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.