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Yes, Virginia, the Yankees do have a budget

Nov 18, 2011, 8:26 AM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Getty Images

If you Googled the phrase “buy a championship,” I suspect that the words “New York Yankees” would appear in approximately 92% of the results that came back.  For non-Yankees fans it’s simply part of the brand now. The assumption, held for years, that money is no object in the Bronx.

Except money is an object. At least relatively speaking.  Sure, the Yankees spend more than anyone else, but they do have a budget and an increasing reluctance to break that budget.  If you don’t believe me, go read Marc Carig’s story about that in the Star-Ledger this morning.

These Yankees work with budgets — yes, still the largest war chest in the game — but limits nonetheless … according to people with knowledge of the team’s thinking who requested anonymity to speak candidly, the Yankees came away from the GM meetings Thursday skeptical of their willingness to meet the asking price of top free agents such as pitcher C.J. Wilson or Japanese star pitcher Yu Darvish.

Indeed, it’s so bad that Brian Cashman is actually sleeping on the streets like a homeless person!

I guess there’s a philosophical discussion to be had about the nature of the Yankees budget.  I mean, Bill Gates could have a budget. May in fact have one. As a point of principle he doesn’t want to be wasteful and he wants to set a good example for his kids, so he makes it clear that, say, the family can’t eat out at restaurants more than X times a month or something.  Say what you want about that, but it is, technically speaking, a budget. It’s just not the same kind of thing as one that the family with the unemployed parents and the big medical bills have.

And it seems to me that the key thing about a budget is that, if you can simply choose to break it and the breaking of it brings no real negative financial consequences, it was really only a budget in the most narrow, technical sense of that term.

  1. Jonny 5 - Nov 18, 2011 at 8:41 AM

    I can’t blame them much for not wanting to exceed 200 million dollars. I can sit back and wonder how it is they have only one stellar pitcher on their staff with that size payroll, but that’s besides the point. I guess I can also sit back and wonder how the Phillies have such an (at times, crucial times) anemic offense with their salary too. But like I said, besides the point.

    • uyf1950 - Nov 18, 2011 at 9:59 AM

      Jonny 5 my friend. I take exception to your classification of the Yankees only having 1 stellar pitcher. Have you forgotten about AJ Burnett? Never mind he’s atrocious.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 18, 2011 at 10:12 AM

        LOL!! Well, I should have said “starting pitcher” uyf. Because after thinking about it they do have pretty stellar relievers.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:45 AM

        Yup. The best two relievers in the AL (arguably). And the highest-paid set-up man. *facepalm*

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:36 PM

        What’s the latest on “Mr. Facepalm set up guy”? Is he going to be throwing things in spring training?

      • Kevin S. - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:00 PM

        Hopefully for another team.

      • deathmonkey41 - Nov 18, 2011 at 6:18 PM

        Ivan Nova is pretty good and apparently forgotten.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:19 PM

        I like Nova, but calling him “stellar” is quite a reach.

  2. Bryz - Nov 18, 2011 at 8:43 AM

    Reading the title of this article, I was expecting to read about a Virginian(s) that were upset with the Yankees’ spending.

  3. uyf1950 - Nov 18, 2011 at 8:49 AM

    If anyone is interested here’s a link that was written about the “Yankees Budget”. Basically it go on to say the Yankees have a “target area” and that more than being constricted by a budget number they are constricted by “roster spots”.

    But like I said if your interested take a minute and read the piece.

  4. Detroit Michael - Nov 18, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    Probably the Yankees realize (and have for money years) that spending additional dollars when the team already is good enough to consistently make the playoffs doesn’t regularly produce additional revenue that justifies the marginal investment. In short, their sh!t doesn’t work in the playoffs either.

    • Bryz - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:21 AM

      “Money years”? Are we living Justin Timberlake’s “In Time” now?

      • Detroit Michael - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:32 AM

        Should be “many years”

  5. uyf1950 - Nov 18, 2011 at 8:58 AM

    If I may take a minute for just a very brief change of topic.

    Let’s all wish CJ Wilson who today turns 31 years old a very Happy Birthday. And may most if not all of his birthday wishes come true. May we all wish for and be granted a 6 year/$120MM guaranteed employment contract. Happy Birthday – CJ.

  6. paperlions - Nov 18, 2011 at 8:58 AM

    As currently constructed the Yankees are nearly a lock to make the playoffs, so to sign an expensive FA pitcher, doesn’t he have to represent a CLEAR upgrade over what they have for the playoffs? The regular season isn’t irrelevant…but nearly so as they will make the playoffs with or without additional pitchers. So…if Darvish and Wilson aren’t clearly better than their top 3 (plus they have some nice arms getting close to the majors), what is the point in going after them?

  7. yankeesfanlen - Nov 18, 2011 at 9:25 AM

    Craig, your last paragraph says it all. The Yankees have a budget until they don’t have a budget. Or when Hank has a passing notion.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:42 AM

      There is no Hank, only Zuul

  8. The Common Man - Nov 18, 2011 at 9:54 AM

    The more I see Brian Cashman doing crazy stuff in the offseason for charity and to raise awareness for social problems, the more I really dig him. I really wish it was possible to root for him personally while continuing to hate the Yankees and all they represent.

    • uyf1950 - Nov 18, 2011 at 10:03 AM

      Oh, you must mean the millions upon millions of dollars the Yankees donate to worthwhile causes and the needy each year. Unlike most of the “other” MLB teams. I can see why you would hate them for all they represent.

      • paperlions - Nov 18, 2011 at 10:14 AM

        Why do assume other teams don’t donate millions to charities? If non-NYers don’t know about the Yankees largess, it is reasonable to assume that you aren’t familiar with that of other teams either.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 18, 2011 at 10:36 AM

        paperlions, why do you “assume” I am unaware of what what “other” teams may be doing. You know what they say about people that “assume”.

        But to answer your question about the Yankees and “others” not being aware of their charitable efforts. Their efforts have been mentioned many times not only this site in the past but on many of the “sports blogs”. So if a person follows any of the sports blogs or the Yankees with any regularity as apparently “The Common Man” must to have such a strong opinion of them they can’t help but be aware of what they do outside the “sports arena”. At least that’s my opinion.

      • paperlions - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:23 PM

        Fine Mr. awareness….please list the “other” MLB teams that are unlike the Yankees in their charitableness. I assume you can just give a complete rundown of all other 29 teams off top of your head…knowing as you do that “other” MLB teams are cheap uncaring bastards compared to the mighty Yankees.

        My comment was clearly about the “other” MLB teams about which you appear to be making an assumption because no evidence was provided to support your contention; it had nothing whatsoever to do with the Yankees.

        PS: When you spout off crap without support (such as stating that other teams don’t give to charities), the proper response is to provide information to support your allegations, not to be a snotty prick.

      • The Common Man - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:24 PM

        I can see we’re all going to get up in arms over a tongue-in-cheek comment. Good, that’s productive.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:37 PM

        Common Man – Who’s up in arms, not me. I have but one basic rule when it comes to blogs. When the comments/attacks start to get personal or crude. I ignore them.

    • lazlosother - Nov 18, 2011 at 10:16 AM

      Because rooting for a team with an insanely rich owner who pockets a tidy profit while screaming poverty, and tries to have his team contracted is ever so much better, right?

      • uyf1950 - Nov 18, 2011 at 10:51 AM

        Oh, you mean rooting for a team with an insanely rich owner (unlike most of the other Team Owners) one who pockets a tidy profit but yet still is willing to reinvest most of that money in fielding the best possible team. As for the Yankees crying poverty? That’s a new one to me. I’ve followed the Yankees for nearly 60 years and I’ve never heard them “cry poverty”. Unless you mean them complaining about “revenue sharing and the luxury tax” money that goes to “other” insanely rich owners.

        Listen, I have absolutely no problem with fans hating, disliking or any other term one chooses to use about the Yankees. But at least those fans should have the courage to admit the real reason for their feelings. And the reason as I see it is that the Yankees are successful, very, very successful. In fact the most successful MLB Team in history. And people and fans resent and yes “hate” them for that. Let me tell you very few people hate the Mets or the Cubs and they have or at least in the Mets case (before the Madoff thing) had/have very rich owners. But nobody hates them and that’s because they stink. And that’s calling it like it is. Sorry, if people can’t accept that.

      • lazlosother - Nov 18, 2011 at 10:55 AM

        I wasn’t referring to the Yankees in my post.

      • cogitobaseballergosum - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:25 AM

        Emily Litella lives.

      • The Common Man - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:23 PM

        I’ve always found it satisfactory. Much more so since the guy you’re referring to is dead.

  9. randygnyc - Nov 18, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    The most important factor to consider with the Yankees budget is often over looked by fans and pundits alike. Yankees only really have 2 viable options in obtaining talent. Development and free agency. The third possibility, of which all other teams partake in, trading, is extra difficult for the yankees. Yankee management has long been aware that most other MLB teams will not negotiate in good faith with them. Consider our last endeavor with seatle regarding Cliff Lee. A deal was in place. It was reneged on, in the witching hour, involving a far inferior player package that seatle received. In essence, seatle took a worse deal just to avoid doing business with the Yankees. It happens yearly at the trade deadline. Yankees reach out to trading teams, only to be EXTORTED. Ultimately, we see these teams trade with other teams. Yankees can’t seem to get deals done. Their only recourse against this collusion has been utilizing their resources during free agency.

    • dan1111 - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:20 PM

      Those poor Yankees, not being able to make trades because all the other teams are meanies!

      I am very skeptical that what you suggest is true. I have a hard time believing that teams refuse to make trades that they think are beneficial, just because they want to stick it to the Yankees.

      Blockbuster deals rarely occur. Trades fall through all the time. So, it may appear that the Yankees are getting shortchanged, but in reality they are probably no different than anyone else in this regard.

      • randygnyc - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:00 PM

        I didn’t recall typing that anyone should feel sorry for the Yankees. Just an understanding of their operational procedures

        Btw, I can’t recall the last important trade the Yankees were involved with at a deadline that they got finished, although they’ve negotiated for many, many players. In fact, the last significant trade they managed was for granderson. A complicated deal that always ends the same for the Yankees, exporting inexpensive, young talent in exchange for what amounts to a salary dump for the other team.

    • marinersnate - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:35 PM

      “seatle” (x3)

      Can we safely assume that you were trying to type “Seattle”? You know, coffee, rain, very bad MLB team, very bad NFL team, rain, Space Needle, Mt. Rainier, no NBA team (although that is no longer unique), Ichiro, salmon, rain, King Felix. You know, that place?

      You crazy niw yuRkers’….

  10. APBA Guy - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    The point of the Yankees’ budget is more about the depressing effect of the Luxury Tax than about the Yankees’ willingness or ability to pay for talent. The big reason you see teams approaching $ 200M but not going over is that the Luxury Tax adds so much to any expenditure once the threshold is crossed.

    And uyf, you are right on. Most people hate the Yankees because they win with swagger. It’s never more obvious than when they play a “small” team like the A’s. The Yankees (and Boston) players act like they a) know how to win and b) fully expect to win. Whereas the A’s act like they would rather be back in the hotel playing Nintendo.

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