Yankees owner admits that team payroll is ‘not sustainable’ for the long haul

MLB: Winter Meetings
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The New York Yankees have a roster that can realistically win the 2024 World Series. The downside to that is their current payroll, which matter-of-factly puts them deep in the luxury tax hole.

Hal Steinbrenner says the team’s payroll is not sustainable

MLB: New York Yankees-Aaron Judge press conference

Per Dan Martin of the New York Post, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner had this to say about the exorbitant amount of money they have on their books at the present and hinted at how he may remedy their tax situation (h/t CBS Sports’ Dan Perry):

“I’m gonna be honest, payrolls at the levels we’re at right now are simply not sustainable for us financially. It wouldn’t be sustainable for the vast majority of ownership [groups], given the luxury tax we have to pay,” Steinbrenner said.

Yankees currently have an excess of $300M on their books

The Yankees have a payroll of $302 million at the moment. That’s up from the $273 million they had in 2023. Both of those figures are grand, and Steinbrenner getting the Yankees back to a sustainable level will be somewhat of a challenge.

They paid a $32.4 million tax bill on their $293 million luxury tax threshold in 2023, and their amount for this season could negate nearly almost half of the roughly $90 million they have on expiring one-year deals.

Who could be on their way out of New York if the Yankees make money-saving moves?

MLB: Chicago White Sox at New York Yankees, nestor cortes
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A spotlight is now immediately on players on the Yankees’ roster who are not performing up to snuff on the year. Nestor Cortes has had his share of struggles on the mound. His play tells a more nuanced story than his numbers do, but neither is in line with what was seen from him at his peak in 2022. Once he’s due for a re-up from his remaining $3.95 million this winter, he may earn what he’s seeking from another team should the Yankees look to pinch pennies.

Gleyber Torres’ struggles have also been well documented this season and the $14 million he occupies on the Yankees’ salary cap table may be expendable, especially with a slew of younger infield options that the team has waiting in the woodworks in their farming system and in the dugout. He’s the second-highest-paid player not signed to a multi-year deal on their roster.

Among the 11 players who are, Marcus Stroman, Anthony Rizzo, and Tommy Kahnle are the only three eight-figure earners that could conceivably be expendable in the trade market, and the former two are having themselves seasons through 52 games so far, especially in Stroman’s case, who just joined the team in January.

Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman will need to be shrewd in how they approach their upcoming roster moves to put the franchise in better financial standing while not compromising their strength as contenders.

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