TAMPA — As the offseason began, Yankee fans dreamed of taking on Corey Seager, or in some cases Carlos Correa, as shortstop and, more recently, Freddie Freeman as first base.
Reality hit them this week when the team traded for Isiah Kiner-Falefa and instead agreed to agreements with Anthony Rizzoboth far cheaper options than the top-of-the-market players available.
On Wednesday, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner defended his commitment to the team, noting that payroll is already above the first competitive balance sheet tax threshold under the new collective bargaining agreement.
“Look, it’s a consideration,” Steinbrenner said across the threshold at George M. Steinbrenner Field. “That’s my job every year: making sure we’re financially accountable. We have a lot of partners and banks and bondholders and things like that that I have to be accountable to. At the same time, it is always our goal to put together a winning team.”
The owner pointed to limited box office receipts in 2020 and last season as something that’s still affecting payroll, and others have noted that the Yankees got Josh’s remaining $50 million over the last two years Picked up Donaldson’s contract in the Minnesota trade.
“I think we have a pretty good history with big payrolls and a good amount of player resources,” Steinbrenner said.
He added that “many of the larger market clubs have been hardest hit by the economic fallout from COVID”.
“Our expenses, whether we’re playing or not, are a little bigger,” Steinbrenner said. “Everything costs more in New York.”
Add to that the annual payment of over $80 million they make to the city for the bond they have on Yankee Stadium.
“We can talk about our income, but we also have to talk about expenses,” said Steinbrenner. “We have some significant ones. It’s been a tough two years.”
He also knows what’s happening across the city where Steve Cohen is spending so much that the new fourth CBT threshold is dubbed “The Cohen Tax.”
Steinbrenner said he doesn’t feel pressured to spend more because of Cohen’s ability.
“I think everyone expects me to do that [feel pressure], but the answer is no because I can’t control what resources other owners or other teams have and what they’re going to do with those resources,” Steinbrenner said. “I make the same commitment every year as my family does, to do whatever we can to build a championship-quality team and win a World Series. I will continue to do everything I can for that.”
The owner is also looking forward with the rest of the organization to top prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza, which is why the likes of Seager and Marcus Semien have ended up in Texas.
“Obviously I know what guys you’re talking about,” Steinbrenner said when asked about Correa and Freeman, as well as Matt Olson, who was traded from Oakland to Atlanta. “We have two incredible prospects that I am happy to give a chance. Things like that play a role there.”
But he insisted he wouldn’t rule anything out at the start of the offseason.
“A lot of things come into play, but I take everything into account,” said Steinbrenner. “I think you know me well enough to know—and [Cashman] I’ll tell you – I’m willing to consider and discuss anything my baseball guys bring me, and that process was done this year as it is every year. We left no stone unturned.”
This year’s payroll, Steinbrenner said, was unaffected a potential extension of Aaron Judge.
Steinbrenner told Judge, “is a very special player and a great Yankee. We will have talks [regarding an extension] In the coming weeks.”
As Cashman and Judge have said, the focus right now is on assembling this year’s roster with not much time left until opening day.
“My orders to [Cashman] when this lockdown ended [was], ‘We have Aaron this year. Let’s focus on what we need to bring to make this team better [this season].”
https://nypost.com/2022/03/16/hal-steinbrenner-defends-yankees-payroll/ Hal Steinbrenner defends Yankees payroll