Yankees owner confirms team payroll to be above $300 million

MLB: Winter Meetings
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are running out one of the highest payrolls in baseball this season and Hal Steinbrenner confirmed to the media earlier this afternoon that the number exceeds $300 million. This means that the Yankees are also above the threshold dubbed the ‘Steve Cohen Tax’ which comes with a 110% surcharge on all expenses. Considering the team would like to add starting pitching ahead of Opening Day, Hal Steinbrenner even mentioned that they’re not done trying to improve the team.

With the uncertainty regarding where some of the top free agents will go, the Luxury Tax creates a hurdle for the Yankees to overcome if they want to make a final addition.

Hal Steinbrenner Clarifies that the Yankees Still Want to Improve

MLB: New York Yankees-Aaron Judge press conference
Dec 21, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Hal Steinbrenner during a press conference at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

Starting pitching is the biggest question mark surrounding the Yankees as we head toward Opening Day, and the team is diligently searching for help. Blake Snell is one of the big-name free agents remaining on the market, and while the fit makes sense on paper, the financial situation is something to be wary of. To pay Blake Snell short-term means making a $35-$40 million expense that would become an even greater expense when you tag on a 110% on top of that. Andy Martino of SNY confirmed that as of right now at least, no offer has been made by the Yankees

Still, the expectation is that the Yankees will continue to search for pitching as the market evolves, but the options out there may not match what the team is willing to pay. Dylan Cease could cost way more than they’re willing to pay in a trade as well, especially given the reports that the Chicago White Sox are asking for a package including highly-touted prospect Spencer Jones. Not to say that they shouldn’t be asking for a lot in return for a pitcher they covet, but rather that the Yankees have been adamant that they will not trade Jones.

READ MORE: Yankees are refusing to trade star outfield prospect even for elite pitching

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Hudson Valley Renegades outfielder Spencer Jones during media day on April 5, 2023. Renegades Media Day

It’s unclear how the Yankees will land a pitcher, and for those reasons, some believe that they’re set with the rotation and will enter Opening Day as currently constructed. That was the belief at the time they signed Marcus Stroman, but reports and comments have suggested that they’re still searching for additions. Hal Steinbrenner said himself that you can never have too much pitching, and also made an interesting comment regarding the willingness to foot the bill on a big deal.

“I’m still willing to consider anything that comes my way, anything Cash and his team bring my way. I’ll leave it at that. But we are not done trying to improve this team.”

Hal Steinbrenner
mlb: miami marlins at san diego padres, blake snell, yankees
Aug 22, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) walks to the dugout during the middle of the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

As Spring Training games continue to roll on, one would expect that free agents will only grow more restless, but just as the Yankees would love to make a final splash, so could other suitors on the market. It’s unclear if the Yankees are bidding against themselves or not, but one would imagine that these players would like to sign sooner rather than later, as the Padres and Dodgers have already begun their Spring Training schedules, and the offseason is officially coming to a close.

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