Saturday, March 3, 2012

Who will the Yankees sacrifice for payroll cut?

This is more of a question for next winter, but who will the New York Yankees sacrifice in order to lower their payroll?

If you take Hal Steinbrenner at his word, which I do, the Yankees are going to do whatever it takes to get below that magic $189 million mark in payroll by 2014 to free themselves of paying millions of dollars in luxury taxes. As Brian Cashman notes, the Yankees still have the highest payroll in baseball and that is not going to change anytime soon. But the Yankees’ free-spending days are over.

Of course, the Yankees will have some money coming off their payroll naturally in time for 2014. Rafael Soriano’s three-year deal, which pays him more than $11 million annually, will expire by then. And Derek Jeter will have an option year that will pay him only $8 million barring a renegotiation (that’s if Jeter even decides to keep playing, not a certainty by any stretch).

But the Yankees will have to throw some money at their younger superstars Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano, which will eat up the savings from expiring contracts. Cano is the one that worries me the most as his current deal expires after 2013 and his agent is Scott Boras, who is always looking for the biggest payday. Plus, Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira all have several years left on their contracts, which combined amount to about $72 million in 2014, well over a third of the figure the Yankees want to get down to.

The Yankees are going to have to cut someone making decent money loose, even if they do not want to. Nick Swisher is the name that has been bandied about recently and it makes a lot of sense since his current deal expires after this season. That would not sit well with some Yankee fans, but Swisher’s expiring contract and postseason futility make him expendable. 

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