Quick, how much money do you think this down year cost the Yankees in terms of franchise value? If you answered any amount of money, you’re wrong. According to Bloomberg’s latest calculations, the Yankees are valued at approximately $3.3 billion. That’s $1.2 billion more than the next most valuable MLB franchise (the Dodgers), and almost $1 billion more than what Forbes valued them at back in March. Despite the scaled back payroll and subsequent failure to reach the postseason, stadium attendance that was down from 2012, and TV ratings that were the same, the Yankees are still the gold standard when it comes to professional baseball value and are still practically printing their own money.
While it is good news in the grand scheme of things – I’d much rather the Yankees be the most valuable franchise instead of one of the least – it does present an easy opportunity to revisit the topic of Hal’s plans for the team. If you’ll allow me a few minutes to beat a dead horse again, this valuation from Bloomberg and continued growth of the franchise’s worth makes this payroll slashing, luxury tax avoiding plan seem all the more ridiculous than it did the first time I heard about it.
Luxury tax payouts or no luxury tax payouts, the Yankees are not being hurt financially at all by anything that’s going on in the MLB or business world. Those payouts weren’t hurting them when reports of the proposed payroll shrinking plan first came out and they’re not hurting them now. The early execution of that plan last offseason was horrible at best and it may very well have cost the team a spot in the postseason, where they would have generated more revenue and added even more to their rapidly expanding value. This is the team that couldn’t afford to re-sign Russell Martin, the 4th best catcher in baseball this year according to fWAR, for $9 million. Or that thought giving $2.75 million to Raul Ibanez was too much but giving $2 million to Travis Hafner was fine. And don’t even get me started on the $12 million for Youkilis.
And you know what makes it worse? Hal and Hank and Randy and Lonn already know this. They know exactly how much money this franchise is generating. They’d be fools if they didn’t. Knowing what the value of their club is, they are fools for taking the penny pinching approach that they did this year to save what ultimately amounts to barely a drop in their financial bucket. And now they might come out and spend $300 million this offseason? That would almost be stupider than what they did this year because it would render the entire 2012-2013 offseason pointless.
I’m all for financial responsibility, and I agree with the idea that a team should be able to compete for championships year in and year out on a $190 million budget. The Yankees have some serious problems in their player development program that are preventing them from doing that and it’s good that they’re finally addressing them. But there’s no need for this team to be operating like a small market club when it comes to their spending. There’s no need to be plucking Alberto Gonzalez and Travis Ishikawa off the waiver wire when you’re worth at least $1.2 billion more than the next most valuable franchise. The Yankees’ money is always going to be their biggest asset. As long as they’re continuing to rake it in at the rate they are, there’s no reason to not use it.