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Thinking About the 2009 Payroll

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Buster Olney recently reported that he'd heard the Yanks' ideal 2009 payroll would drop $30 million to $180 after finishing 2008 at $209.  That's the first hard figure I've heard, so let's take a look at how much flexibility Brian Cashman will really have.


Player Salary Total
Arod 32 32
Jeter 20 50
Rivera 15 65
Posada  13.1 78.1
Damon 13 91.1
Matsui 13 104.1
Cano 6 110
Wang (6) 116
Nady (5) 121
Molina 2 123
Betemit (2) 125
Bruney (1) 126
Melky (1) 127
Hughes (.5)
Chamberlain (.5) 128
IPK (.5)
Albaledejo (.5) 129
Gardner (.5)
Veras (.5) 130
Coke (.5)
Robertson (.5) 131
Miranda (.5)
Ransom (.5) 132
Aceves (.5)
Britton (.5) 133

Now, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that not all of these players will be on the roster.  

I love the interchangeable relievers (Veras, Robertson, Albaledejo, Britton, Bruney, Edwar, Giese + Melancon, Cox, and Sanchez).  

With CMWang the only lock for the rotation, I'm betting we see Joba, Hughes, IPK, Aceves, Horne, Coke, or someone else filling 3 of the 4 remaining spots in the rotation.  As much as I'd love to sign 2 FA pitchers (preferably Garland and Sabathia), I don't see it happening.  Could we get Garland (who has pitched 190+ innings for 7 consecutive seasons, and doesn't turn 30 until next September) for 4 years/ $40 million?  That would bring payroll to about 140.  I would bring Pettitte back at a similar number (one year) or not at all; he got his $16 million payday out of respect, but that was before his name showed up in the Mitchell report and he faded down the stretch.

I've already said no to Tex, and Giambi is likely to get a two-year deal, so I'm not sure what better option is out there.  I want to keep that position open long-term for some combination of Arod, Jeter, Posada, so maybe it's time for Johnny Damon to find that mitt, or Matsui to put his money where his mouth is.  I don't want to solve the centerfield issue with a Melky/Gardner Spring Training showdown, but the thought of Rocco Baldelli makes me cringe, and a trade for DeJesus or McLouth doesn't really excite me either.

So, the Yanks have about 50 million dollars to spend, and I expect them to target 30 million of it on the rotation.  But if the Yanks don't get either Sabathia or Teixeira, I could see them starting 2009 with a budget as low as 155; that's still top of the league, but within a free agent of the Red Sox, Tigers, Mets and Angels.