So yeah, “wanting” to do something and actually being able to do it are two very different things, especially if we assume that the stringent budget targets that ownership has set are non-negotiable. Especially if their luck with respect to their young pitching, particularly Manny Banuelos, Michael Pineda, and Dellin Betances doesn’t turn around rather drastically, the team is going to have too many holes to fill and not enough money to do it with if they expect to maintain the level of performance they’ve become accustomed to since 1995. And remember, Mariano Rivera isn’t accounted for in 2014 as of right now, and Derek Jeter could opt out of the final year of his current contract and demand more money beginning that season as well. Meanwhile, in the near term, Cano most certainly didn’t hire Scott Boras to figure out how to best make the Steinbrenner family more money under the new CBA.
Up until now, the looming austerity directive has focused as a sort of background curiosity: something that’s looming in the background, but not getting as much attention for being a long term impediment to the team’s baseball operations plans as it should be. That’s largely because it hasn’t forced any major concessions of the front office yet, but that will start to change as early as the upcoming winter when, if the organization remains serious about the target, they’ll likely let Nick Swisher leave town and probably won’t be able to make a serious push to sign Cole Hamels if he hits the open market. That’s when we’ll really start to see the plan tested, as fans and media probably won’t be as receptive to questions about the talent of guys like Hamels and Cano/Granderson as they were about C.J. Wilson and Yu Darvish, the two big money players the Yankees avoided this past winter.
And that’s when we’ll start to see how many wins the Steinbrenners are willing to sacrifice to get their cut of Commissioner Bud’s big market bribe pool.