U-turn of Steinbrenner augurs well for Yankees reconstruction

The Yankees payroll stands at $304 million as of January 13, 2024.

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In March 2023, the Yankees’ managing partner Hal Steinbrenner stoutly defended his spending strategy, which failed to make a big splash, claiming that a team salary exceeding $300 million wouldn’t bring a ring. However, he has made a U-turn in the offseason after the Yankees reeled under a performance lacuna in the 2023 season.

The New York Yankees are now stretching the limits of their financial commitment, as the recent deal for Marcus Stroman is poised to push their projected Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) payroll to just under $304.3 million, as reported by Cot’s Contracts.

Yankees salary bill enters the luxury tax territory

This noteworthy figure marks the Yankees’ venture into uncharted territory, surpassing the $300 million threshold for the first time in franchise history, assuming no further trades are made.

This surge in payroll is a direct result of an active offseason for the Yankees. They secured the services of superstar Juan Soto for a record-breaking $31 million in his final year of arbitration, bolstered their outfield through trades for Trent Grisham and Alex Verdugo for undisclosed fees, and finalized the Stroman deal at $37 million over two years.

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner

Consequently, their projected CBT payroll now stands at $304.3 million, positioning them as the third-highest in the league, trailing behind the Mets ($319.4 million) and Dodgers ($307.2 million). Notably, this places them above the fourth and highest luxury tax threshold, known as the “Steve Cohen Tax,” set at $297 million for 2024. Surpassing this threshold would trigger a projected $48.4 million tax bill, exceeding the $32.4 million penalty incurred in 2023.

Despite Steinbrenner’s historical reservations about $300 million payrolls, the Yankees appear ready to embrace this new financial frontier. The potential for additional additions, particularly in the pitching department for either the rotation or bullpen, remains a viable option.

To manage payroll costs, the Yankees might consider evaluating Gleyber Torres$14.2 million salary, although such a move would come at the potential expense of offensive firepower.

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