When the Yankees signed Chan-Ho Park this morning, those that were cynical about the Yankees budget took the opportunity to declare the budget a sham. As Joel Sherman explains, this is simply not the case:
Essentially, the Yankees had $2 million remaining in their budget when Randy Winn was signed for a $1.1 million. But as Park’s price kept falling, Yankees GM Brian Cashman continued to lobby ownership to expand the payroll because the organization viewed Park as one of the top relievers on the market.
And when the price fell further over the course of the week, from $1.5 million to $1.2 million, Yankees ownership finally approved the signing…..
This signing likely puts even more pressure on Cashman, however, to trade either Chad Gaudin ($2.95 million) or Sergio Mitre ($850,000) to bring down the payroll more to ownership’s liking.
Basically, Sherman explains that the Park signing took place in the context of a budget, such that Cashman needed to appeal to ownership to exceed it by $300,000 (the amount the Park signing exceeded the money left over after Winn). If Marcus Thames makes the club over Jamie Hoffmann, that will put the Yankees another 500K over budget. As such, Sherman notes that Cashman may be forced to trade Sergio Mitre or Chad Gaudin to bring the budget back into line, with Mitre’s $850,000 being enough to bring the Yankees back in line with their stated goal. It is quite clear from this situation that the Yankee budget is in fact real, as the GM was required to get approval to exceed the budget by less than 1 million dollars, and may be pushed by ownership to lose a contract so as to keep salaries in line.
Furthermore, just to nip this issue in the bud, I have seen some people questioning the budget by stating that the Yankees will show the budget to be a farce if they need to acquire an expensive player in mid-season. This ignores the fact that the Opening Day budget is almost certainly different than the overall season budget. Most clubs leave themselves a cushion so that they can operate to improve their team in-season if the opportunity and necessity arose, and the Yankees are likely no different. The Yankees have left themselves some leeway to add to the club during the season. The only question is, how much room have they left themselves, and how important must a player be for them to consider moving past the lines they have drawn? No matter what the answers to those questions are, one thing is becoming exceedingly clear: the Yankees have a budget, and they plan to be fairly strict about it.