The New York Yankees need to sign a guy like Michael Morse now, because the window on the Yankees being competitive is closing fast. They’re old, have injuries, and need a right-handed bat yet ownership has decided they will not sign anyone else this offseason. The Yankees also need help in the bullpen, because the pitching staff is unpredictable at best. The need to win now is because 2013 will be the last season the Yankees will be competitive for a long time.
The walls are about to crumble in Gotham City and Hal Steinbrenner is to blame, thanks to his desire to get the team’s payroll down in 2014. Although he does make a good case, is he trying to convince himself or the fans that the Yankees can still be competitive when he cuts payroll? He seems to care more about the team’s bottom line than he does about winning. Growing up watching all that his late father, George Steinbrenner,accomplished, it is hard to believe Hal would want to destroy what his father built but he’s going to.
The Yankees bring in a lot of money. They have their own TV station, a new stadium, are one of the most marketable teams in MLB, and play in the biggest TV market in sports. Even with a high payroll and the luxury tax that comes with it, the Yankees will make as much money as any other team in baseball. Why change the way a company is being run if it is making money and doing well? The only answer is greed. The Yankees already pay the tax and a little more to win seems like a fair exchange to stay on top.
However, Steinbrenner feels it is time to change and uses the luxury tax as an excuse to line his pockets because he knows people can relate to not wanting to pay more money in taxes. His plan to get greedy will backfire because he picked the absolute worst time to do this. In 2014, Derek Jeter will be all that’s left from the core-four that won so many games and championships for the Yankees, Robinson Cano will want a new contract with a big raise and all of the 2013 one-year contracts will be gone, with no one in the Yankees’ minor league system major-league ready. With the way the Yankees are doing business now, will Cano even be back in 2014?
With this new approach, the Yankees may have put together a good enough team to get fans in those expensive seats in 2013, but Yankee fans will not pay to see a loser. The Yankees couldn’t even fill the expensive box seats during the 2012 playoffs; it wasn’t talked about much, but the Yankees had a lot of empty seats in the ALCS and ALDS.
Walking into Yankee Stadium is like walking into a palace, it takes your breath away. The stadium is amazing and has everything, the most important thing it has, in Hal’s eyes, is the insanely expensive luxury boxes and seats down by the field that no average fan will ever get to be in.
The point is this: the Yankees are making a ton of money, more than any other MLB team, so they need to continue to spend to keep the team afloat. The problem they are about to run into is the fans in New York are smart–they will not keep spending $30.00 just to park to go see bad baseball.
The 2013 Yankees have a chance, but after that, the Yankees will need to rebuild and it is going to be a long time until they are good again. The Yankees were on top for so many years and traded away so much young talent to stay there that it will be that much harder to rebuild. New York fans expect things to get a lot worse before it gets better.
This is an awful business move by Hal and a big mess he won’t be able to hide from. He may not realize this now, but he will when fans stop spending money to come to games when this new way turns the Yankees into a bottom feeder for the next decade.
When those fans do stop spending their hard earned money to watch a last place team, Hal may then realize that to make money you have to spend money.