A thought on lowering payroll

Should we be shocked that the Yankees are sending out waves that they may want to reduce payroll in 2010? Of course not. It’s not like winning a World Series suddenly makes the Yankees immune from the economic recession – everyone is tightening their belts everywhere.

But while lopping a few dollars here and there seems like a nice idea, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Brian Cashman’s hands are going to be tied behind his back heading to Indianapolis for the Winter Meetings.

The Yankees took the field on Opening Day with a $201 million payroll,
and while no one expects them to spend anywhere near the $423.5 million
they committed to Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira last winter, they will
have some room to play with thanks to money coming off the books.

The
funds spent last year for Damon and Matsui ($13 million each) represent
a sizable amount to attract free agents, while Pettitte ($5.5 million
plus $5 million in incentives), Wang ($5 million), Xavier Nady ($6.5
million) and Jose Molina ($2.1 million) can also be shuffled in the
budget.

So, yes, there’s talk of lowering payroll once again. But of
course, that might last only until the Steinbrenners see something they
absolutely must have. Hal Steinbrenner found the extra room to go get Teixeira last winter when Cashman was already teetering close to his budget, so these things are not concrete.

There’s more on the Yankees’ potential needs here, but you probably already have a pretty good idea what the most glaring holes are. They need a starting pitcher, a left fielder and a designated hitter, with bullpen help running behind as less of a concern. Cashman is going to be in on anything that discusses Roy Halladay or John Lackey, and they’ll probably kick the tires on Matt Holliday and Jason Bay too if it looks like Johnny Damon isn’t coming back.

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