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Yankees develop conscience, will cut payroll

Dec 4, 2009, 4:56 PM EDT

From the I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it department comes’s Buster Olney’s latest tweet:
Yankees finished org. meetings — they’re cutting payroll. I’m not sure yet by how much, but during season, expectation was to $185 mill.
$185 million would be the team’s tiniest Opening Day payroll since 2004. The team did drop payroll slightly last year, going from $209 million to $202 million, but it’s really hard to imagine that the team would open 2010 under $200 million.
The club is currently on the hook for almost exactly $150 million to Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, A.J. Burnett, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Damaso Marte. That doesn’t count the $4 million due to Kei Igawa, who is no longer on the 40-man roster.
Chien-Ming Wang, Melky Cabrera, Chad Gaudin, Brian Bruney and Sergio Mitre are all arbitration eligible. Perhaps Wang will be non-tendered, but the other four figure to cost about $7 million total.
So, that’s 14 players at $157 million. Other spots will go to Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, David Robertson, Brett Gardner, Alfredo Aceves and Phil Coke, all of whom make the minimum. Now we’re at 20 players and $160 million.
Still, that doesn’t count Andy Pettitte, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui or their replacements. If Hughes and/or Chamberlain are going to be rotation candidates, then a new setup man will be needed. The team will also want a couple of veteran reserves to fill the roles occupied by Eric Hinske and Jerry Hairston Jr. at season’s end. A backup catcher is another possibility, though Francisco Cervelli is a candidate for the job.
Could the Yankees really take care of those needs for $25 million? Pettitte, Damon and Matsui would cost at least $30 million to re-sign, and it’s hard to imagine the Bombers going a whole lot cheaper in any of those spots.
My guess is that the Yankees will be right around $200 million one more time. And they’d probably be doing the rest of the league a favor if they stayed there. While they might not have squeezed as much revenue out of their new ballpark as hoped last season, they still did remarkably well and they made a bunch of money as a result of their World Series victory. There’s every reason to believe the Yankees could squeeze both Matt Holliday and John Lackey into their budget if they really wanted to.

  1. J - Dec 4, 2009 at 5:45 PM

    Why would cutting payroll be “developing a conscience”? The Yankees take in a lot of money. Why is putting that money back into the team supposed to be such a bad thing? The Steinbrenners would rather have rings than yachts; I’d much rather have an owner like that than one who pockets any profits the team makes instead of using them to give the fans a better product.

  2. Stultus Magnus - Dec 4, 2009 at 5:51 PM

    As a Yankee fan and observer of Yankee payroll, I say “I’ll believe it when I see it” to their $185 mil goal…

  3. ecp - Dec 4, 2009 at 6:02 PM

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Yeah, right.
    And according to Jon Heyman, they are going to make a bid on Halladay any time now:
    Not exactly the way to keep the payroll down.

  4. KimG - Dec 4, 2009 at 6:19 PM

    Like “cutting” the payroll down to $200 million is “developing a conscience”? I’m pissed I even read this. That is still a TON more than any other team, so who cares and big deal. The Yankees will spend a ton of money still. They have to BUY the talent since they can’t PRODUCE the talent in their system. Gross.

  5. AliG - Dec 4, 2009 at 6:54 PM

    KimG, you are so very naive. I truly feel sorry for you. I could spout out another list of all the homegrown players that contributed to the yankees success but I doubt you can process this.
    The disparity isn’t in the yankees “buying” free agents, it is in their ability to retain the talent they develop within and also add key pieces through free agency.. To say they can’t produce talent in their system though just shows your blind ignorance.

  6. AJ - Dec 4, 2009 at 6:55 PM

    KimG -> you do realize that in 2009 the Yankees had the highest percentage of homegrown talent on their team than any other team in MLB at 56% don’t you? How do you mean they buy their talent when they’ve got guys like Cabrera in center, Jeter at short, Cano at second, Posada behing the plate, Pettitte/Chamberlain/Hughes pitching to him. Gardner, Cervelli, on the bench, the list goes on and on and on. 5 of the 9 position players on the field at any given time are homegrown besides when CC or AJ are pitching. People like you, who still use the $$/they buy their championships argument, need to get a clue.

  7. AJ - Dec 4, 2009 at 7:12 PM

    Seriously, I can’t get over the stupidity. What the f*ck are you talking about KimG? People as stupid as you annoy me.

  8. AJ - Dec 4, 2009 at 7:13 PM

    Seriously, what are you talking about KimG. People as stupid as you annoy me. I just can’t get over the stupidity, which is why I’m posting again.

  9. pepepopo - Dec 4, 2009 at 7:35 PM

    Why are some people so insistent on having home-grown talent when winning is the name of the game? What team in the last 20 years has won the WS with more home-grown talent than the Yankees?

  10. mike - Dec 4, 2009 at 7:47 PM

    who says they can’t produce there own talent most of the players are home grown

  11. Boston Rob - Dec 4, 2009 at 8:14 PM

    I know you’re not going to like this, Kim G, but I have to agree with the others. I am a die hahd (no spelling error!) Red Sox fan and have been since I’ve been 4 years old. Did it piss me off to watch the Yanks win their 27th? Hell, yeah!! Do I think they bought their championship? Of course! But that’s my bias talkin’. It pains me to write this but it was there homegrown players that outweighed the players they brought on that helped them win their WS. I think what other non Yankees fans are upset about is that some of the players that came through at the plate and in the field in the Playoffs/World Series were not homegrown, i.e. ARod, Damon, Texiera, just to name a few. What’s even more upsetting, if you are a true Yankees Hater as myself, is when one witnesses the Yanks fill in a roster position who is an All Star and they offer an outrageous amount of money to the player and he accepts it with an obvious press conference in which the player states, “I’ve been waiting my whole life to play for this team!” Other ‘scripted’ cliches are used as well but this one makes me puke just a tad in my mouth. By the way, it’s the agent that makes them say that. I know this for a fact; my cousin was the first round draft pick for the Red Sox in ’99 and he has told me a few secrets (not that that is a secret). Anyway, I’ll put my disgust aside and admit that the Yanks did not buy their Series victory. uuggghhh They had a small drought from ’01 to ’08 (sorry Cubs fans and everyone else that hasn’t won in a while) but nonetheless, they didn’t. Now, if you can excuse me, I’m going to pahk my cah in Hahvid Yahd! i hate the yankees!!!!!!!!!

  12. Dan - Dec 4, 2009 at 10:00 PM

    Of course the Yankees bought their championship. That “homegrown” core produced 89 wins the previous year and no playoffs. Nearly $450 million dollars committed to the top three free agents later, they finally win another championship.
    Whoop de bleeping do.
    The Yankees distort competition in a very simple way:
    In 2008, there were a few teams that could generally compete for C.C. Sabathia. But the Yankees were guaranteed to beat out any offer, and in fact there was no real competition for his services. Top free agent pitcher: signed.
    In 2008, lots of teams interested in Mr. Leigh Texeira but the Yankees were ready to make the highest offer of any team likely to consistently contend for a championship. Top free agent: Signed.
    In 2008, even more teams could compete for a pitcher like Burnett. But the Yankees can go to five years because it doesn’t matter what he does when he’s 37, its about what he does now. Second best free agent pitcher available: Signed.
    Again: The “home grown” champions produced 89 wins in 2008. Add not one, two but THE TOP THREE FREE AGENTS and you get 103 wins and another championship.
    Many teams could bid on one of those players. No team could seriously bid on two. The Yankees threw nearly $450 million dollars at them and got all three.
    Anyone who seriously wants to think about the Yankee payroll and its effect on baseball – including the way that the game itself helps to mitigate against the overwhelming advantage the Yankees enjoy should read Joe Posnanski’s blog entry about it.

  13. John F - Dec 4, 2009 at 11:47 PM

    Those were 89 hard earned wins considering Chien Ming Wang got hurt in early June and hasn’t been the same since. Jorge Posada missed the whole summer too. Giambi did his best with 32 homers and 96 RBI on the way out the door, but he’s not Teixeira. Matsui played in only 93 games and only drove in only 45 runs. Darrell Rasner appeared in 24 games, Sidney Ponson in 16, Edwar Ramirez in 55, Jose Veras in 60, Kyle Farnsworth in 45, LaTroy Hawkins in 33, Chris Britton in 15, Dan Geise in 20, Ross Ohlendorf in 25, Ian Kennedy in 10, Billy Traber in 19…I don’t think I need to go on. The difference between 89 wins and 96 or 97 wins and a division title is pretty thin over 162 games, but I’m surprised they came that close. They’ve been averaging 93-95 wins for years with roughly the same all hit no pitching type club. Even though Mike Mussina won 20 games for last year’s club, one more game than C.C. won this year, A.J. did a decent job even as he underwhelmed in his stead. The main difference between this year’s club and last year’s club was Damon and Jeter played better, Posada and Matsui returned to health and their normal production, Swisher improved team chemistry though failing to put up Bobby Abreu like numbers (homers aside), the kiddie core of Cabrera, Chamberlain and Hughes had more experience and they found an ace on the market just like Boston did when they acquired Beckett and Schilling before him. It’s not rocket science. The bullpen was 1000 times better after a shaky start and now they had someone to match up with Beckett, Lester and whomever when they needed a series or in the playoffs. After taking Giambi, Matsui, Farnsworth, Hawkins, Abreu and a couple of others off the payroll that investment isn’t as astronmical as it seems annually. Yes $450M, but that’s in long term commitments to relatively young players. Year over year they were down $7M-$9M. It’s basically a healthier ballclub with better chemistry and some kids that are coming on. They added an ace. The offense was always there and god knows Mariano is always there. Last year’s team fought hard and nearly erased a double digit game lead before running out of time. They just weren’t very good last year all around, but particularly with regard to pitching. Plus Tampa Bay played great last year. Hats off to them. The only difference, to me, is that the Yankees actually had some pitching to shut other teams down for the first time since 2001. Otherwise they get knocked out again. They’ve been throwing money at the problem for years, but now that they finally got it right the venom and the hatred is even more palpable. Oh well…

  14. Michael Fiore - Dec 5, 2009 at 4:23 PM

    cant produce the talent in their system—hahahahaha Jeter, Posada, Cano, Melky, Rivera, Hughes, Wang, Pettitte, Coke, Robertson

  15. Ralphie - Dec 5, 2009 at 8:09 PM

    I don’t think I’d be bragging about Wang. He’s a complete mess now and contributed nothing to the championship. Maybe you meant Chamberlain? Without buying Sabathia, ARod, Tex and Burnett, they don’t win, simple as that.

  16. YankeeBill - Dec 6, 2009 at 9:58 AM

    Kim…you’re so right. They can’t develop any talent.
    Robinson Cano
    Derek Jeter
    Jorge Posada
    Melky Cabrera
    Brett Gardner
    Andy Pettitte
    Mariano Rivera
    Phil Hughes
    Joba Chamberlain
    David Robertson
    Now, get back in the kitchen!

  17. Joe - Dec 6, 2009 at 8:04 PM

    The Yankees have needs like every other team in MLB. The Yankees should look to sign: Mark DeRosa inf/of, Rick Ankiel of/dh/rhrp, Jason Bay of/dh, Justin Duchscherer rhsp/rp, Ben Sheets rhsp, Jerry Hairston jr. inf/of, Mike Gonzales lhrp.
    Only Jason Bay would be large money contract signing.
    Rick Ankiel for outfield backup and spot relief pitcher.
    Both Hairston and DeRosa can back up most field positions.
    Both Duchscherer and Sheets can be slotted into starting spots.
    Duchscherer have been a relief pitcher in past and can be used that way.
    Gonzales is a very good relief pitcher.
    Chin-Ming Wang still has a way to go before he comes back.
    Having both Hairston and DeRosa as backups to position players saves player spaces on team. Same could be said for Ankiel as he can backup the relief pitchers.
    The Yankees need to bring up from the minors: Jackson of
    Yankees team outlook:
    1Base Teixeira / Swisher
    2Base Cano / Hairston*
    3Base A-Rod / DeRosa*
    Short Stop Jeter / Hairston*
    Catcher Posada / Cervelli
    Right Field Swisher / DeRosa*
    Left Field Bay* / Ankiel*
    Center Field Cabrera / Gardner
    Extra Outfielder Jackson
    Sabathia / Pettitte
    Burnett / Sheets*
    Duchscherer* / Gaudin
    Long Relief
    Gaudin / Coke / Duchscherer*
    7th/8th Inning
    Hughes / Chamberlian
    Robertson / Coke
    Extra Relief
    Closer Rivera

  18. Joe - Dec 6, 2009 at 8:45 PM

    By the way the Yankees would have to trade off a few players and get back lower paid players to really have a chance to get down to $185 million for the team to go with the teams needed players from free agency. 46 million coming off and about 36 to 40 million going back on, this does not get down to $185 without the extra trades of lower paid players. Unless except for trade off and just bring up minor league players.
    Ok and I made a mistake on #17 above. Remove Jackson as extra outfielder and place Mike Gonzalas as a relief pitcher for 7th / 8th innings.
    One other thing why did they let Shelly Duncan walk as a free agent? Not getting nothing back is bad. As he could have been traded for a couple of lower minor league players from another team. A few teams could have used him and the players the Yankees would have gotten back would be so low no team would have picked them up as rule 5 players.

  19. Joe - Dec 6, 2009 at 9:41 PM

    The Yankees make money and put that money right back into the team.
    The Yankees pay out money to MLB to the lower level teams { more then any other team}. A few other teams pay out too, but not as much as the Yankees. The Yankees as the away team in other ballparks draw more fans for the home team then any other team. The Yankees make more money for the other teams and MLB than any other team.===================================================== Now lets be real most low level small market teams that get money from the top teams do not { do not } take this money and put it back into the team. The owner puts the money into the pocket and runs the team into the ground. Thisa was not the way it was to be done. The baseball commissioner was to watch out for this but he is the one who lets it be done. He has never been good for baseball. All he is and was {a low level small market team owner}that his family still owns the team. Hes still looking out for himself. He should have never been the commissioner of baseball {conflict of interests}. All that this does is ruin it for the fans of there teams that never see the light of day. The low level teams make more money and have no need to have a better team. ***{better team means no money coming in from MLB means lower profits}. Better team means more to pay out to players in contracts, more fans, better won / lost record, lower profits. This is just a bad system in place and the conflit of interest commissioner should not be part of it. Not stop hating the Yankees for the wrong reasons. The Yankees are only following what MLB has set up {Free Agency}. If the Yankees stop doing what they do all the teams lose money, why the hell don’t you think MLB has not changed it yet. Money talks and the fan is not cared about except for the top teams that make the money for themselves.

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