Saturday, December 5, 2009

Yankees to Cut Payroll...

In the last two days I have seen a flurry of stories and blog posts about how the Yankees plan on shedding payroll for the coming 2010 season. For the Yankees that would mean dropping from about $205 million down to the more reasonable, yet still absurd level of $185 million.

It's not that I don't believe the Yankees will cut payroll, and not that I don't think they should considering they could be much, much more efficient with their money. However, what I think has been missed by the general tone of the stories is the biggest motivation for the Yankees to get their spending under control. That motivation would have to be the free agent class that will be after the 2010 season.

This class is highlighted by jewels like Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, Joe Mauer and Carl Crawford on the position player side and an absurd amount of pitching talent. The Yankees are simply biding their time until the real talent hits the market.

Much like the winter of 2007-08, the Yankees should take a step back backward if it means a huge leap forward a year from now. That may mean letting Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon walk. It also may mean that the Yankees have to put their faith in Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes to round out the rotation.

The only move the Yankees must absolutely make is bringing back Andy Pettitte. Pettitte is an exact fit for what the Bombers need and he comes without the massive commitment it would take to get either John Lackey or Roy Halladay.

Sitting back would simply mean you shed to aging outfielders (Damon and Matsui at $13 mil a piece), a catcher without a bat (Jose Molina at $2 mil), another outfielder without a throwing arm (no I'm not double counting Damon I'm talking about Xavier Nady at $6.5 mil) and a broken down pitcher (Chien-Ming Wang at $5 mil).

That is close to $40 million dollars coming off the books this off season. That leaves the Yankees with $166 million committed to next season before arbitration numbers are handed out. Add in Pettitte and the Yanks will be right around $180 million. Subtract a few more expiring contracts for next season and the Yankees will have boat loads of cash to spend next off season.

Brian Cashman would loathe wasting any of that future money on either Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, both of whom are inferior when stacked up against what you could get for the same amount of money and years next off season. So for one off season the Yankees appear to be putting their check book back in their pocket and it couldn't be a smarter move.


Dan said...

That's why I don't want the Sox to blow their wad on something stupid like giving Matt Holliday $150 million.

Rob A from BBD said...

Pujols is not going to be a free agent after this season. They have a club option that will get picked up.

Dennis said...

There is also almost zero chance Joe Mauer will be a free agent. He will be signing a rather significant contract with Minnesota within the next few months.

Peter said...

Yea I missed the asterisk next to Pujols and hopefully for the sake of baseball Mauer is still in Minnesota in 2011. I suppose now that Pohlad is gone as owner the Twins might actually spend to keep their best player. Plus they should have some incentive to spend money with the new stadium opening next year.

Mauer is about the only thing that would make me go outside in Minnesota in April or October.