The New York Yankees were the talk of the offseason for a short bit. They signed DJ LeMahieu and added Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon to the starting rotation. All good moves. The fans loved them.
But the prevailing story line this offseason is the fact that the team’s ownership is hell-bent on staying under the $210 luxury tax threshold. Yup, the richest organization in the sport is keeping their books tight … down to the penny. This is a team whose prime World Series window is 2021 and 2022. The time is now.
The Yankees of the NL? The Los Angeles Dodgers don’t care about money. They blew by the threshold by signing Trevor Bauer and further bolstering their starting rotation in their push to repeat as World Series champs. They just made the Yankees look like punks.
MLB’s highest-paid player. Unbelievable. Bauer legitimately negotiated just to get a leg up on Gerrit Cole.
And all this a few weeks after Brian Cashman said he was still confident the Yankees would enter 2021 with the game’s highest payroll. How’d that work out? The Dodgers are about to surpass them by $50 million after likely signing Justin Turner.
We know the Dodgers have their “World Series revenue” … but they had zero fans at their playoff games and had limited capacity for the NLCS and World Series in Texas. How much money could it have been, assuming they were splitting it with the Braves and the Rays? Either way, the Dodgers understand their window. They only have a couple of seasons left before they start potentially losing droves of key/star players.
We’re not saying the Yankees don’t realize their window, but they spent so much time getting financially creative in order to remain under the tax and made two moves (while applauded) are still very much risks. Starting pitching is their greatest need and they brought in two guys who have made a combined 15 starts since the beginning of 2019.
Why not go for it all and trade for Kyle Hendricks and go over the tax? Why not bring back Masahiro Tanaka? Why play these games?
The Dodgers are $30 million over the threshold! They do not care. They know they will make the money back with a deep playoff run as society returns to normalcy. Why aren’t the Yankees thinking the same way? It’s clear every other team is avoiding the tax due to financial implications, but we always assumed teams like the Yankees and Dodgers wouldn’t care. They possess the most financial might out of anybody and found themselves in an opportunistic market.
One of those teams did it and capitalized. The other will be hoping that pulling all-nighters to save a few bucks works out.