Maybe we Yankee fans don't have it so bad after all. For the past year, we've complained about Hal Steinbrenner's tight-wad ways, letting free agents walk and pressuring GM Brian Cashman to bring team payroll under the $189 million luxury-tax threshold. It turns out that Hal isn't so cheap after all. A report today in Forbes (www.forbes.com) shows what real cheapness is: the Houston Astros.
The Astros, with the worst record in baseball, have the lowest active payroll in baseball: less than $13 million. Ironically, the Astros also the most profitable team in baseball, with an operating income of $99 million. They started the season with a payroll of $26 million and have slashed it by more than $13 million.
These numbers are mind-boggling to Yankee fans brought up in the free-spending era of George Steinbrenner.
The Yankees' operating income for 2012 was $1.4 million, according to Forbes. Their payroll this year is $228 million, according to Baseball Prospectus. The Yankees have eight players who earn more than the entire Astros' team: Alex Rodriguez, Vernon Wells, C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Alfonso Soriano, Hiroki Kuroda, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson.
Let's just hope that Hal doesn't see the Forbes article and get the idea that cheaper is better, regardless of won-loss record. It just doesn't work that way in New York. Here, a losing record would get him nothing more than a ride through the Canyon of Zeroes with James Dolan and Woody Johnson.