So to say that GM Brian Cashman has his work cut out for him might be the understatement of the century.
Cashman has been the Yankees GM for 15-seasons, making the postseason 14 times but this off-season is the one that will stamp his genuine merit because for the first time he is working under a budget. And the timing could not be worse.
This new frugal mentality has been well vocalized by Hal Steinbrenner with the end resulting in the team’s payroll standing at $189 million by 2014.
A while Cashman’s job description remains the same; to put together a postseason contending team but without your biggest resource, money.
Looking at the bigger picture there are so many holes to fill before the 2013 season this could not come at a worse time for the Yankees.
To give a quick summary the Yankees still have to pay for – 2 starting pitchers; 1 starting catcher; outfielder who rakes; closer; primer back-up closer; a legit SS and 3B backup; getting younger with a now depleted farm system…and that is just off the top of my head.
Now whether Hal, who does have the Boss’ blood in his veins, sticks with this plan is something only time will tell but so far he seems pretty hell-bent on making sure this happens.
One would guess that Hal, a numbers guy, realizes that by not investing the money needed to field a World Series caliber team could actually hurt the Yankees income more in the long run.
And here my five reasons why:
1) As I can guarantee that game attendance will drop significantly unless ticket prices drop drastically. Just like my dad always says, “Who wants to spend that kind of money to go watch a so-so team play?”
2) The “Yankees keep losing” storyline will get old faster than you think so lucky there is still A-rod to keep the team relevant in the media but just not for baseball.
3) Yankee fans are a critical, dramatic bunch, to put it politely. And the Yankees losing games is a lot different from the Yankees becoming losers as a team. And the fact that free agent players were available during the off-season but passed on will make this situation escalate to ugly real fast.
4) Players are not going to take less money just to don the pinstripes, as the Yankees have overpaid for everything for way too long to expect anyone to understand now. So there is no way that the Yankee brass can be so delusional that anything will come cheap, or even slightly discounted and produce the same results.
5) TV viewership and Yankees merchandise sales will inevitably drop with a half-ass team on the field, maybe not by much but less is less.
Bottom-line is that the Yankees do not have the resources, or the time to rebuild a team to win now. It would be logical to do what they do best, and that is retool by spending money season by season because that has proven to be a winning formula.
As the great financier Warren Buffet once said:
‘The first rule is not to lose. The second rule is not to forget the first rule.’