Jan. 24, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner talks to the media after Jorge Posada announces his retirement after 17 years during a press conference at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Could The New York Yankees Be Doing Away With Their Payroll Plans?

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.

From 01-08, the Yankees signed some of the top free agents. They didn’t win a single world championship. (Image: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

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.

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  • Bill B

    Interesting piece but again what is with this anti A-Rod campaign. It is like a disease among the young writers on your staff. Is he better than Youk? Yep. Hands down. I don’t think there are as many Yankee fans willing to trade him as you think. His stats are excellent and the Yanks will do no better without him. I think he comes back strong and silences critics. He will come back in July. Hit 25 home runs and drive in 50 or so and it will never be enough. I don’t get it.

    • Hunter Farman

      I’m not against A-Rod as an on-field player, per say – I just think that he has become an unfortunate clubhouse cancer to the team. I also recall seeing somewhere that A-Rod and Youkilis are not very different players at this point in their careers.

      You say A-Rod will come back in July and hit 25 homers, but that’s a little insane given the fact that he hasn’t hit more than 20 since 2010.

      I hope A-Rod does prove me wrong, but as of now – I just don’t see him coming back and being a great player. Thanks for reading as always, Bill.

  • Vinny

    It’s hard for me to believe that Hal didn’t learn from his father that if you want to win, you put the best players on the field. This means spending money. George did this for a thousand years. I do not wish to be mean but I don’t think Hal is the best person to be running this team. I know it’s his but I don’t think he really gets it. As far as the A-Rod situation goes, I think his best days are behind him. I know hindsight is 20/20 but extending his contract for 10 more years was a big mistake by Mr. Hal.

  • Mattinglyinthehall

    The whole process of getting the Yankees under new tax threshold has been a disaster. It made (and still makes) good business sense for the Yankees. But any good business starts such an endeavor with a medium to long term plan.

    This should have included trading for or signing young, inexpensive talent in the earliest stags of the process.

    But to back out of it now, after 2 seasons of cutting corners would be even worse.

    Regarding a previous comment, I wouldn’t praise George’s record quite so heartily. He hated the idea of developing talent from within and decimated the Yankees farm system by trading away all of the franchises best prospects for overpaid aging former stars who never lived up to their billing. This practice drove the team into the cellar by the late 80s and it didn’t turn around until George was banned from baseball and Gene Michael was allowed to commit to a true rebuild.

    It’s highly likely that, had George been around in the early 90s, none of Bernie, Jeter, Rivera, Posada and Pettitte would be regarded as Yankee greats today.

    • Vinny

      I can’t argue with that. There were more players in the majors in the 80′s and 90′s from the Yankee farm system than any other team. As far as the Stick goes I had the pleasure of talking to him one on one for 3 hours (he was stuck next to me on a flight to NY) and he is an incredibly smart baseball man. But I also think George’s spending helped more than it hurt. Remember when his group bought the Yanks from CBS they were terrible. I also think as the 2000′s started he got better at keeping prospects. Cano, Gardner. Sorry we lost Montero and Jackson.

  • Corethree

    Arod? I’d say just give him away to someone as a gift, like the astro’s, seriously, no joking here, i’m serious. Cano? I’m still not convinced that we should retain him. I’ve been told i’m wrong, thats cool, i can take it. I think a lot of the reasons fans want to keep him is just wishful thinking because they like him and have heard good things about him and they hear a lot of people say, gotta keep Cano! gotta keep Cano! I’ve also heard people say not such good things about him, like he’s lazy or doesn’t care. Well, i don’t believe that either. But i do believe the $ can be better spent. Ok? Let her rip.

    • http://YanksGoYard.com/ Matt Hunter

      That’s a perfectly reasonable opinion, and I’m not even sure I disagree. He will cost a fortune, and may end up getting one of the largest contracts of all time if he puts up another MVP-caliber season. The question is, would the money be better spent somewhere else? They would need to fill second base, and I’m not sure they have anyone in the minors ready to replace Cano. I do think he’s a very special and talented player, but i can’t help but worry that the Yankees would regret the contract by the end of it.

      As far as A-Rod, there’s no way any team would take A-Rod “as a gift” unless the Yankees paid basically all of his salary. But in that case, what would be the point. He might still have some value left, so to just give him away without saving money seems like a waste. I think they’re stuck with him until his contract ends or he retires.

    • Hunter Farman

      They don’t have to sign him to a long-term deal. Perhaps something like a 6-year contract with an option for a 7th would suffice if the money were right. I don’t think that there is anybody that the Yankees could spend money on that would be as effective as Cano is.

  • Vinny

    I have a problem with Youk getting 12 or 13 mil for 1 year. he’s gonna help seeing as double-play Rod is out, but that’s too much. Just my opinion.

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