The phrase “financial challenges” does not really have any business sharing the same sentence with “New York Yankees”. After all, if other teams had the option of experiencing or anticipating the same “financial challenges” that the New York Yankees are facing, I think more than a few teams would be more than happy to accept. Before I end up misleading anyone, allow me to clarify. The New York Yankees aren’t struggling to pay their bills or anything, but ownership does appear serious (subscription required) about getting below a $189 million payroll by 2014.
This story actually isn’t anything new and has actually been swirling around since Major League Baseball agreed to their new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The new CBA offers larger incentives for clubs to stay below the luxury tax threshold and levies heavier consequences to those that don’t – heavier consequences such as a 50% tax for every dollar over the threshold. There has been plenty of talk about the Yankees getting under this threshold ($189 million) ever since. I just haven’t touched on it much here.
At this point I don’t think it is anything to get too worked up over, but it is definitely a development to be aware of over the next two seasons. We have seen the Yankees reign in spending (somewhat) in recent years (recent years after 2009) so perhaps this is something that was in the works for some time already – just not on such a short timetable. One thing that the Yankees won’t stop doing is fielding teams that have an annual shot at winning the World Series. Hal Steinbrenner makes this point in the full article. Even if he didn’t reinforce it, we all know the Yankees are and will remain committed to winning championships. No threshold is going to change that. As a matter of fact, Bryan Hoch brings us this tasty nugget from GM Brian Cashman.
This goal will play a very large role in the immediate future though. IF Cole Hamels or Zack Greinke hit the open market after this season, they would each represent attractive free agent options for the Yanks. Will the $189 million target throw a wrench into those plans though? It’s very possible. Perhaps even more so when you consider the state of the offense – Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson will need to be extended or re-signed by 2014. I spoke about Swisher here. However, the fate of the other two has not been discussed much yet. Not by me on here at least. While I’m not completely sure of where I stand on Granderson beyond his current contract (team holds a $13 million option for 2013), I do think re-signing Cano is a no-brainer.
I’m not going to spend TOO much time spilling ink on individual hypothetical situations right now, but I get the sense that the New York Yankees are pretty serious about significantly lowering payroll over the next couple of years. There will definitely be deeper and more detailed talk relating to this in the future. This is just my two cents for right now.
For more fear and fret regarding the New York Yankees and their impending penny pinching, follow me on twitter @craigmwilliams.