Friday, December 23, 2011

Frugal Yankees stay on the sidelines

The New York Yankees frugal? You better believe it.

Granted, the Yankees payroll is still above $200 million, by far the highest in Major League Baseball. But the Yankees will pay less than $14 million in luxury taxes, the lowest amount in eight years, and Brian Cashman seems determined to drive that number down as much as he possibly can by not spending ridiculous amounts of money on mediocre free agents. The Yankees general manager is being as frugal as possible for a guy saddled with the Alex Rodriguez contract, which will tie his hands for the next six years.
The best evidence of the Yankees newfound frugality comes from watching free agent after free agent sign with other baseball teams. They refused to be drawn into bidding wars for the best free agents available because none of them fit an actual need for the Bronx Bombers. The Yankees reportedly refused to even entertain CJ Wilson at their stadium, even though the pitcher desperately wanted to play in New York, because his asking price was way beyond his actual talents.

The only substantial money move the Yankees have made this offseason was to re-sign CC Sabathia and I thought they actually got a very good deal from their perspective. If CC had opted for free agency, he would have immediately and by far been the premier pitcher on the market. The Yankees would have had to compete with teams such as the suddenly flush Miami Marlins for his services. If the Marlins were willing to give Wilson $100 million, just imagine what they would have thrown at Sabathia to get him to South Florida. What a coup that would have been for a team desperate to awaken its slumbering fan base.

For the record, I agree with all the non-moves the Yankees have made. Nobody on the free-agent market that would have been a fit for the Yankees was worthy of the price they demanded and I don’t like the idea of giving up any of the Yankees young studs for a non-ace pitcher in a trade. Of course, if the right guy becomes available, the Yankees would immediately throw all caution to the wind, sign or trade for that guy, and write Major League Baseball a bigger check. But I don’t see it happening. 

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