Yankees news/rumors: Staten Island, Trenton fire back after minor-league moves, cash strapped Bombers can’t overspend

Alexander Wilson
New York Yankees, Brian Cashman
Dec 11, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman reacts as outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (not pictured) is introduced at a press conference at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball is undoubtedly a business, but the New York Yankees might’ve taken it a bit too far with the readjusting of their minor-league affiliates. After utilizing the Trenton Thunder and Staten Island Yankees for many years, they made a surprising move over the weekend, stating that they will take different routes with both locations, relocating to Somerset and Hudson Valley.

While these moves might hold better financial situations, with a larger population and better facilities, the two affiliates voiced their concern and betrayal by upper management.

“Despite repeated assurances that the Thunder would remain its Double A affiliate over the last 16 months, the Yankees betrayed their partnership at the 11th hour,” Plumeri said in a statement. “By doing so the Yankees have misled and abandoned the Thunder and the taxpayers of Mercer County, who have invested millions of dollars over the years to ensure that Arm & Hammer Park remains one of the premier ballparks in America.”

The financial growth and prosperity sporting teams bring to a community is undeniable, and switching locations will significantly hurt Mercer County and the Thunder program. While they could join alternative baseball divisions, being an affiliate of the Yankees has its perks. It brings star-studded players returning from injury and/or struggling to the minors, where fans can watch them in their own backyard.

In addition, Staten Island will also lose a money maker, and they are also voicing their concerns.

“After careful consideration of locations in New York City, our ballpark was approved by the New York Yankees and built in St. George, Staten Island by the City of New York,” Smith said in a statement. “It was planned and agreed-to in 1999 for the express purpose of hosting New York Yankees professional Minor League Baseball. We are shocked at the developments from this past weekend, and we believe what has happened to our organization is unacceptable.”

Accommodating big-league teams is no easy feat, as it takes public money to develop stadiums and other facilities. The Yankees making this change could be viewed as a poor ethical decision.

“The Staten Island Yankees made every effort to accommodate MLB and New York Yankees requirements, including securing a commitment from New York City for ballpark upgrades,’’ Smith said in the statement. “However, MLB and the Yankees [chose] not to engage in any discussions with us. We were unaware of the final decision and learned about it by reading the statement on Yankees social media.”

The New York Yankees are surely cash strapped:

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal stated that the Yankees have too many holes to fill and are being cautious with their money:

Owner Hal Steinbrenner has said the team lost more money than any franchise after carrying the game’s highest payroll, $109 million, for the 60-game season. LeMahieu is a priority, but the Yankees also need starting pitching help and improvement at catcher and shortstop. How they thread the financial needle after exercising reliever Zack Britton’s $14 million option will be one of the most fascinating subplots of the offseason.

With three starting pitching spots to fill, the Yankees will be spending a bit of money to add to the rotation. They also keen on retaining DJ LeMahieu, their star infielder, and lead-off hitter. There have also been rumors that they are intrigued by a potential trade for star shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Spending significant money is unexpected for the Yankees this off-season, but we’ve seen crazier things happen. They have a bit of money opening up but prefer to stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold.