Steinbrenner Reasserts Vow To Keep Yankees Payroll Down At GM Meetings
Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner yesterday at MLB's GM and owners meetings "reiterated the team will look to get under the $189 million luxury-tax threshold for next season, but 'not at the expense of fielding a championship-caliber team,'" according to Ken Davidoff of the N.Y. POST. There appears "little doubt the Yankees will achieve their goal, even at the expense of a lousy 2014 performance, so they can save as much as $100 million over the next two years by lowering their luxury-tax rate as well as qualifying for a revenue-sharing rebate." Part of Steinbrenner’s plan to lower payroll, "even temporarily, revolved around relying on a burgeoning farm system, and that simply hasn’t happened." He said that both Yankees Senior VP/Baseball Operations Mark Newman and Amateur Scouting Dir Damon Oppenheimer "would retain their current positions, but that many changes already had been instituted." Meanwhile, Steinbrenner "expressed frustration" with the situation around 3B Alex Rodriguez, who is appealing his 211-game suspension. Steinbrenner: "It gets complicated. I know everybody’s doing the best they can -- the arbitrator, the commissioner, MLB. There’s a lot of evidence I’m sure they’re looking at. A lot of things they’re looking at. It takes time." Steinbrenner added a quick resolution "would be best for everybody involved" (N.Y. POST, 11/13). Steinbrenner noted that he "thinks the Yankees can be bold players in free agency while still trying to cut payroll." He also gave a "limited explanation" why the team gave SS Derek Jeter a raise "despite missing nearly the entire 2013 season due to injury." Steinbrenner said that the raise was "tied to Jeter's stature within the organization" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/13).
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN....: Mets GM Sandy Alderson has made it clear he will not sign a single free agent to a nine-figure contract this offseason, and the N.Y. Daily News' John Harper noting, "This is not the winter to do it" because of the lack of high-profile free agents. Harper: "Even if you have a philosophy about not signing a player for $100 million, why say it? Why not just say, 'We're going to wait and see where negotiations take us.' You're already sending out the message that, 'We don't really have that much money, we're looking to bargain shop,' that type of thing." The N.Y. Daily News' Bruce Murray said this is "not an offseason where there are so many great guys that you'd want to throw $100 million contracts at." However, when team officials promise fans a "certain understanding (of spending), don't say it, just play the game of public relations." Murray said Alderson is "volunteering information that nobody's really asked about." The N.Y. Daily News' Bob Raissman said, "When you promise something but your ownership may be whispering in your ear about something else, you juggle the balls. I think that's what (Alderson) is doing. This guy's a master of double-talk" ("Daily News Live," SNY, 11/12). SNY's Adam Schein said Alderson needs to stop joking about him being "upstairs stacking five-dollar bills." Schein: "Does he understand that Mets fans expect him to spend? They've seen the Mets not spend. You can't make those jokes with the product on the field over the last few years." SNY's Eamon McAnaney said Alderson "just comes across as tone-deaf to the Mets situation, to the Mets fan base" ("Loud Mouths," SNY, 11/12).