1. Stop Trying to Save Money When a Championship is on the Line
You’ve heard plenty that the Yankees’ revenue continues to grow each and every year while the payroll remains stagnant. Twice in the last four years Hal Steinbrenner demanded this team dip under the luxury tax threshold, which ended up saving anywhere between $5-$15 million — a fraction of this organization’s net worth.
We’re not saying the Yankees need a $275 million payroll every single year to contend, and we do appreciate that the figure is consistently over $200 million, but when you see a clear window to put yourself over the edge by spending a few more million, you simply do it when you’re the richest organization in the sport. What the Yankees have been doing is the equivalent of going on an expensive date and drawing the line at dessert. What’s the extra few bucks going to do? The majority of the money has already been spent.
Forget about the payroll figure though, because we know how amateur it sounds to simply yell “spend more!” over and over. The problem here is that the Yankees’ decision making outside of spending big money has been bad, and one could even argue their moves to acquire Giancarlo Stanton and sign Gerrit Cole to a market-setting contract weren’t great (especially if the team was going to use those contract as an excuse not to open their purse more).
Look at all the trades that have failed. Look at the two contract extensions (Aaron Hicks and Luis Severino) that were supposed to help the team’s flexibility in the long run. Look at the various bullpen expenditures that have blown up in their face. Some moves have worked and it’s a reason why the Yankees are contending, but so many more have failed, which is a more serious reason they’re failing.
But the problems can be solved by just spending a bit more. What if they opted to hike the payroll to $240 million last year? We might not even be writing this article. And there’s no reason they can’t do it. Hal just doesn’t want to. And that’s no excuse when you have a team with a championship-or-bust mentality each and every year.