People are wondering why the Yanks haven’t done much so far, and a lot of blame is being placed on Brian Cashman.
I don’t fault Cashman as much as others do, but I do have to say, what can he do right now? He doesn’t control the $$$, Hal Steinbrenner, the owner, does.
The thing is, what kind of a budget are the Yanks looking for in 2015? For there isn’t much flexibility or maneuverability in that budget. That is why you aren’t seeing moves.
It’s one thing to say increase the payroll. It isn’t your money. But how much do you want to increase it to?
Let’s look at some numbers. The Yanks may not be able to do much for the next two or three years. BaseballReference.com has their budget right now at $179.4MM with an estimate of $193.4MM.
Now let’s look at 10 players and the quickest they would be gone from the Yankees (barring a trade, and let’s face it, a lot of these players would be difficult to move because of salary, age and the fact that the Yankees may need to eat a lot of the contract).
McCann $17MM for 2015. Signed through 2018 with a team option for 2019. He’s gonna be around for a while.
Teixeira $22.5MM for 2015. There again in 2016. I don’t expect the Yanks to bring him back for 2017 but you are stuck with him for 2015 and 2016. Honestly, who’d want his increasing injuries, declining production and that contract?
Prado $11MM. Contract through 2016. Could be tradeable.
Gardner $12.5 MM. signed though 2018. Team option of $12.5MM for 2019, $2MM buyout. Tradeable.
A-Rod $21 MM. Stuck with him through 2017. Really, who’d want him? 40 in July. 44 games played over the last two seasons, two hip surgeries, a PED suspension…. his nickname should be lightning rod (for trouble and controversy). Not only the salary, but a $6MM bonus if he gets the six homers he needs to tie Willie Mays on the all-time list.
Ellsbury $21.1MM. Signed through 2020, 2021 team option at $21MM, $5 MM buyout. Good player, but who’d take that salary?
Beltran $15MM signed for 2015 and 2016. He’s 38 and coming off a bad, injury-plagued year.
CC $23 MM. Signed 2015 and 2016. $25 MM vesting option for 2017, $5MM buyout, but that is based on shoulder, not the knee issue which cost him most of 2014. 17-17, 4,87 since 2012. Who’d take that contract now for a pitcher who has been below average over his last 40 starts, has knee issues, a diminishing fastball and who will be 35 this coming summer?
Tanaka $22MM, signed through 2020, player can opt out after 2017. An ace, and we hope his elbow holds up.
Miller $9 MM. Through 2018.
That is 10 players, $174.1 MM for 2015. Now let’s just say Hal put a limit of $205MM for his team, not the $193.mm listed above (which, as we know, will be unreasonable to match). Now you have 15 players left to fill out the 25 man roster, and you have just $30MM left for them.
Um, tough to do, isn’t it?
How can you bring back Robertson or McCarthy, or for that matter, sign a Shields or Scherzer? You can’t.
That is why Cashman’s hands are tied and why he has to bottom-feed right now—unless Hal increases the budget.
Those 10 are the core of the team—not only for 2015, but as you can see, for 2016 as well. Unless someone retires or you can trade one of them (and for a couple of them, that ain’t happening—-no takers) you are stuck with them. If they don’t produce, then…
and Beltran, McCann, Teix, CC all underproduced in 2014. Now we get a soon-to-be 40 year old A-Rod in 2015, who will probably underproduce.
Either this group finds past glory and steps up, or the next two years will be more of the same from 2013 and 2014.
But the thing is, there is only (even in Yankeeland) so much $$$ to go around, and most of it has been allocated.
Unless Hal wants to increase the payroll to $225 MM, or $250MM, or ….
but I don’t see it.
Which means maybe the next big move won’t be until after 2016, when you can take Teix and Beltran off the books. Maybe Prado, too. Probably not CC, since his vesting option (unless he has shoulder damage) kicks in. Maybe A-Rod won’t come back for 2017 but will retire because of diminishing skills/injury and to avoid himself the embarrasment of hanging on hitting less than .200.
But for now, what can one do? For those 10 players eat up most of your payroll. The Yanks have to hope that players under team control, who are making the major league minimum (or close to it) can step up in the next couple of years. This means a Rob Refsnyder, Jose Pirela, Manny Banuelos, Jacob Lindgren, Bryan Mitchell, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, etc., and this comes down to scouting and player development—areas that have been lacking in recent years.