Why are the Yankees pretending to have a budget this year?
Well, they have some budget. I mean, eventually we’ll would reach a point where the Yankees actually can’t afford to meet payroll. I just think that number is way higher than the $198 million they’re claiming to be held to this year. So why are they sticking to this likely artificial budget?
Because next year is going to be when they really go hog wild. I mentioned Carl Crawford earlier this morning, but the 2010 free agent class really is significantly better than the 2009 class and there are many players to spend their money on next year that are better buys than Jason Bay, Matt Holliday or Johnny Damon. Players like Crawford, and Jayson Werth and Cliff Lee and Josh Beckett and Brandon Webb and Matt Cain and, yes, Joe Mauer (who some are speculating could rake in $30 million a year if he hits the open market).
No, I don’t think the Yankees are all-in on all of those guys -- I’ve often said and still believe that the Twins will extend Mauer -- but in my mind this is shaping up like 2008’s lull before New York went crazy on Sabathia, Teixeira and Burnett before the 2009 season. Biding their time -- the extent acquiring Granderson and Vazquez can be called biding one’s time -- until they jack up the payroll to $220 million+ and make a run at Crawford and maybe one of Lee, Beckett or (shudder) Mauer.
Not that I endorse that for the good of anyone’s health outside of the Yankees Universe.