Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Bold, And Maybe Stupid, Prediction

Not long ago I mentioned that I no longer cared about the team payroll. It used to be a fun thing to figure out, but I got tired of worrying about a team whose payroll was over $200 million. However it's clear that the Yankees, or at least their owner Hal Steinbrenner, does care about the team's payroll. And Hal's feelings about the team payroll could very well keep the Yankees from making the 2016 team as good as it can be.

Therefore, signing Jason Heyward won't happen, right? Well... probably. But I wanted to look into something.

"Great... here we go with another hair-brained idea."

There's been plenty of talk and rumors about the Yankees trading away Brett Gardner and/or Andrew Miller. There's not a lot that's happened to say what Gardner could return in a trade, while the Craig Kimbrel deal gives us a pretty good idea of what the Yankees could get back if they were to trade Miller (by the way, it's a lot).

It makes sense that the Yankees would at least listen to offers for Miller. But what about Gardner? Brett would not fetch nearly as much in a trade. And along with that, the Yankees would then have to put Aaron Hicks into the everyday lineup. So what's up?

I think it's to free up money for something big.

Currently, the Yankees 2016 Opening Day payroll for the 25-man roster is at about $184 million. Last season the Yankees Opening Day payroll was a shade under $218 million.

Now, before you jump up and say "that's plenty of money left over to sign Heyward and not spend more than last season", there's a couple of things to consider.

For starters... arbitration eligible players.

MLB Trade Rumors has done a fantastic job at projecting arbitration salaries, so I have no reason to think they will be far off again this year. With that in mind, let's see what they think about the players on the Yankees that are arbitration eligible...

Ivan Nova – $4.4m
Michael Pineda – $4.6m
Dustin Ackley – $3.1m
Nate Eovaldi – $5.7m
Adam Warren – $1.5m
Justin Wilson – $1.3m
Didi Gregorius – $2.1m

That totals $22.7 million. Add that to the current Opening Day payroll and you have just under $208 million. Suddenly, having just $10 million to spare isn't enough for Heyward.

Oh, but that's not all.

You also have to take into account pre-arbitration players. As of right now there are 20 players that are either under contract or are arbitration eligible, leaving just five more spots that could be filled by young players like Dellin Betances, Aaron Hicks, Rob Refsnyder, Gary Sanchez, and Luis Severino.

Those five players will make close to the league minimum, which for 2016 is $507,500. It's likely that those players will make a bit more than that, at least those players that are not in their rookie season. So if we figure their average salary was $530,000, then you can add another $2.65 million to the Opening Day payroll for the 25-man roster. Which brings the total to almost $211 million.

That means that in order to keep the team's payroll the same as last year, which is what Hal seems to want, then Brian Cashman only has $7 million to work with. Which, as you can probably guess, is not enough to lure Jason Heyward to the Bronx.

But what if Cashman could find a way to shed $13.5 million from next year's payroll? That would give him over $20 million to work with. And while Heyward would demand a little more than $20 million a year, I can see Hal Steinbrenner opening up the wallet a little more to acquire such a player.

"Wait, I'm set to make $13.5 million next year."

That's why I'm predicting that if Brian Cashman is able to trade away Brett Gardner, which he'd only do if he didn't have to pay any of Brett's remaining contact, the Yankees will sign Jason Heyward.


  1. Its quite simple. Hal isn't going to add money unless he is forced into a corner. The so called economics geek probably studied at Bergen Community College because he fails to understand that this past pitching class doesn't get better then 2016/17 when he has all this money come off the books.

    He's not in it to win championships, he's in it to clearly line his and his partners pockets with cash.
    As much as I can't stand the elf, Reed is right that Hal won't spend the money. ATTENDANCE needs to drop and TV revenue fall and the Met's dominate the back page and the Yanks missing the PO or getting knocked out in the play in game before Hal spends money

    1. Attendance was its lowest since the 2000 season, and the tv revenue isn't going to fall. It's going to go up, every year. Between what MLB gets for games on FOX and such and what the Yankees get through their sale of the YES Network the monies will continue to go up like they have steadily for the past 10 or so years.

      Hal's just pocketing that money at this point and getting fat off it. No other explanation needed.

  2. By the way Bryan there is also some $12.9 million or something like that which is automatically allocated to a team's payroll to pay for club benefits and player benefits if memory serves.

  3. Actually Burch TV stations make money on advertising and that cost goes down if viewership goes down. Companies that advertise on TV aren't going to pay top dollar for a spot if people aren't watching the games

  4. TV stations, sure. The Yankees money coming from MLB's deals and their deal with the YES Network are almost guaranteed at this point. They sign contracts with these companies.

  5. YES network revenue decreased because viewership decreased. Rupert Murdoch is not a happy camper

    1. YES revenue decreased but the money they pay the Yankees is locked in. They get the same amount of money even if the YES Network closes tomorrow. It's in the contract.

    2. I'm not quite sure your last comment is accurate. Plenty of companies close and go bankrupt and don't pay a red penny even with a contract.

    3. I guess they could breach their contract but it's FOX, they will settle and pay their bill.


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)