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From Joel Serman (h/t to Fack Youk), we get an interesting report on the Yankee ownership’s unwillingness to spend past their stated budget:
The Yankees are telling agents that they only have $2 million, at most, to spend on a left fielder. They figure Damon, even in a diminishing market, would never drop his demands that low. The Yanks being the Yanks, of course, could always just create extra money in the budget as they did last year when GM Brian Cashman successfully lobbied Hal Steinbrenner to add Andy Pettitte’s $5.5 million base plus makeable incentives to the payroll. [snip] After having won the World Series, ownership is not quite as compelled to blow up the budget again.
Hal Steinbrenner, after all, has shown a much greater willingness to hold to some financial guidelines than his father, George, did. For example, the Post has learned, the Yanks had a completed trade last July with Milwaukee for Mike Cameron, pending ownership’s blessing to take on the money. But Hal Steinbrenner refused to add the approximately $5.5 million in salary and luxury tax it would have cost for the rest of the season, so the deal was scrapped.
It seems that Johnny Damon is unlikely to return to New York unless his price drops to a point where he is certain to be snapped up by another club. In fact, 2 million may not be enough to obtain Xavier Nady, and might be barely enough to bring in a player like Xavier Nady. The Yankees are trying to be fiscally responsible for the first time since George Steinbrenner bought the team, and it seems like they are being run more like a business than ever before. While fans may not love that idea, I cannot fault the club for the manner in which they cap their spending. Ultimately, the goal of a business owner is to limit costs and maximize revenues. If the Steinbrenners truly believe that they can consistently win under the current budget (and there is no reason to believe otherwise), then it is within their rights to hold the line at an already exorbitant 200M in salaries.
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