According to the Associated Press, the Yankees will pay a luxury tax to MLB for the 10th consecutive year.
The Yankees finished with a $222.5 million payroll for the purposes of the tax, well above the $178 million threshold. They were charged at 42.5 percent of the overage, so they’ll owe $18.9 million to MLB. No other team will pay a luxury tax for their 2012 payroll.
This year’s fee is up from the $13.9 million tax paid by the Yankees last year. The club has racked up a luxury tax bill of $224.2 million over the past decade, but the streak may not continue for much longer. The Yankees are currently trying to get their payroll under the new $189 million luxury tax threshold beginning in 2014, which is a big reason why general manager Brian Cashman has tried to hand out one-year deals this offseason. Ichiro Suzuki’s new two-year, $13 million deal is an exception, though they only went there because he received multi-year offers elsewhere.
The Red Sox paid the luxury tax in 2010 and 2011, but they fell just $47,177 short of the threshold this year. August’s mega-trade with the Dodgers gave them just enough breathing room.
As per tradition, towards the end of the regular season, veterans on baseball’s various clubs haze the rookies by making them dress up and do something a bit embarrassing. That used to include things like making rookies dress up like women and carry pink backpacks, but Major League Baseball banned that practice, so veterans had to get marginally more creative.
The Phillies had their rookies — including Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, and Nick Williams — dress up like characters in Grease and perform “Greased Lightning” at their hotel in Atlanta on Friday night. Not only did the Phils’ vets and other members of the crew get a free show, but so did employees of the hotel and nearby hotel patrons.
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As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki explains, Hoskins was the inspiration for the gag as he has earned the nickname “Rhys Lightning.” (Rhys, for the uninitiated, rhymes with “Grease.”) Hoskins said, “You always hear about team chemistry. I think stuff like that let’s you get to know guys on a different level, when you’re not at the field. You just become more personable with people. The better relationships you have, there’s a different level of playing for each other. And I think that’s usually a sign of a good team.”
The Twins also had some fun at the rookies’ expense:
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge went yard twice in Sunday afternoon’s 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays, bringing his season total up to 48. That leaves him just one home run shy of tying the single-season rookie record set by Mark McGwire with the Athletics in 1987.
After Sunday’s performance, Judge is hitting .281/.416/.610 with 48 home runs, 105 RBI, and 122 runs scored in 651 plate appearances. He has the AL Rookie of the Year Award on lock and is neck-and-neck with the Astros’ Jose Altuve, Chris Sale of the Red Sox, and the Indians’ Corey Kluber in the AL MVP Award race.