New York Yankees: Why Jorge Soler and Others Fit Their New Payroll Philosophy

March 8, 2012   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

During the past few years, tales of economic hardship have been uttered from the mouths of many on a worldwide scale. All around the world, the rocky and unpredictable financial climate has affected people and business’s alike. 

Yet, when the population thinks of examples of a recessed global market, they usually don’t imagine institutions like the New York Yankees. But even the cash-strapped Bombers have fallen prey to a severe case of tight pockets.

Of course, that’s relatively speaking.

In addition to a revamped luxury tax scale, the Yankees’ money is being pinched more than it has in days past. Since 2009’s spending smorgasbord that awarded them CC Sabathia, Mark Texeria and A.J. Burnett, the team has toned down big money and big name contracts. Sure, they still “throw their weight around” so to speak, but they are going in a different direction to trim the fat off the cow.

Amid the whispers of a refurbished “New York State of Mind,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner has not made any of these plans secret to the inquiring minds of the public. 

“I don’t think it’s a big surprise that one of my goals has always been to try to lower the payroll,” Steinbrenner told USA Today.  “Plenty of teams win without the kind of payrolls we have. I’m excited about the young kids we have. That definitely helps. We’re going to shoot for that.”

Of course the Yankees are looking to “lower” their payroll, but don’t be fooled. The club will still have a gaudy number that sits atop the highest in the major league landscape.

So, how exactly do they plan to compete at the same lofty level that fans have grown accustomed to?

Obviously, the direct source of cheap labor for any team is the minor league talent. Whether it’s finding a diamond in the rough or grooming a raw prospect, the junior affiliates produce the eventual major league talent.

One player who could fit into the Yankee’s future plans via the minors is the Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler.

While he hasn’t garnered the same attention as countrymen Yoenis Cespedes, Soler is a more than suitable candidate to flourish in a controlled minor league system. The team could sign him to a cheap deal, prepare him for the pros and let Nick Swisher and his $10.25 million walk at the end of the season.

Even with reports from CBS Sports and others that the Cubs are inches away from signing the 19-year-old, the baseball world has heard that same news from Wrigleyville regarding Cespedes. But, if the Cubs were to sign him, the plan in New York would remain the same: the minor leagues must remain stocked.

For years, the Yankees continuously said goodbye to top notch minor leaguers without thinking twice.  In fact, if anyone forgot, Frank Costanza told us all about it. Yes, the Yankees parted ways with their crown jewel Jesus Montero this year. But in return, they received a major league-ready arm in Michael Pineda and a sometimes forgotten pitching prospect in Jose Campos.

Cashman and the suits knew that Montero was eventually going to be a high-priced talent with no position on this team, so he pulled the trigger.

In recognition of the electric arms (Betances, Banuelos) in the minors, they also refused to overpay for any of the flashy arms for hire this offseason. OK, so they signed Hiroki Kuroda to a $10 million deal, but it’s a one-year contract and basically just a stop-gap move before the “Killer B’s” invade the Bronx.

With all that being said, don’t prepare to be crying poor, Yankees fans. Spending money is like a second language to the Bombers. “We’re still the Yankees. We’re still going to outspend everybody else,” general manger Brian Cashman told the Wall Street Journal. “That’s not going to change.”

But, with the approaching 2014 luxury tax threatening to rob New York of almost $3 on every $1 over the salary cap, expect the Yankees to do business a little different in the future. 

Apparently, the reckless days of blindly throwing money at problems have come to an end.

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