Hal Steinbrenner wants the Yankees’ payroll down to $189 million by 2014

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Hal Steinbrenner said today that the Yankees plan to decrease their payroll to below the $189 million luxury tax figure by 2014, which is when the new collective bargaining agreement threshold kicks in.

Steinbrenner called it “streamlining” the payroll, which is currently at around $210 million.

Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York notes that Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, CC Sabathia, and Mark Teixeira are already under contract for $75 million in 2014, which would leave about $110 million for Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, and 19 other players.

Obviously a $189 million payroll is still massive, even looking ahead to 2014, but the Yankees’ payroll hasn’t been below $200 million since 2007, when it was $190 million. Since then their annual payrolls have been $209 million, $201 million, $206 million, $203 million, and now $210 million.

Toss in the usual inflation of player salaries and $189 million in 2014 would represent a pretty significant change.

Astros greeted with boos in first spring training game

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The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.

Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.

There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.

That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.

The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.

One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.

Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.

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