For the past few years now, Yankees fans have heard the same song over and over again. Higher-ups have continuously said that the Yankees will lower payroll to $189 million by the 2014 season in order to avoid the luxury tax. There have been varied opinions from everybody regarding this situation, but it appears as though things could be changing in Yankee-land.
On February 20th, Wallace Matthews of ESPN posted a story in which he talks about how Hal Steinbrenner could be changing his stance on the team’s payroll. Adamant up to this point, it appears as though Hal is not too pleased with the backlash that has arisen from his decision. He realizes that many teams in the game of baseball are taking on larger payrolls in order to win. It’s a simple theory: the best players cost the most money to own, and in order to own these players, teams must shell out a large sum of money. It appears that Hal understands that the Yankees need to have a larger payroll in order to compete right now. He does not want himself or the Yankees to appear “cheap.”
So what does this mean for the future of the team?
Well first and foremost, the Yankees will once again bid hard after the game’s hottest free agents. However, after everything that has happened with Alex Rodriguez, the team must be very careful when it comes to giving out long-term contracts to aging stars. This can be tricky, but it can definitely be done.
Speaking of Rodriguez, the Yankees could also use their now limitless payroll to eat up a large sum of his contract, and trade him to another team. I’m not going to get into the reasons as to why the Yankees must get rid of A-Rod, as so much has been said about it already. There must be at least one team in baseball who would be willing to part with a few prospects in return for Rodriguez at a major discount.
In addition to signing free agents, the Yankees can resign their players in order to keep them from reaching free agency. The first name that comes to mind is Robinson Cano. There is no doubt in anybody’s mind that Cano is the best player that the Yankees have. If they were to lose him, they would lose a tremendous piece of the team as a whole. As we all know, Cano brings a significant amount of offense to the lineup, alongside a tremendous glove in the field. Cano has already said that he will not give the Yankees a “hometown discount,” so the Yankees must do what they can to keep Cano. With other teams ready to spend a ton of money on Cano, the Yankees must make sure that he does not reach free agency. In order to do this, the Yankees must do away with their old policy of not negotiating contracts in the middle of the season, and reach an agreement.
While Hal Steinbrenner doing away with his payroll plans may sound like music to a Yankees fan’s ears, the Yankees must still be very wary of the deals that they make. Remember, the Yankees signed many top free agents to lucrative deals from 2001-2008, and they ended up with a grand total of zero World Series championships. If these reports are indeed true, it will certainly be interesting to see how the Yankees progress in the future.