The New York Yankees face one of the biggest luxury tax bills in Major League Baseball, but they won’t let it stop them if they feel it necessary to make a big trade.
The Yankees are roughly $15 million shy of passing the $246 million mark in terms of payroll. If they surpassed that mark, they would be hit with a 62.5 percent luxury tax rate and see their top draft pick dropped by ten spots next year. According to owner Hal Steinbrenner, however, the Yankees would face the consequences if surpassing that threshold meant they could land a player they think could put them over the top.
“If I really felt we needed that deal, that it takes us over the top, then yes, I would,” Steinbrenner said Wednesday, via David Lennon of Newsday. “But we still have a decent amount of cushion. I’m not concerned about that. It’s a decent cushion.”
Starting pitching would seem like the most obvious upgrade for the Yankees. They could theoretically land Madison Bumgarner and remain under that threshold, but there are indications that he’s not a priority for them. It’s clear that the Yankees will look to be aggressive at the deadline, but just how aggressive remains to be seen.
The New York Yankees definitely seem interested in free agent infielder Manny Machado, but they have some very public concerns about how he’s handled himself.
Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner believes Machado needs to clarify comments he made during the playoffs in which he admitted he was never going to be a major hustle-type player.
Steinbrenner said he would need to hear more from Machado about his “no-hustle” comments.
"If it’s a $300 million guy, or a $10-million guy, clearly those comments are troubling,” said Hal. #Yankees
— David Lennon (@DPLennon) November 14, 2018
We had heard previously that the Yankees are “lukewarm” on Machado because of the controversies that followed him during the playoffs. That may be too strong, but they clearly have enough reservations that they’re voicing them publicly ahead of negotiations. It could be a ploy, and it remains to be seen how they handle it.
Take heart, New York Yankees fans, your owner does pay attention to what you say on Twitter.
Hal Steinbrenner said on Wednesday that social media reaction, coupled with sponsors wanting to meet young first baseman Greg Bird during spring training, helped him decide to sell at the trade deadline, according to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press.
That doesn’t mean, however, that the Yankees will be going for a full youth movement.
“I’m not naive. This is New York City. Our fans want marquee players, too, and I wanted marquee players because they’re good veterans and they’re good mentors, in many cases, so that’s always going to be there,” Steinbrenner said.
In fact, Steinbrenner went as far as to say that the Yankees still think they’re pressing for a playoff spot this season.
“There’s no white flag here for me. There was no surrender,” Steinbrenner said. “If you had seen me get rid of (Michael) Pineda and (Nathan) Eovaldi and (Brett) Gardner, then you could probably make a case.”
Steinbrenner reportedly was resistant to selling about two weeks before the trade deadline. Apparently he hit up Twitter and they helped him see that it was the right thing to do.
The people running baseball operations and business operations for the New York Yankees reportedly aren’t seeing eye-to-eye on trade deadline plans.
ESPN’s Wallace Matthews cited a source telling him that the team’s baseball operations, headed by general manager Brian Cashman, want to do a full-on sale of assets at the deadline. The team’s business side, headed by owner Hal Steinbrenner and president Randy Levine, are firmly opposed to such a plan and believe the club can still contend in 2016.
The source says that the baseball operations people would be willing to trade impending free agents and bad contracts, including Aroldis Chapman, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Brian McCann.
With a little over two weeks to the August 1 deadline, the Yankees are 7.5 games out in the AL East and 5.5 back in the wild card race. They won 3 of 4 from the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians heading into the break, putting them in position for an important two weeks after the break.
Levine’s position has been made pretty clear in this rant last month. As long as the Yankees stay on the fringes, expect this battle to continue to be fought in the team’s front office.
The New York Yankees have looked like a mediocre team at best this season, and they have a 34-35 record that shows it. With the trade deadline a little over a month away, it might be in their best interest to be sellers for a change rather than buyers.
Hal Steinbrenner doesn’t see that happening. Why? Because the Yankees owner believes his team is still right in the thick of things.
“The last month has been promising,” Steinbrenner said Monday, via Bryan Hoch and Paul Hagen of MLB.com. “The offense up and down the line is starting to produce. [Chase] Headley certainly had a rough start; he’s hitting now. And you’re starting to see other guys contribute, too. I like what I’ve seen the last month. We just have to stay healthy.”
The Yankees are currently six games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. Mark Teixiera is set to rejoin the team this weekend after a rehab assignment in Triple-A, though he said he will need surgery if his knee starts acting up again. Despite concerns up and down the roster, Steinbrenner remains confident.
“We’ll have to see at the end of July, which we always do,” he said. “We’ll take a look at everything. We’ll see what injuries we’ve had from here to then and where the deficiencies are and where we go from there. But if we stay healthy, I’m confident we have a shot.”
The Yankees simply don’t pass the eye test at the moment, regardless of how far out of contention they are. Several teams are reportedly interested in two of their best relievers, and Steinbrenner would be doing his team a great injustice if he didn’t allow them to explore all options. Losing is an unfamiliar feeling in the Bronx, but there comes a time when you need to be realistic.
Alex Rodriguez has not lived up to his contract with the New York Yankees thus far, and it is only going to get worse from here. A-Rod is on the books for $20 million or more each season through 2017, including the $28 million he is making this season and $25 million he will make in 2015. And he’s already breaking down.
In addition to his postseason struggles and inability to stay healthy, A-Rod has also recently found himself at the center of yet another scandal involving performance-enhancing drugs. On Tuesday, Hal Steinbrenner admitted that the team has not always been happy with its slugger.
“There have no doubt been times when we’ve been disappointed in him and we’ve conveyed that to him,” Steinbrenner told the NY Post. “He understands that. Everybody’s human. Everybody makes mistakes. If you’ve got a guy over the course of 10 years, there are gonna be times … any of us make mistakes.”
The Yankees have had Derek Jeter for twice as long as Rodriguez, and I don’t believe they have been disappointed in him many times if at all. As for the MLB’s ongoing investigation regarding A-Rod’s possible ties to a biogenesis clinic, Steinbrenner said all the team can do is wait.
“We haven’t been told anything, so it hasn’t complicated things at all,” he said. “Innocent until proven guilty, right?”
Steinbrenner’s comments about A-Rod came the day after GM Brian Cashman said he didn’t think it would be possible for A-Rod to live up to his contract, so it’s obvious the entire organization is frustrated with him. Injuries are one thing, but Rodriguez has created plenty of distractions that could have been avoided along the way.
“He knows what we expect from him,” Steinbrenner said. “He knows what his teammates expect from him. We just hope he comes back strong.We need all the help we can get.”
The fact that A-Rod is recovering from a significant injury while also dealing with another PED scandal makes his situation just about as concerning as it can be in New York. If you think the team doesn’t regret giving him a massive extension, you haven’t been paying attention.