Hal Steinbrenner made headlines yesterday for saying that the Yankees will get their payroll below $189 million by 2014 despite spending at least $200 million every season since 2007.
Today reporters asked general manager Brian Cashman for his thoughts about that plan and his answer was a good one: “We’re still the Yankees. We’re still going to outspend everybody else. That’s not going to change.
And he’s right, because even if player salaries continue to rise $189 million in 2014 may still be the highest payroll in baseball. Last year the Yankees spent $203 million, the Phillies were second at $173 million, and the Red Sox were third at $161 million.
On the other hand, while the Yankees will probably still lead MLB in spending their advantage will shrink. This season’s payroll is projected to be around $210 million and the Yankees already have $75 million committed to just four players (Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia) in 2014. They won’t stop being the top-spenders, but the days of the Yankees out-spending everyone else by $30-$50 million may be short-lived.
Assuming, of course, that Steinbrenner is as committed to getting under the upcoming luxury tax threshold as he claims.
It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.
Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.
The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.
The Padres have signed Trevor Cahill to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.
As recently as the middle of the 2015 season it looked like Cahill’s career would meet a premature end, but after being released by the Braves and signing with the Cubs in August of that season he has been a remarkably effective reliever. He has posted a 2.61 ERA in 61 games in Chicago and has posted a strikeout rate far above his career norms.
He’s not someone you necessarily want taking the hill when the leverage is high, but in San Diego the leverage won’t be all that high all that often.