The New York Yankees have gone without a World Series Championship since 2009. But at the same time, they have come oh so close. The Yankees have gone 419-289 in the “Baby Bomber Era” (last five years), reaching the Wild Card three times while losing once. They have reached the ALDS four times and reached the ALCS twice, losing both times. Yankee fans are among the most demanding baseball fans in the game, and they are tired of not winning while the team makes more and more money.
The message to owner Hal Steinbrenner is that he must reinvest more into the team to get them over the hump; they have done it before. In the past twenty years, they have reinvested as much as 75% of revenue back into the team, but that figure in 2021 dropped to just 33%, 2020 was even worse at 29.5%. What infuriates Yankee fans is that during the period, the Yankee revenues have risen from $215 million to $689 million in 2019.
There is always the argument that you don’t have to spend the most to win, as evidenced by the Tampa Bay Rays and this year’s World Series-winning Atlanta Braves, but that is a subject for another article. This article is focused on the revenue to payroll issue. The Yankees have the money but fail to use it to gain that 28th World Championship. The common complaint is that if deceased owner George M. Steinbrenner was still running the team, they would be spending with all the money available and winning more Championships.
Throughout the last two decades, the decision-makers for the Yankees have made a conscious effort to keep payroll relatively constant even as they have tripled their revenue from 2001 to 2019. If you fast forward to 2019, when the Yankees won 103 games, they slashed their reinvestment to just 33%. One must understand that revenue is not profit, but there indeed is plenty of money to improve the team. At this point, the fans are saying the hell with the luxury tax, give GM Brian Cashman the money to build a team that can win.
Looking at the same numbers for baseball as a whole, the Yankees are reinvesting less back into the team than all of its rivals. Those self-imposed limitations have made them miss out big time in the postseason. When the Yankees last won the World Series in 2009 they reinvested 50% of revenues back into the team.
Going into the 2022 season, the New York Yankees have glaring needs. They desperately need a shortstop; they also need a valid number two starting pitcher, help at first base, and center field. With what you have read here, all facts, it is hard to imagine why the Yankees don’t spend big to solve these needs, while they still have a fan base to continue to raise those revenues and win Championships.