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The New York Yankees are not going to swoop in and offer Josh Hamilton a ridiculous contract for an even more ridiculous amount of years. They are not going to court Zack Greinke and try to convince him of the pastoral charms of living in Westchester to counter the effects of the big, bad city. There will be no wining and dining of Nick Swisher to convince him how much the fans love his over-caffeinated antics in right field. Instead, there will be discussions with cut-rate reclamation projects like Jeff Keppinger (Really White Sox? Three years?) and talk of one-year deals with aging players such as the always-warm-and-cuddly A.J. Pierzynski.
Welcome to the new reality, Yankees fans.
The baby Steinbrenners are quite serious about getting below the luxury tax threshold by 2014. They seem tired of funding the rest of the alleged small market teams and now have the incentives to do so. In 2014, four-time repeat luxury tax offenders (i.e, the New York Yankees) would have to pay about 40 to 50 percent in taxes if they went over the $189 million mark. That could fund a few Houston payrolls right there.
Getting below the luxury threshold, however, allows the Yankees to in essence hit the reset button in 2015 so that monster tax rate goes down substantially (and don’t we all love lower taxes) to around the 17 percent level. Additionally — and this is a biggie — the Yankees will also be eligible to get some of the money from their revenue-sharing tab refunded.
Given all of the above, the Yankees will go on the cheap for the next couple of years. But what happens in 2015? Will the Yankees spend like drunken sailors on shore leave in a house of ill repute? Just for fun, I took a look at the free agent class of 2015.
King Felix, come on down! You’re going to be holding court in the Bronx. Oh, and who is that with you in the starting rotation? Well, hello there Justin Verlander! No one can replace Derek Jeter, but best of luck to you Hanley Ramirez!
Make no mistake, the Yankees are far from a poor organization — they recently sold 49 percent of the YES Network to News Corp., the owners of FOX, for $500 million — but the new luxury tax rules coupled with some of their long-term stupid contracts (are you sure you don’t want A-Rod, Dodgers?) has given them the impetus to have a couple of frugal offseasons. Yet, until then fellow Yankees fans, get used to hearing such names as Nate Schierholtz being bandied about in the Bronx.