Yankees and Mets both have the obscene payrolls that NY teams need

Look, we get it. In Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, the idea of ​​an Armageddon-level walkout was perhaps almost tempting. In Kansas City and Cleveland, the lockdown probably felt less apocalyptic and more like an opportunity for a profound market correction.

In Minneapolis and Milwaukee, in Miami and Tampa, the idea of ​​controlling costs certainly seems like a sensible idea.

But we’re not Pittsburgh or Cincinnati. We’re not Kansas City or Cleveland. We’re not Minneapolis or Milwaukee or Miami or Tampa. We are New York City. We are Batman’s Gotham and Superman’s Metropolis. We are the largest of the big markets. We’ve never apologized for that, and we shouldn’t start now.

Only now are our two baseball teams taking this to heart.

This summer, the Mets and Yankees together will spend well over half a billion dollars on baseball players, and if that seems outrageous… well, sure, on some level, a practical and logical level, probably is outrageous. And over the next six months there will be times when you’ll spend $12 on a beer and $55 on parking when you almost certainly will be outrageous.

Yankees Mets
The Yankees and Mets both have obscene payrolls this season.
NY Post illustration

But there will be other nights, many other nights, when you just lose yourself in the nightly baseball rituals of clicking SNY or YES in your living room, turning on WFAN or WCBS on your patio, and you just lose It’s baseball season when you get carried away by John and Suzyn and Howie and Wayne.

And get carried away.

Because you can say all you want about the way both teams created their rosters; You may have issues with that player who didn’t trade for or that free agent who didn’t sign. But one thing can’t be said about baseball in New York, in Queens, or in the Bronx, on either side of the RFK Bridge:

Don’t skimp.

The Mets inked a $341 million, 10-year deal with Francisco Lindor
The Mets inked a $341 million, 10-year deal with Francisco Lindor
Getty Images

Both have busted the luxury tax cap, and according to’s MLB payroll tracker, the Mets were ready Monday to pay $278 million and the Yankees $254 million, including likely surcharges for exceeding the tax cap of the competition balance . As Casey Stengel — who once threatened to hold above $75 as a player — might have said: you can look it up. Or, even better, just use a calculator.

That’s $532 million. A city. Two teams.

(And both are still trailing the Dodgers, which above all could scratch or smash the $300 million payroll plateau.)

“It’s great for New York fans to have two competitive baseball teams,” said Hal Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ managing general partner, in Tampa a few weeks ago. “We play in different leagues but to a certain extent we are rivals and that will make the summer very fun.”

Steinbrenner, of course, was the target of some Yankee fans to poke fun at. That’s partly because he runs the team very differently than his father, who often approached the free-agent season like an all-you-can-eat buffet out of habit or addiction. And that’s partly because Mets owner Steve Cohen, the richest man in the sport, has made little secret of his willingness to spend portions of his fortune on his baseball team.

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen speaks to the media
New York Mets owner Steve Cohen speaks to the media
Getty Images
Hal Steinbrenner, Managing General Partner/Co-Chairman of the New York Yankees
Hal Steinbrenner, Managing General Partner/Co-Chairman of the New York Yankees
Getty Images

Still, if Steinbrenner is “cheap,” then $256.5 million redefines the definition.

“I think,” Steinbrenner said, “we have a pretty good history of having high payrolls and putting a good amount of resources into the players that we have.”

They have a history, and it would be fitting for Yankees fans to remember.

The Mets? There were years when they flexed their financial muscles — often with disastrous results. But the last decade of the Wilpon family’s leadership has been played out almost entirely under a post-Madoff cloud of smog, and it’s a reminder of payslips and rosters that always felt a little short — and often turned out to be just that.

The Mets may or may not start stacking championships like Jenga pieces, but as long as Cohen owns them, they’ll likely never again be accused of walking around in the humble robes of a small market team.

“Listen, $290 million is a lot of money to spend all together,” Cohen told reporters during a visit to Port St. Lucie last month. “Like I said, I’m okay with that and I’m willing to live with it. And we leave it at that.”

So that’s all that’s left: the feeling you get when you beat your personal high on the bench press, bicep curl, or pulldown. New York’s baseball muscles are tight. That may not guarantee a date together at the end of October. But it won’t be due to a lack of effort. Or spend. Yankees and Mets both have the obscene payrolls that NY teams need


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