Why are the Yankees pretending to have a budget this year?

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Well, they have some budget. I mean, eventually we’ll would reach a point where the Yankees actually can’t afford to meet payroll. I just think that number is way higher than the $198 million they’re claiming to be held to this year.  So why are they sticking to this likely artificial budget?

Because next year is going to be when they really go hog wild.  I mentioned Carl Crawford earlier this morning, but the 2010 free agent class really is significantly better than the 2009 class and there are many players to spend their money on next year that are better buys than Jason Bay, Matt Holliday or Johnny Damon.  Players like Crawford, and Jayson Werth and Cliff Lee and Josh Beckett and Brandon Webb and Matt Cain and, yes, Joe Mauer (who some are speculating could rake in $30 million a year if he hits the open market).

No, I don’t think the Yankees are all-in on all of those guys — I’ve often said and still believe that the Twins will extend Mauer — but in my mind this is shaping up like 2008’s lull before New York went crazy on Sabathia, Teixeira and Burnett before the 2009 season.  Biding their time — the extent acquiring Granderson and Vazquez can be called biding one’s time — until they jack up the payroll to $220 million+ and make a run at Crawford and maybe one of Lee, Beckett or (shudder) Mauer.

Not that I endorse that for the good of anyone’s health outside of the Yankees Universe.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.