Regrettably, the New York Yankees head into the postseason as observers and not players for the second time in the last 19 seasons.
So, along with the other 19 non-championship caliber teams, the Yankees only hope at winning a World Series again is next season, which starts with the off-season.
Last off-season, the Yankees tried to get away with patching up holes instead of filling them.
And as most predicted, the Yankees missed the postseason because of it.
Now the question remains, will Yankees inherited owner Hal Steinbrenner do what needs to be done so this won’t happen again in 2014?
Hal has made no secret that he wants the Yankees payroll to be under $189 million in 2014 to avoid paying a 50% luxury tax. Reducing the payroll for just one season would also resets the tax back to 17.5%, which is the rate for a first time offender.
Yes, many teams have won spending a lot less money but the Yankees are just not built that way.
The team’s payroll for this past season was about $230 million.
A lot of cash is coming off the books but the team must resign Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and skipper Joe Girardi to start. The bigger issue is that the Yankees have five players making a $100 million combined next season, which is more than half of what Hal wants to spend.
Before this season Hal’s reasoning was legit:
“I just feel that if you do well on the player-development side and you have a good farm system, you don’t need a $220 million payroll. You don’t. You can field every bit as good a team with young talent.”
The above statement is entirely correct but regrettably doesn’t apply to the Yankees, as the farm system has proven stale from top to bottom even more so now.
And Hal is well aware of the issues, as according to the NY Post he recently held a meeting late in August down in Tampa to discuss the lack of talent in the Yankees minor league system. This proves the problem is severe.
Now presumably you have to think that Cano will earn around $25 million next season, and that roughly means the Yankees are paying $125 million for six players in 2014 already.
So please tell me how the Yankees will be a championship contending team without spending some serious dough this off-season?
Bottom line is Hal cannot sell fans on player development anymore.
The hypocrisy of it all is that Hal has continually reiterated that the first priority is still, and always will be to field a championship-caliber team before all else. End of story just like his father did, he will do.
But Hal cannot have it both ways again because unlike 2012, the Yankees were not good enough to make the playoffs this season; add that to the lack of player development, and the fact that Yankees fans are at their wits end…it spells trouble.
Look, everyone knows that winning can be accomplished for a heck of a lot less money but for the Yankees to become one of those teams it will take years of losing first. And trust me, not only will that stadium be empty, but everything his father built and loved will become a joke.
The Yankees will finish this season barely over .500, and postseason-less, which is not what fans were promised.
Hal has to be upfront and realistic about his true intentions because getting the payroll under $189 million and fielding a championship caliber team is not possible.
The bottom line here is the Yankees were not good enough to qualify for this year’s playoffs, so like they did back in 2008 fix the problems. It is that simple.
Personally as a Yankees fan, I am sad that there is no October baseball in the Bronx but even more so for Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. Those two Yankee legends deserved to finish their storied careers where they both shined, which was on the mound in October.
Looking at the bigger picture missing the 2013 postseason might actually wind up being a saving grace because now Hal has no legs to stand on.
This season exposed how vulnerable the Yankees truly are since Hal has held the reigns of his father’s and baseballs most prized franchise.
Hopefully Hal will keep his promise but which one is still TBD.
“Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing.” – Edmund Burke