We’ve heard conflicting reports lately about the Yankee interest in getting into the Roy Halladay sweepstakes. It’s hard to know who’s telling the truth, since its in the Blue Jays interest to have them involved, and in the Yankee’s interest to downplay their true motives if they are.
There’s an element to consider if the Yanks truly have a lack of interest in Roy Halladay. The guy is 32 years old, so even without an extension (which Halladay says he doesn’t want) you’d have to expect him to be declining within the next few years. Lets look at the 2010 roster and the Yankee commitments already on the books to older players, assuming a Halladay deal:
Roy Halladay/33/$15.75 mil
Alex Rodriguez/34/$32 mil
Derek Jeter/36/$21 mil
Jorge Posada/38/$13 mil
Mariano Rivera/40/$15 mil
Mark Teixeira/30/$20 mil
Chien Ming Wang/30/$5+ mil
AJ Burnett/33/$16.5 mil
Damaso Marte/35/$4 mil
Total $142.35 mil on 9 players, 5 of whom will likely be well into their decline phase, if not totally finished as elite players deserving of their pay scale. Its also worth noting that CC Sabathia and his 23 mil doesn’t make the list, since he’s 29 next year. Add CC and the total goes to 165 mil on 10 players. That leaves you too little payroll flexibility to account for automatic pay raises built into contracts like Cano (6-9 mil) and Swisher (5-6.5) and arbitration raises the young players will certainly receive. I’m sorry, but even the Yanks have their limits.
The good news however, is that much of the old, dead weight on the payroll expires after 2010. Just below 70 mil in payroll comes off the books, although I think its safe to say Jeter will be brought back at some price. But that just means that now you’re looking for a Hughes, Chamberlain or Montero to replace some of those aging players who are coming off the books, and chances are you just traded them away in the Halladay deal. The Yanks could, of course, use some of that payroll flexibility to sign free agents to fill their needs. Looking at the 2011 free agent class, there are some interesting names, but its not one of the better years to be out shopping.
Considering everything, I think the Yanks will be serious players. How much of a premium Riccardi wants to deal him within the division will determine whether we get him or not. I’d bet against it happening, but Cash will make a serious run at him.
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