With the addition of Masahiro Tanaka, the New York Yankees have blown past the $189 million luxury tax threshold. As a result, the organization will be taxed at an astounding 50 percent rate in 2014.
Hal Steinbrenner claimed one of the team’s goals heading into the offseason was to keep payroll under that $189 million mark but not at the cost of fielding a championship team. Now that they’ve eclipsed the threshold, however, there’s no reason for New York to curtail its spending. They already lost the battle of the luxury tax. Now they’re hellbent on winning the impending battle of the American League East, and no ridiculous free agent price tag will stop them from achieving that goal. The Yankees can now employ a no holds barred approach in upgrading any position that needs help – they have nothing more to lose.
A typical Bombers fan’s response to this strategy of shoveling cash into the furnace that is the New York Yankees is something along the lines of, “What do I care? It’s not my money. I’m glad we have owners that are willing to spend their cash on the team.” The latter is definitely true — the Steinbrenners have an unbelievable commitment to winning. The former, however, isn’t totally accurate. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but actually it is your money that’s being spent.
It’s your money and my money and every Yankees fan’s money. It costs a small fortune to spend an evening at Yankee Stadium. The average non-premium ticket price for a Yankees game last year was $51.55, and that’s likely to increase along with the payroll. We’re the ones who pay $30 to park in a garage and $6 for a 12 ounce beer. We buy special edition t-shirts, jerseys, caps and all sorts of memorabilia to display our allegiance (team stores in 2013 featured everything with Mariano Rivera’s retirement patch and you can bet we’re going to do it all over again with Derek Jeter).
The Steinbrenners’ commitment to putting a championship team on the field year in and year out is unmatched, and winning makes the Yankees’ exorbitant spending acceptable. Still, it’s the fans who fork over the cash to go to games; it’s the fans who replenish the Steinbrenner bank account; and it’s the fans who will indirectly pay the salaries of the 2014 Yankees.