jon Lester. How awesome would the really good version of Jon Lester look in pinstripes?

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            Someone has to slot in behind CC for sure. It could be Hughes, which is probably one slot in the rotation above where I think he should be, if we really want to be that nit-picky, but it is what it is. we know the Hughes conundrum, though, so it becomes possible it’s not him. You need someone there, though, and I’m not convinced that pitcher will be someone under contract once 2013 ends.

            You definitely need stabilization from Nova, which I don’t think is a gargantuan task, but it’s certainly something not present now. You need one of Pineda/Phelps/Banuelos to get healthy/take next step (one, or both, depending on the pitcher). If you don’t get two of them to do that, you need a vet in that fifth slot.

            In the state of Florida, a licensed social worker used to be able to prescribe some meds. Since I don’t live there, I greatly regret that I will not be able to perform that service to this comment section come next off-season.

            I’ll take good Lester any day, any time.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              You also have viridiana’s suggestion below that a guy like Turley or Marshall takes a major step forward in 2013.

            • MannyGeee says:

              I truly believe (and Mike is a proponent as well) that we are missing the boat by not jumping in balls deep on the Shaun Marcum reclamation project.

              He “could” be the answer next season, a la Freddy Garcia, if he comes out throwing the ball good (but not too good, where he ends up earning himself a multi-year contract elsewhere… just good enough)

              • Ted Nelson says:

                I don’t think he’s comparable to Freddy Garcia, who came in on a minor league deal. Marcum is MLBTradeRumors’ #19 FA. That puts him ahead of guys like Liriano (28), Blanton (31), and McCarthy (32). Of course that is just one list, but I think he’s in line for a $8-10 million AAV, at least. I don’t know that he’s worth that much to the Yankees, who already have 5 good starters and a 6th who showed promise.

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

              Social workers prescribing meds? Sounds kind of scary without extensive pharmacology training but then again in Florida, pretty much anything goes related to healthcare including fraud, prescription abuse, etc.

  7. Greg says:

    Well, no question the A-Rod contract kills us. For several reasons. He eats up a ton of payroll and by 2014 will be a complete nonfactor production wise. I just don’t see any way that $80.9 million we have committed to 2014 already is coming off the books.

    The Yankees CAN’T get emotional about Jeter. 2014 has to be his final year in pinstripes. He can either take the player option or be gone. If circumstances were different (A-Rod retired tomorrow) than we might have the luxury to pay him a few extra bucks to be a living legend in the dugout, but we can’t.

    As for Cano. Interested to hear what others think, but I think we should balk at a long-term contract for him. We have seen the best of Cano, and we would only be paying for his down slide. How can we moan about paying A-Rod $27.5 way past his prime, and then turn around and give another crazy contract or Cano???

    • MannyGeee says:

      Yeah… if the Yankees don’t play ball with Cano and come clean with him, he’s gonna jump to LA so quick it will give you whiplash.

      I am confident that you don’t let Swisher walk in 2012 and Granderson walk in 2013 to go cheap with Cano in 2014 and lose him as well.

    • Rivera Venue Blues says:

      The difference is we gave A-Rod a 10-year deal when he was 32, I’m really hoping it takes “only” 8 years to lock Cano up and he’s 30. If A-Rod’s contract ended after this season, I think I’d be able to live with it considering how much positive value we got earlier in the deal. However, the fact that A-Rod is locked up till he’s 42 is really the terrible part of the deal.

  8. Joba is Einhorn...Einhorn is Joba says:

    the cano situation just scares me…i see boras pricing him out of the yankees payroll plans. cashman has shown that he puts a value on a guy and sticks to it, not letting the market change his decision…if cano walks, next offseason is going to become very messy

    • TheOneWhoKnocks says:

      Cashman has been hesitant to go over his budget on players, but ownership hasn’t been hesitant to override him when they feel the player is worth it.
      Cano is the kind of player Cashman won’t really have a say over.

      • Joba is Einhorn...Einhorn is Joba says:

        that would be a shame..i know that they have overridden him in the past, but in the past there wasn’t a firm budget. there was always wiggle room that could be used to compensate for stupid signings. if they are holding him to a strict number then they need to let him do his job and make the decisions on ALL players…but i think you are right on target and ownership will do what they want

      • Bubba says:

        I hope that isn’t the case. For all his warts, Cashman has been more right than wrong in these situations.

  9. Andrew Brotherton says:

    I think this is where our farm will come in handy, because you can probably green light about 5 relievers from the farm which we definitely have, then you sign a free agent reliever so now you have 42, you most likely sign 1 starting pitcher, so now we are at about 30, then we could see Heathcott or Austin so there goes the corner outfield spot, then we have enough in house to manage a 6th starter with a group of CC, free agent pitcher, Pineda, Phelps, Nova, Turley, Marshall. So we have about 25 to 30 million left over to possibly spend on a Brian Mccann, or a Mark Reynolds, or Kendry Morales or a Martin Prado. Or possibly a couple of those guys.

    • Robinson Tilapia (or, in this case, "Mike") says:

      You’re not going to “greenlight” five relievers almost simultaneously, though. There has to be a mix.

      Making roster predictions as to 2014 and 2015 is a tall order right now. Interesting, though.

  10. 42isNotMortal says:

    How assumptive it was to include 30 mil in HR milestones for A Rod. Since Mike has informed us 13 dingers from Alex helps 2014′s payroll remaining budget, I’d take a bag of cash to the bookie for 12 next season. It’s just been that kind of ride in pinstripes for the man-o-taur.

  11. WFAN CALLER says:

    If only the Yanks could have held on to Mickey Storey – the Mick would know what to do!

  12. LK says:

    It’s possible, but they’re going to need to have more good luck than bad to pull this off.

    • thenamestsam says:

      I think this is really the bottom line. We’re all used to looking into the Yankees future and seeing that it looks like things will be good under all but the worst case scenarios. I don’t think that’s the case here and I’m usually among the most optimistic fans.

      I think we’re in roughly the same boat as 90% of the other teams in MLB: when you try to look a year into the future things are pretty murky. A few things go our way with some young guys and maybe hit on a trade somewhere along the line and we could be pretty good. A few things go against us with those same young guys or have a dud trade and it may look pretty ugly.

  13. Jason says:

    I know that back loading a contract doesn’t help. But it has been mentioned many times on this website not to mention common knowledge that 1 million today is worth alot more then 1 mill in 5 years. That’s why many teams like to back load contracts. What the Yankees should do is the exact opposite front load so for example by cano instead of giving 20 a year for seven years give 25 the first year and, that extra 5 is worth 6 mill( estimate) off the last years. This will bring the aav down. if you can do this with all new contracts you should be able to save a few mill and with with the 189 every penny counts

    • Horizonal Pinstripe says:

      I like that idea. It also means you pay the most for the most productive years and make the player more attractive for trades as production decreases and age increases.

      • All Praise Be To Mo says:

        They did this with A-Rod. His salary actually decreases, though that doesn’t help the AAV of the deal for the $189 cap purposes.

  14. Trollin' says:

    Now hear me out on this one. What if….

    The Yankees sign Cano to a 10 yr $10MM contract but then give his Momma a 10 yr $200MM contract to be the Team Mom. Would that work to avoid the luxury tax and budget? :)

  15. viridiana says:

    This is all doable if you can include six or seven first or second year players at a total cost of $5-6 mill.

    This should be possible, even likely, but the Yankees probably need to start integrating two or three young players this year. Romine, Adams, Montgomery would be first in line. Then, next year either Banuelos, Marshall or Turley in the rotation, one of the young outfielders (Williams in my mind because he is a contact hitter who will give you plus defense even as he adjust to MLB pitching). So there’s five already. A second reliever from the group of Cabral, Kahnle, perhaps even Warren makes six. And there are numerous guys who could fill the role of a platoon fourth or fifth outfielder (Abe or Zoilo, Mesa, Mustelier). Just need one of those. So there’s seven players adding almost no coast and I think these guys are good enough to contribute even before they fully mature as major leaguers.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      “I think these guys are good enough to contribute even before they fully mature as major leaguers.”

      I think you’re greatly overstating what about 3/4 of those guys would contribute.

      • viridiana says:

        If anything, I’m underestimating what they can contribute. Nearly all of these would fill minor roles for which they are more than highly adequate. Why can’t Adams be a back-up infielder? Why can’t Montgomery help in the pen? Why can’t Cabral replace Logan or Rapada (who is also a minimal cost guy, BTW)? Why can’t you use a guy like Abe — with excellent splits, speed and defense –as a fifth outfielder? For thre most part, the requirements for these young players would not be great. Ansd there is far greater chance of their exceding expectations than falling short. This knee-jerk prospect-bashing is really getting tired.

        • viridiana says:


          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            I think you’re reaching less with Montgomery and Adams, but more with Turley, Marshall, and some of the outfield fodder.

            We haven’t seen this guys do it even at AAA to know that they can do it full-time in the majors.

            You may be right in that a few of them can latch on. Hell, Ramiro Pena was on the major league roster for a full year once. It seems like a lot to ask for, to me.

            It’d be wonderful if you’re right, though.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              I meant “even half-time in the majors,” not “full-time in the majors.” mixed up my thoughts there.

            • viridiana says:

              I mentioned Turley and Marshall as potential fifth slot rotation starters, along with Banuelos. So only one of them has to fill the bill. And I suppose there are other candiates — Warren, perhaps, Jose Ramirez. So just one of these guys has to come through– and only for the fifth slot.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        I think viridiana is a little extreme in imagining that every prospect will work out and that other people are “prospect-bashing” by doubting that “fact,” but I think the correct thought is that among a large group of prospects some should work out. I don’t even think the Yankees know who those will be. I do think it’s reasonable to fill 6+ roster spots with prospects not on the roster right now, though. Especially BP spots. Some of them might not even be prospects in the system, but the next Corey Wade, say.

        As you point out, the team won with Pena on the roster. They won a lot of games with Cervelli starting like 93 games. They had what I think was over a half season of starts from the combination of Mitre, Gaudin, and 4 IP-rookie Nova. They can live with a couple of holes on the roster.

        • MannyGeee says:

          Playing devil’s advocate here, “this team” was not this team when Mitre/Gaudin/Baby-Nova/Ramiro Pena/Cervelli were taking on major time. The pieces around them were better (not to mention younger), and there were alot less questions around the direction in general. Healthier version of this team (A-Rod, etc), guys that are gone (Posada/Martin/Swisher/etc, etc, etc), and guys who will soon be gone (MO, Andy, Granderson, Hughes, Joba, etc).

          No lie, EVERY OTHER team in the league goes through this, and as a spoiled Yankee fanbase, we are not used to the unsureness going into the spring, and we are still pretty goddam good despite this, but Mitre would be a disaster going into 2014, not an opportunity.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            Yeah, that’s true but almost all teams have holes. Part of being a spoiled Yankees fan is finding future HOFers to sit on the bench in semi-retirement and filling out the entire bullpen with good, proven arms. (Which might still happen in 2014-5, of course.) Everyone is going ape-shit over the Blue Jays, who have more holes on their roster than swiss cheese. Holes in the starting line-up. They do have some really good players, but they have a lot of holes. They Yankees might not have quite the strength at the top of the roster, but will likely have far fewer holes and better depth.

  16. Horizonal Pinstripe says:

    What about large brown paper bags filled with dead presidents as a way to circumvent the cap? No paper trail, the team would loose the tax write off – but the amount of cash would be TAX FREE to the player, so a reduced amount could be paid.

  17. Slappy McWaterbug says:

    Looks like Cashman has to start playing GM in ‘Hard Mode’.

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

    I think $23 million AAV for Cano is a bit of an underestimation. I think he’s gonna get offered 8/$200 million easily.

    • Derek says:

      I don’t know about that…the only guys to get $200M after the age of 30 are A-Rod and Pujols…We already know how that’s going with A-Rod, and Pujols didn’t get off to the best of starts last year. Plus, Cano isn’t near their caliber.

      It does take just one crazy owner, but I don’t think it goes that far. If it does, Yanks would be wise to walk away.

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

        Have you noticed what’s going on in LA?

        They need a 2nd baseman and reportedly their goal is to place an All star at every position.

        • Derek says:

          Yes, I’ve noticed…but I don’t think they need to go 8/$200M to beat out the rest of the league. That’s better than what Boras is supposedly asking for (10/$200M). Boras is just using the door in the face technique; he knows Cano isn’t going to get $200M.

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

            Josh Hamilton just got $25 million per over 5 years and he has a far far worse history of injuries as well as other personal issues. I can easily see Cano getting the same AAV for 7-8 years since as you mentioned, it only takes 1 owner and there’s an awful lot of money out there now.

            I’m not sure if Cano would go for the biggest offer but you’d have to think he will.

            • Derek says:

              Well I actually agree with you on the length (7-8 years), I just think the money comes down. Maybe he gets about what Teixeira got (8/$180), or the same AAV at 7 years ( $157.5M). I guess the $25M vs $22.5M isn’t a huge difference AAV, but for the Yankees trying to get under $189M, it is.

              I just wonder how negotiations will go considering Cano will be 31 in year one of the deal. I think FanGraphs had a great article a while back about the rapid deterioration of second baseman, quicker than many other positions. Obviously, Cano’s value is better at 2B than any place he may move, so he’s going to be sold as a 2B. But will owner’s be concerned about his progression + that he’s already going to be 31? Keep in mind most of these long term deals that are 8, 9, or 10 years are inked at ages 28 or 29, aside from Pujols and A-Rod.

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

                There is definitely a number where the smart move for the Yankees is to let him walk regardless of how devastating that will be to the team over the next 3-4 years.

                My fear is some maniacal owner will say screw it and make him some outlandish offer he can’t refuse.

            • MannyGeee says:

              “I’m not sure if Cano would go for the biggest offer but you’d have to think he will.”

              Lesson 1: Don’t sign with Scott Boras if you don’t expect to sign to the highest offer.

              Lesson 2: Don’t let your agent go out to the world and say that you will not be “giving a hometown discount” if you don’t intend to sign to the highest offer.

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

                You’re probably right though I keep hoping Cano will pull a Jered Weaver and sign before he hits free agency for less than what he would have gotten on the open market.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        But, don’t you know that everything will go wrong for the Yankees? Or at least that’s the assumption most commenters on here like to operate under. Because they’ve been so tortured by all the losing and all the things going wrong for two decades now… I mean they’ve lost at least like 60 games a season and they traded away Tyler Clippard!!! The shame!

  19. I’ve been firm on trading Cano now to get some sort of value. I know it may hurt you for this year, but I think it can make you stronger in 2014 and going forward.

    If you lose him in 2014, along with some of the pitching that will be lost, are you really any better off than trading him in 2013?

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I’m not convinced in the least that you’re losing him in 2014, though.

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

        So if the the Yankees had to match let’s say an 8/$200 million deal, do you think they’ll do it??

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Do I think they’d match that? Yes, I do, but that and a couple of dollars will buy you a cup of coffee.


      • what kind of contract do you think he gets?

        I really don’t see Cash going to 8 years and I think he easily gets that.

        • MannyGeee says:

          I honestly think he’s looking at 8/160. And I think you sign him for that all day long.

          • All Praise Be To Mo says:

            Cano/Boras are looking for a lot more than 8/160. If he has another typical Cano year I don’t see how he gets less than $200 million.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              I don’t completely buy the 2B stuff, but I think a lot of teams will. He’ll still get a ton, but the 2B stuff might keep the years and/or money down a little.

  20. vin says:

    Good stuff Mike. Thanks for tackling what will probably be the most important issue affecting the team the next few years.

    There’s really 3 stages to this – pre-austerity (which we’re in now), austerity (2014 and maybe 2015), and the Makin’ It Rain Aftermath (give us all your King Felix’s).

  21. thunder rd runner says:

    No, trade him ASAP;, he will soon begin his decline, or perhaps he has already?

    • The Doctor (formerly known as G formerly known as Matt Smith formerly known as David Tennant formerly known as...etc) says:

      Not sure who you’re talking about. I want to guess Cano, but saying a guy who was worth 7.8 fWAR and 8.2 bWAR, both career highs, is already in decline is just absurd. .A 313/.379/.550 may be a decline for Albert Pujols in his prime, but by pretty much any other player’s standards, that’s a career year. You can bitch and moan about his RBI totals all you want, but the fact is clutch isn’t something that just declines, it’s based largely on happenstance. Cano went from our most clutch player to a guy who couldn’t put up 100 RBI in a career year, but with the underlying performance still at its peak, this can’t be seen as a decline in ability. It’s more of a decline in luck than anything.

  22. viridiana says:

    Prospect-bashing, which has reached epidemic proportions lately, is something of a Yankee tradition. So contemptuous was Yankee management of its own young players in the early 90s that Bernie Williams had to struggle to break in to the Yankee lineup. The papers were full of bogus warnings of his “poor baseball instincts,” some of these reports emamanting from jealous incumbent veteran outfielders on the team. George wanted to trade him for Steve Lyons. And Derek Jeter himself, perhaps the greatest Yankee since mantle, had to spend parts of three season in AAA. Despite, as I recall, hitting well over .300 down there he was not to be the Yankee strarting SS in 1996. Only an injury to over-the-hill veteran Tony Fernandez allowed Jeter to make the team as starting SS.
    Now, 16-18 yars after Bernie and DJ resurrected the Yankees and recreated the dynasty the same battles rage. Some want to trade the farm for ML outfielders that other teams want to unload (Upton). Others prefer Cashman’s dumpster-diving to patient inegration of young talent. For decades now, it has been a struggle for talented Yankee youngsters to break in. Unfortunatley, nothing has changed.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      If, when Austin, Williams, Sanchez, and Heathcott make strong showings all around for several months in AA, they’re not starting to be part of the conversation, let’s talk.

      The grand majority of the guys above them, though, ain’t Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter.

      Brett Gardner, Robinson Cano, Frankie Cervelli, Austin Romine, David Robertson, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain.

      “Despite, as I recall, hitting well over .300 down there he was not to be the Yankee strarting SS in 1996. Only an injury to over-the-hill veteran Tony Fernandez allowed Jeter to make the team as starting SS.”

      That worked out pretty well, didn’t it?

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Nice false narrative!

      Some parts are just blatant misinformation. Jeter spent 35 games in AAA at 20 after spending all of 34 games in AA after starting the season in High A. Then he spent most of his 21 year old season in AAA before a call-up. His “third” season in AAA was ONE FUCKING rehab game at 24.

      For every Bernie and Jeter, there are probably 3-5 busts. That’s why you make the young guy earn a spot, instead of handing it to him. Especially if you’ve got a 95+ win team with few or no holes, as the Yankees mostly have for almost two decades.

      Some prospects are also more likely to succeed than others. The Yankees rushed Jeter up to AAA and then MLB, because he was a stud. He was a top 6 prospect according to BA two years in a row. Keeping veteran pros like Juan Miranda, JoVa, Mustelier, or Dickerson in AAA is not comparable to holding down a legitimate prospect.

      Deciding to never trade any prospects is as fanatical as deciding not to promote any.

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

        “His “third” season in AAA was ONE FUCKING rehab game at 24.”

        I guess being less hostile wasn’t on your list of new years resolutions.

      • viridiana says:

        If only, Ted, your analytical abilities matched your near- pathological nastiness. It continues to amaze me how you sit and pounce on other posters, often misrepresenting the views you dispute. Where, for example, did I say that Juan Miranda or JoVa was equivalent to Bernie Williams? Where did I say to “never” trade any prospects?

        I realize that creating straw men arguments that you can readily counter makes it easier for you to practice your slash and burn debating skills. If you were only polite, less arrogant and less sweepingly inaccurate, it might be worth arguing with you.

        No, not all minor leaguers are prospects. And not all prospects are equal. But there were reasons to think Bernie and Derek were special. And there are reasons to think the same of several current Yankee farmhands.
        And there’s also reason to argue that those prospects are today worth far more than early 90s prospects– because of the new CBA and because of the new wealth of so many rival teams and the prohibitive costs of free agent signings. So elite propects are more precisous than they ever were. No, not all of them will make it. But positon player prospects — especially those in the top 40 — have a pretty good success rate. And there are ways –even among this elite tier — to distinguish likely contributors from pretenders. So knowing that I have to replace practically the entire starting line-up over the next few years, I’d prefer to avoid three- or four- for one deals that inevitably create fututre holes. Holes that will be harder and costlier than ever to fill.

        • viridiana says:

          *precious* and *future* Guess I need to hire a proofreader for these posts.

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

          “near- pathological nastiness.”

          Take out the “near” and you’ve hit the nail on the head.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          There’s no need to create a strawman for the misinformation you are passing off.

        • JAG says:

          I know headhunting Ted is like a national sport here, but at least be right when you do it.

          The point of your post was summed up for me at the end when you said that its always been a struggle for talented youngsters to make it on the Yankees roster and “nothing has changed” today.

          To what youngsters are you referring today? Cano, Gardner, Robertson, Chamberlain, Nunez, Nova, Hughes? Those guys all proved they were talented and then were put on the roster. It took most of them some time to develop at the ML level and the Yankees let them do it anyway. Montero, Jackson, Noesi, and Kontos were traded before they could prove their talent level. Vasquez, Miranda, and similar guys aren’t “talented youngsters,” so the argument doesn’t extend to them.

          Are you complaining that the Yankees don’t hand starting jobs to unproven prospects? Because if so, I’m glad they don’t. If that’s not what you’re saying…then perhaps you could clarify for me?

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

            If you look more closely at the “headhunting” responses towards TN, you’ll notice that far more people have a problem with the dismissive, demeaning, hostile and nasty tone he takes rather than the message he tries to convey.

            He frequently has good points that ultimately drown in his bile.

            • JAG says:

              I’ll grant that, I was mostly concerned with this particular case. The post in question was pretty tame by Ted standards, especially given that the information he was disputing is, in fact, wrong.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              I curse one time and you feel the need to jump to the rescue. No other serious commenter here seems to have any problem with me. I seem to be your imaginary mortal enemy.

      • MannyGeee says:

        “For every Bernie and Jeter, there are probably 3-5 busts.”

        3-5? try 30-50. If 3-5 were true, then Jorge Vazquez would be a household name in New York instead of Okinawa. And Kevin Maas & Brien Taylor would have roads and bridges named for them.

        Prospects fizzle, Rule 5 guys become super duper stars. these things happen.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Those were two very highly regarded prospects, not Jorge Vazquez’s.

          • JAG says:

            Sure, but doesn’t that just make the point stronger? The whole point is that guys as highly regarded as Maas, Taylor, and even Williams and Jeter bust. They bust all the time. Until 4 years ago, Hamilton would have been in that group too.

            The point was that you have to make prospects earn it, because not all prospects are truly good enough to excel.

  23. Bavarian Yankee says:

    so do A-Rod’s homer bonuses actually count when it comes to the luxury tax? His bonuses for his 600th homer didn’t, I think Mike also wrote something about that when he hit it. I know that changed with the new CBA but does that also count for contracts that were signed prior to the new CBA?

    Anyway, I think I have good knowledge when it comes to payroll and stuff but it’s really hard to figure out what things acutally count and what things don’t.

    MLB should make this way easier imo, just take the annual costs of everything, add it up and there you have your payroll. No weird things with bonuses, AAV, options that count/count not to AAV, deferred payments etc.

    • Jerkface says:

      Yes, they count in the year they are earned. The kerfluffle with those personal services/marketing bonuses is that they weren’t considered guaranteed and thus weren’t spread out over the contract. It is still a special covenant that awards the player something for on field performance so it is counted, its the 2nd item of the ‘performance bonus’ section in the CBA

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      There was no bonus for ARod hitting his 600th HR. 660 will be his first HR milestone bonus.

  24. Greg says:

    Arod, Tex, CC, Jeter, Ichiro, plus Cano ($23M) and Hughes ($15M). Assume no Mo, Andy, Kuroda or Grandy. That’s probably around $135M for 7 guys. Means filling in the rest of the team with current arb and pre arb guys. Better hope that Austin, Williams and Heatchott are ready, as well as Phelps, Nova and Warren, because we’re going to need them.

    • and Hughes is the #2…scary.

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

      You really think Hughes is going to get $15 million AAV? He’s barely even been a league average pitcher as a starter so far.

      • Bavarian Yankee says:

        come on, give him some credit, he’s not bad and he’s doing it in the AL East. I think if he can repeat 2012 then he’ll get about the same contract Edwin Jackson got (4/52).

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

          I like Hughes a great deal but he’s been less than a 2.0 fWAR pitcher on average over the last 3 years compared to Jackson who’s been worth 3.6, 3.9. 3.9 and 2.7 bWAR over the last 4 so it’s not really a fair comparison.

        • The Big City of Dreams says:

          If he repeats next yr then he’ll get more than that. He’ll be 28 hitting the market filled with pitchers that are older than him or not as good.

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

            Unless Hughes has the best season of his career by a fairly substantial margin, how do you figure he’ll get a long term deal at $15 million per year when Edwin Jackson, only 1 year older with a much better track record of success only got $13 million for 4 years unless you think there will be tremendous inflation in the market next offseason?

  25. nsalem says:

    Where will we be on Pettitte, Kuroda and Mo if they have good seasons and decide they want
    to pitch one more year?

    • thenamestsam says:

      To me, Mo wanting to stick around is the worst case scenario in some ways. Him playing somewhere else is unimaginable to me, and I’d hate to see negotiations with him turn ugly in any way, but I don’t think you a closer is anywhere near the smartest way to spend $15M when you have big holes in the rotation and everyday lineup to fill (both of which are approaching certainty in my eyes).

      As for Pettitte and Kuroda I think it’s a lot harder to foresee and really depends on how things go over the next season. Maybe Nova, Phelps and Pineda have nice years for the big club, Banuelos has a good recovery, Warren tears up AAA and Turley takes a step forward and you decide to roll with the young guys and some cheap vets in the rotation and spend your money on Cano or an OF. Maybe it goes the other way and Austin looks ready to take over RF but there’s a lack of options in the rotation. A big part of the benefit of all the one-year deals is that we will have a lot of flexibility over where to go cheap and where to go (slightly) less cheap. Trying to figure everything out in advance doesn’t help you much at this point I don’t think.

      • Ted Nelson says:


      • mt says:

        I agree Mo is wildcard – it will be relatively easy to turn away Kuroda (who can go to another team or Japan) or Pettite (who can retire again since he says he bases his calculations on whetehr yanks want him again so he can calculate that yanks do not want him in 2014) – but turning away Mo, especially if he has a greta 2013, will be hard to watch.

        I did hear Mo say that he will announce in spring training what he is doing for 2014 (heard him say that on the Michael kay Show in November) so it may not be a problem – I am reading between lines that he will say he is retiring in 2014 – on the other hand, it will be hard to announce in spring training he is definitely coming back in 2014 when he is coming off a major injury and still has to prove himself in 2013.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Beyond that, they also might not want to turn away Kuroda or Pettitte. BP holes are generally easier and less important to fill then rotation holes, and the Yankees will have money to spend next off-season. After Cano or some offensive replacement(s) if he leaves, making sure that there’s a solid #2 SP behind CC (assuming he’s healthy) is probably the next place to spend $.

  26. Joba is Einhorn...Einhorn is Joba says:

    Determination of Actual Club Payroll
    (2) Rules of Allocation of Salary
    b. Assignment of Contract
    1. If a Uniform Players Contract is assigned by any means to another MLB club, the Assignor club shall be allocated Salary through the date, and Salary shall begin being allocated to the Assignee club on the following day.

    —The assignee club assumes the contract from the date of the transaction and notice the word “allocated” (earlier in the CBA they use that term to describe how each yearly hit on the tax is figured out). Therefore from the date the contract is assigned a whole new AAV is determined from any moneys owed to the player under the terms of the contract

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      “Salary” for luxury tax purposes is defined as the AAV of the contract for multi-year deals. It’s the remaining AAV of the contract that would be prorated, not the actual dollars. The AAV of the contract would remain the same, how much of the AAV each team would be responsible for would be determined by the date of assignment.

  27. mt says:

    Couple of things

    1) rather than aiming at $177 million (the $189 million less the $12 million in benefits, don’t Yanks actually have to aim at something less than that – they also have to pay the 15 players not on the active roster but who are on 40 man roster (what is that – $1.5 -2 milion) and they may have to allow $6 million for at least one of Arod’s bonuses especially if he comes back this year and hits less than 13. So $177 million may actually be $169 million.
    2) Whether Jeter is at $9.5 million (as listed above) or $15.5 million (as commented above that this may actually be the correct figure) is key given that $81 million is already committed to Arod, Tex, Sabathia and Ichiro and the target may actually be more like $169 million when you take off benefits, the 15 man non-active roster, and the placeholder for Arod’s bonus. Jeter’s $6 million swing is therefore huge when you are taking about either $72 or $78 million fo 20 players (excluding the 4 players above and Jeter), including +$20 million AAV Cano. (I have even omitted the fact Jeter may earn more bonuses like Silver Slugger this year which will make the remaining dollars even tighter). I wonder if someone could ask the Yanks or MLB how Jeter is counted for 2014 with actual dollars?

  28. Mike Myers says:

    I dont understand the issue. With Brackman, Banuelos and Betances starting in 2 years our only expense in SP will be CC and arb Pineda.

  29. JobaWockeeZ says:

    Cashman might have to keep prospects. This will mark a new era.

  30. thomas says:

    Question: Do you have to have 40 men on the 40 man roster? I know that teams make room on the 40 man roster in order to make trades or sign free agents, didn’t know if you could leave them open all year.

  31. joe says:

    Redue the A-Rod Contract, I can’t see how 4 years and 86 Million equals 27.5 Million. Have A-rod Sign a new 5 year Contrct for 100 million with no bonuses. That would save 7.5 million per year. Have Cano sign a 7 year Contract for 175 million with an opt out after 3 years. Pay him less money for the first 3 years. 15 million this year and 20 million for the next three years for a total of 75 million over 4 years which equals 18.75 million per year.

  32. joe says:

    What is the 189 Million luxuary tax based on? If other teams around the league raise their payrolls the that 189 million become 192 million or Higher?

  33. Chris says:

    Regarding Cano, don’t you think the Red Sox involvement with him when he becomes a free agent is a little out of line?

    What are they going to do, ship Pedroia out of town so that they can give Cano tons of money?

    I don’t think the Red Sox are going to be much to worry about when it comes to where Cano lands.

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