Cheapskates? Or Victims?
At the start of the 2012 off-season the New York Yankees brass turned reformed savvy shoppers?
The Yankee and cheapskates… it just sounded wrong. And guess what, it just might be.
In actuality, MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement could be a bigger influence behind this thrifty transformation in the Bronx.
See, the Yankees have to pay a 40% tax rate on any money that exceeds MLB’s payroll maximum, which now sits at $178 million. So for 2011, the Yankees will be writing a check for $13.9 million, a franchise low since 2003.
Under the new CBA any team that chooses to overspend year after year will be penalized.
This means the Yankees tax rate will jump to 42.5% in 2012, and 50% in 2013; but the kicker is when overspending teams manage to drop below the set payroll it cuts their respective tax rate by 17.5%.
The league-wide payroll most will stay at $178 million through 2013, but jumps to $189 million for the following three years.
This puts a damper on GM Brian Cashman’s offseason plans, as it seems the baby Stein’s will never be reckless as papa-Boss, but with a current payroll north of $215 million can you blame them?
So is this the post-Boss-era essentially a travesty or are Hank and Hal changing the mantra of winning first?
New Year = New Yankees?
The MLB offseason is baseball’s equivalent to a New Year, as it allows changes to be made, and with any luck for teams to get better.
Inevitably, rules and finances do force teams to look in all directions of how to make these improvements happen.
Certain teams rely on spending cash, others exploit trades and some cultivate the draft.
It is no secret that the Yankees are baseball’s shopaholics, but the new rules implemented even make a big spender, like New York pull in their spending reins.
This sort-of explains why the Yankees have done zilch this offseason, but it also doesn’t.
See, GM Brian Cashman has spent the last few years turning an almost obsolete farm system into one of baseball’s best, so why not dip into the honey jar?
In hindsight, the Yankees could afford not having a respectable farm system for over a decade. That was until Cashman watched the Red Sox win, and then win again. All Yankee fans heard was Boston crediting their successes through the cultivating of homegrown players within their system.
Naturally the Yankees went to work, caught up, and now only see the Red Sox in their tractor’s rearview.
Since money is now an object, the Yankees have to look at alternative methods if they want to improve the team before the start of the 2012 season. The obvious choices are to make a trade, or to bring up some of their highly talented prospects.
The Yankees have talked with other teams, but the asking prices are so sky-high that it is almost impossible for Cashman to even consider making a trade.
Regardless, Cashman is so overprotective of these homegrown youngsters and has not handled this transition well in the past.
Whatever happened is done, but there is one positive to take out of it and that is not to do it again, but Cashman cannot seem to grasp that.
If you noticed, Ivan Nova had a phenomenal rookie season this last year. A lot of that can be attributed to the lack of attention paid to him, which in turn allowed him to focus on pitching without an entire circus and expectations.
Nova was not headline news until the 2011 playoffs, and looking back at 2008 if Joba sneezed the wrong direction it was on ESPN BBTN, and at least a lead story in the NY Post and NY Daily News.
Forecasting the Future:
Something has to give; as of now the Yankees are to blame for their own purgatory. This is not the Royals or Pirates organization so these kinds of penny-pinching and Scrooge like characteristics need to take a hike, and fast.
Winning has always ruled Yankee Universe, and they are expected to carry that on. The Yankees are the most coveted sports franchise in the USA, and making money is never and was never a concern because when you win the cash flows in.
Yankee fans always show up, whatever the cost but that is because of the effort made to put the best team on the field. It didn’t always work, but over the last 15 years with the exception of 2008, the Yankees have remained a huge threat because rebuilding was not an option.
Look, I know how frustrated Yankee fans are at the moment, but the offseason is not over yet and Cashman & Co. might make a move still.
Just remember last offseason, when Hal threw in the towel to grab Rafael Soriano; even going over Cashman’s head who was against it?
And that was done purely for the fans.
As Oprah once said:
- You: MLB Round-Up: Why the New York Yankees Austerity Budget Is the Right Move (bleacherreport.com)
- New York Yankees Hot Stove: What Hot Stove? (ladylovespinstripes.com)
- New York Yankees Hot Stove: Cashman Makes Progress On His Not-To-Do-List (ladylovespinstripes.com)
- New York Yankees Hot Stove: Red Sox Been Caught Stealing (ladylovespinstripes.com)
- New York Yankees Hot Stove: Cashman Signs Mets Lefty Reliever (ladylovespinstripes.com)
- New York Yankees Hot Stove: Billy Beane Are You Kidding Me (ladylovespinstripes.com)