The Yankees stand at a crossroads - whether to continue cutting costs this winter and stay under $189M, or go for broke and try to win it all. It's a question that will affect the entire market during - and after - the winter meetings.
To begin such a discussion, we ought to take a look at what this team looks like with the current roster (40-man):
C Brian McCann ($17M)
1B Mark Teixeira ($22.5M)
2B Kelly Johnson ($3M)
SS Derek Jeter ($12M)
3B Alex Rodriguez* ($25M + ~6M)
LF Brett Gardner (projected $4M)
CF Jacoby Ellsbury ($21.85M)
RF Carlos Beltran ($15M)LF Alfonso Soriano ($18M) OF Ichiro Suzuki ($6.5M)
IF Eduardo Nunez, Brendan Ryan ($2.75M)
CL David Robertson (projected $5M)
NOTE: all arbitration projections from MLB Trade Rumors
This combination of 37 players (not strictly accurate, but close enough) should give us an estimation of what the Yankees have already booked - roughly $208.6M - already over their $189M budget. But, if A-Rod is suspended for all or most of next season, $25M - plus the $6M he'd receive from passing Willy Mays on the HR list - will come off the books, lowering the payroll to $177.6M.
Add $11M in fees and...
$188.6M. Under the limit. Just barely. And there's still 3 more spots not calculated in.
Will it work? Will the team actually commit - or will the team import Tanaka or Matt Garza, or will they instead dump payroll by trading Ichiro Suzuki (I approve) or Brett Gardner (I don't approve). Swapping a few prospects for a starter or an infielder is still doable. And, if A-Rod's suspended is overturned, do they instead go all-in on Stephen Drew and other top free agents left - assuming some are still available, of course).
And here is where I turn the question over to the community - what would you do?