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Volume 24 No. 117


The Yankees head into this "longer-than-usual winter with a stated intention of cutting payroll" beneath $189M, a threshold that "would allow them to avoid paying revenue-sharing incentives including the costly luxury tax," according to Chad Jennings of the Westchester JOURNAL NEWS. That is "still a higher payroll than all but one major-league team, but for a fan base still used to George Steinbrenner’s extravagance, the cost-cutting goal is seen in plenty of circles as Steinbrenner’s sons pinching pennies at the worst possible time." Yankees GM Brian Cashman yesterday said of getting beneath the mark, "It’s certainly a goal. It’s not a mandate. It’s a goal that we have, and if it’s possible, there’s a lot of benefits to staying under that. But it’s not a mandate if it’s at the expense of a championship. ... The only thing I can confidently tell you is, when the last name is Steinbrenner, the effort is going to be there in terms of making a full push for having the best team on the field you can possibly have." Jennings noted the Yankees' final payroll for luxury tax purposes last season was $223.4M, and it "should be calculated fairly close to the same this year." Cashman said that he "does not feel constrained" by the $189M goal. He "repeated, time and again, that such a number is 'not a mandate' and said that he would feel comfortable approaching ownership with trade or free-agent suggestions, even if those moves would push payroll higher" (Westchester JOURNAL NEWS, 10/2). ESPN N.Y.'s Wallace Matthews wrote it would seem the "last thing the Yankees need to do now is to spend less," and the cost-cutting effort actually "was supposed to begin" in '13. It was "never supposed to be a case of the Yankees suddenly having to lose" $39M -- or 17% of their payroll -- in "one fell swoop." They were "supposed to attack the deficit in stages, so that it would not be a drastic cutback," but that plan is "out the window." Matthews: "And so, I am willing to bet, is the $189 million self-imposed salary cap" (, 9/30).

TO SPEND OR NOT TO SPEND: The N.Y. Daily News' Bill Madden said the Yankees need to get under the $189M mark "because of the economic benefits that they have spoken about and made pretty clear." Madden said the other reason was because the "free agent market is not filled with players that you're going to have to have big, huge contracts to get them." The N.Y. Daily News' Bruce Murray said spending more than $189M is not the "panacea to building a championship team." Murray: "The bottom line for this team is unless they start developing young talent, you can't buy 25 players and build a championship team." But the N.Y. Daily News' Pat Leonard said, "You really feel looking at the roster that they have to make an exception to this to really put a product on the field that they're going to be proud of next year" ("Daily News Live," SNY, 10/1). SNY's Chris Carlin said, "If you're not going to spend the money now, you're not going to be a playoff team next year and I think even if you do spend it now, you're not necessarily guaranteed to be a playoff team" ("Loud Mouths," SNY, 10/1).

Royals Senior VP/Baseball Operations & GM Dayton Moore yesterday said he expects the team's payroll budget to remain at "about the same" level of $82M for next season, according to Bob Dutton of the K.C. STAR. The Royals' '13 payroll was a "club record, but maintaining current spending levels will be a tough sell, even after an encouraging season, to a fan base that hasn’t experienced postseason" baseball since '85. MLB's new national TV contracts kick in next season, and this additional cash is "likely to goose free-agent spending to record levels." That should "particularly benefit" Royals P Ervin Santana, who "projects as one of the market’s top free-agent starting pitchers" (K.C. STAR, 10/2). Meanwhile, Moore yesterday while talking about the team's recently completed, 86-win season said, "In a small way, I feel like we've won the World Series." In K.C., Sam Mellinger wrote, "Those words beg to be mocked and, in fact, started being mocked before he even finished the sentence." There is "too much self-congratulation from the Royals right now." Mellinger: "Moore said something stupid. This stupid thing he said will hang on him. His words will be mocked." Moore made the comment "in a room full of reporters and rolling cameras and open notebooks and a live listening audience during a news conference." He later clarified, "'World Series' is the wrong term. But I feel very, very good about where our organization is. It means a lot to me" (K.C. STAR, 10/2).

Mariners Chair & CEO Howard Lincoln said the team's 71-win season this year was the "most frustrating" he has experienced. Lincoln: "For whatever reason -- injuries, or this or that, the vagaries of the game -- it’s been a very, very frustrating season. We all had really high expectations, which I think were justified. So this season has got to go down as the most frustrating because everyone in the organization desperately wants to turn this thing around, desperately wants to win." In Seattle, Jerry Brewer notes Lincoln "vows the organization will spend the money" this offseason that Exec VP & GM of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik "needs to make this ballclub complete" (SEATTLE TIMES, 10/2).

ATTENDANCE THE ISSUE FOR TRIBE:'s Danny Knobler noted the Indians' "strong and surprising season helped them lift" their TV ratings by almost 40%, and their radio ratings by a similar amount. Team President Mark Shapiro said, "Interest is not an issue." But Knobler noted attendance "still is." The Indians' full-season attendance of 1,572,926 was "actually down a tick from last season," and the team "led all of baseball attendance" in '00. However, the average crowd "had fallen" by 50% just three years later, and the Indians' attendance ranked 12th in the then 14-team AL. It "really hasn't recovered" ever since (, 10/1).

ON DEE-MAND: In San Diego, Nick Canepa writes new Padres President & CEO Mike Dee should be able to "help turn" the team into a more fan-friendly winner. Canepa: "Dee is a good guy. Laughs a lot. His motor never shuts off." Red Sox President & CEO Larry Lucchino, who worked with Dee from '95-'09, said, "Mike is a multi-talented guy. He has the heart of a fan and that’s important. He has good instincts. And he’s familiar with the land in San Diego. He’ll make sure everybody in the organization is playing their position. And he’s indefatiguable, on a planet where they don’t sleep much." Canepa: "Just what the Padres need right now" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 10/2).

NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS? Angels Owner Arte Moreno made no announcements yesterday regarding personnel changes, and in L.A., Mike DiGiovanna writes this inaction furthered the belief that both GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia will return in '14, "despite another highly disappointing season in which the Angels missed the playoffs for the fourth straight year." Both men are under contract: Scioscia for five more years and Dipoto for one. Dipoto, "despite his seemingly tenuous grip on his job, has taken a business-as-usual approach" (L.A. TIMES, 10/2).