Explaining the luxury tax, revenue sharing refunds, and the Yankees

(The following is a guest post from reader jerkface)

This offseason & the following offseason there will be a lot of talk about the $189 million payroll limit that the Yankees will try to get under by 2014 and the impact that it has on the moves the team will make.  A lot of people are unclear as to what this limit really means, so I thought I would write this to help educate fans on how the limit is calculated & how the current Yankee team is impacted by those calculations.

The CBA & Luxury Tax Calculations

The Collective Bargaining Agreement signed by the MLBPA & Ownership is what governs the interactions between players & management in Major League Baseball.  Last offseason a new CBA was signed which introduced new wrinkles into the luxury tax agreement that has the Yankees attempting to get under the limit for the first time in a decade.  Here are the basics:

  1. The luxury tax limit for 2013 is $178,000,000. 
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A.J. the Alternative

I’m on the record, multiple times, as saying Russell Martin is going to be the Yankees’ starting catcher for 2013. Not only do I think that’s going to happen, but I also think it’s the best possible thing for the Yankees. The other catching options aren’t all that appetizing and one of them, David Ross,...

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Three more cheers for Robinson Cano

Robinson Cano proudly posted that on Twitter today he became a citizen of the United States of America. Such an act used to have a lot more significance in this country than it does now. But for this old-timey baseball writer, such an act is a very cool thing. Way to go, Cano. Welcome to citizenship. If you click the link for his tweet, you will also see a picture of the proud ballplayer holding a flag and his certificate. Nice.

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Three cheers for Joe Girardi

The BBWAA will announce their selections for Manager of the Year later on this afternoon, which I guess means that it’s time for my annual rant about how inherently asinine this award is. Sure, in concept it makes sense to want to award the field general who had the best season, but in practice, the performance of a manager is such an ephemeral thing, at least in the positive direction, that voters have more or less abandoned any pretense of making an effort to objectively assess the question, instead opting to turn it into a de facto “surprise team of the year”* award instead. Which is fine by me, though maybe a touch demeaning to the organization who “wins,” but I wish we’d at least call it that and abandon the notion that we’re rewarding the manager for superior performance.

Consider the case of Buck Showlater, who’s probably the prohibitive favorite in the American League. What exactly is the case for him supposed to be?…

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Yankees open to two year deal with Soriano?

Since the offseason began, one thing that’s been taken as a given more than any other expected outcome was that, should Rafael Soriano opt out of the final year of the contract he signed after the 2010 season, the Yankees would be unwilling to give him a multi-year contract as they try to get under the luxury tax threshold before 2014. And for the most part that’s exactly what all reports have said to date, but now Jon Heyman dishes that the Yankees would be “amenable” to a two year contract after all. There’s not a lot of detail there, just that they don’t feel inclined to put two years on the table just yet, but apparently might if they feel like they need to/can get a good deal on bringing Soriano back.

On the other hand, Joel Sherman reports that teams are finally wising up to how fungible closers are, and speculates that the market for them could be pretty dry in comparison to recent years.…

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“Little shot” Yanks get Hunter

Torii Hunter has been one of the most bandied about names on the free agent market early on in the offseason, and with a hole in right field it’s only natural that the Yankees have been one of the team’s linked to the 37 year old. However, a source told Mark Feinsand that there’s “little chance” Hunter will end up in pinstripes, which comes not long after we heard that the Yankees would be unwilling to offer him a two year contract for fear of complicating their 2014 payroll plans. I don’t think that’s the worst stance to take with a player like Hunter, but with as much competition for his services as there seems to be right now it probably does take you out of the running unless you’re offering up a lot of money for one year or something. The Tigers and Red Sox seem to be the teams most interested in him right now, so there’s big dollars after him to boot.…

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Are the Yankees interested in Mike Napoli?

According to a tweet by Bob Nightengale, it would appear that they are.

I have no idea why the Yankees would even want Napoli after their acquisition of Eli Whiteside from the San Francisco Giants.

All jokes aside, we have no idea what’s going to happen with Russell Martin. And as Brien wrote earlier, Russell is garnering interest from a few teams so maybe getting Napoli could be a good thing for the Yankees? Plus, he’s batting .375/.531/.625/1.156 at the new Stadium – in (Small Sample Size Alert!) 24 at bats.

There have been whispers of A.J. Pierzynski possibly being a target, no pun intended, for the Yankees as well.

It’s only November 12 and there is a lot at stake this offseason for the Yankees so it will be interesting to see how it goes.

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Olney: Rangers interested in Martin

Via Buster Olney, the Rangers have expressed an interest in Yankees’ free agent catcher Russell Martin. Martin could be a good fit for Texas, who could be without a starting catcher with Mike Napoli on the free agent market and Geovany Soto expected to be non-tendered. Martin struggled offensively for a good part of 2012, but he’s not a total zero at the plate by any means, and he’s one of the best backstops in the game.

On the Yankees’ end, I’m actually surprised we haven’t paid more attention to Martin, at least as much as we’ve paid to Nick Swisher, anyway. The Yankees do have potential holes in right field and their starting rotation, but they also have some fairly obvious paths to filling them, at least for 2013. If theyre unable to keep Martin in the fold, however, I have no idea what the Yankees are going to do with the catcher position. They currently have four other catchers on the 40 man roster, but none of them are big league caliber starters, for the Yankees or any other team.…

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