Yankee fans are worried. I have heard them call in to MLBN radio, I have read their fears on blogs. The confident, usually arrogant tone doesn't seem to exist anymore. For the first time in over a decade, Yankee fans are realizing they are in a mess and they can't buy their way out of it. The Steinbrenner brothers have all but committed to the fact that they will reset the luxury tax penalty on the Yankees. The Yankees have paid this fee for 10 consecutive years and the bill totaled 18.9M this year alone. USA Today has published two articles linked below summing up the Yankee issues moving forward."New York has run up a luxury tax bill of $224.2 million over the past decade, with the fee increasing from $13.9 million last year. The Yankees' tax rate rose from 40 percent to 42.5 percent this year and figures to climb to 50 percent next season."
So far the Yankees have already felt this affect by signing guys to only one year deals, refusing to lock themselves into long-term deals realizing what they have to remove before opening day 2014. In 2012 the Yankees payroll was at an all-time high of 223.3 million. Managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner says he wants the payroll reduced to $189 million by 2014, when stiffer luxury-tax penalties kick in for payrolls above that figure. The Yankees already have more than $204 million on the books for this year.
Lets assume that by the end of the season the Yankees will have cut 15 million off their 2012 payroll coming in around 208 million. To get down to 189 million for next season the Yankees would still need to cut almost another 20 million after the season.For 2014 the Yankees will have around 81 million committed to only four players. Alex Rodriguez at $27.5 million, CC Sabathia at $24.4 million, Mark Teixeira at $22.5 million, Ichiro Suzuki at $6.5 million. Boy doesn't that Arod contract look awful. One thing I am unsure of is if he is unfit to play and all the insurance mumbo jumbo kicks in if that amount will still count towards luxury tax. For now, knowing Arod's ego, I am assuming he will be back and worse than ever.Jeter has an option year at a team friendly 8M that is bound to be picked up, especially considering it has a 3M buyout.Then comes arbitration. The article below from Yankee Analysts does a great job of summing all this up.2014 Payroll Outlook And The Current Effect
"There are also a few arbitration players that’ll receive raises, and we have to guess at those. Brett Gardner
, who’s making $2.85 million in 2013, might see up to $5 million in his third arbitration year. David Robertson
, who made $1.6 million in 2012, could see about $6 million in 2014. Then the first year arbitration players Francisco Cervelli
and Clay Rapada
will probably get around $1 million, with Ivan Nova
getting around $2 million. Again, these are educated guesses, but the total is $15 million."You are now at close to 105 million with a total of 10 players. Trying to fill out the rest of the roster with only 85M left won't be easy to do and as the author points out you still have to include player benefits so the actual amount available may only be closer to 75M.So I said all that to say this.Will business be as usual with Robinson Cano? Cano, ranked by most as a top 10 player in the MLB has reportedly discussed a contract extension with the Yankees but they are worlds apart.Heyman sums it up here:Yanks, Cano have work to do to reach deal before free agency hits
"Early indications are that they begin with at least a significant difference in either talent assessment or valuation, suggesting a decent likelihood that Cano -- the storied franchise's best position player in his prime -- has a pretty decent chance to become a free agent at year's end. While the sides won't admit he's sure to hit free agency, at the very least it's clear there's plenty of work to do."Now let me say this, before we get to what the hell does this have to do with the Mets, I still expect the Yankees to break from their money cutting ways and find a way to get a deal done with Cano. However, the idea that Cano will never reach FA is no where near a stone cold lock anymore.So enter the Mets? With Freddy telling the world the Mets plan to reinvest and will have money to spend in the future and with the Mets desperate for offense could they get involved? I would expect a Cano contract to come in somewhere around what Prince Fielder received last off-season only maybe a year shorter due to Cano being a little older. (9 years 214M, cough, cough). So most likely you are looking at something around 8 years and 180-200M). Obviously if you believe the Wilpons the Mets could afford this amount and would take the opportunity to steal a Yankee great while giving themselves the best IF in the NL by far. Wasting time throwing out a lineup you would have a core of Cano, Wright, Davis for years to come.Obviously there are few problems here that stick out immediately.1) Will the Mets put their money where their mouth is next off-season and re-invest? The excitement surrounding the signing of Cano would certainly pay for itself the first year. After that as usual the Mets would have to win and still wouldn't have an OF.2) Was the fact that Wright wanted to be the highest paid Met an actual issue or just junk for reporters to report? I don't think it would change Wright from being the face of the franchise. Cabrera makes significantly less than Fielder but I still look at him as the face of the Tigers.3) Would having two IF signed long term totaling over 40M in salary as they age into their 30's be the best thing for a team looking to build around young pitching? I know it's all fantasy anyway but what else we gonna talk about round here?