Let’s revisit old ground and look once again at the amount of the Yankees’ payroll commitment for 2011:
The player salary figures shown in green above are committed, and the numbers shown in yellow above are estimated. The pink numbers are commitments for players we don’t expect to see in pinstripes in 2011. At Jason’s suggestion, I reduced the numbers I originally projected for Hughes and Joba. Most of the other salary figures projected for 2011 are simply the amounts paid by the Yankees to the affected players in 2010. Bottom line is that the Yankees have estimated salary commitments at this point for 21 active players at a total cost of around $197 million.
Try to find a way to add a Cliff Lee-size salary to these existing commitments, while staying under $210 million, the reported high end of the Yankees’ payroll budget. It can’t be done.
Of course, Andy Pettitte might decide to retire. That would reduce the numbers shown above by about $12 million, leaving the Yankees with $25 million to spend to fill five remaining roster spots. With Pettitte gone, the Yanks could spend $23.3 million on Cliff Lee and $1.7 million on four minimum salary guys to fill out the roster, and perhaps end up with the desired $210 million in payroll. But the Yankees don’t want Pettitte to retire. Nor are the Yankees acting like they want to fill their remaining roster spots with minor league promotions. We’ve heard rumors that the Yanks are interested in Russell Martin, Mark Prior, Pedro Feliciano and Kerry Wood, and none of these guys are going to sign for the league minimum.
We said it here before: if the Yankees sign Cliff Lee and retain Andy Pettitte, that will push payroll spending into the neighborhood of $225 million to $230 million, at minimum.
So, what’s the true story here? Is Hal Steinbrenner a “budget guy” who’s bad at math? Or perhaps Hal really has a $225 (or so) million budget in mind, and Marchand got his $200 to $210 million from somewhere else? I don’t know the answer. But if the Yankees wanted to prove that their budget is a myth, they could not have done better than to have Hal step forward as the “budget guy” in a story claiming that the Yankees want to sign Cliff Lee and stay within a $210 million budget.
Maybe I should write my next post about the Loch Ness monster.