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" (ESPNNY.com, 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).