Last year’s Opening Day payroll was $201 million. Since they are free agents, Damon and Matsui count for $26 million off the books. Pettitte made $5.5 million last year. Chien-Ming Wang earned $5 million but likely is to be not tendered. Xavier Nady’s $6.5 million comes off as does Jose Molina’s $2.1 million.
That’s $45.1 million, but Derek Jeter gets a $1 million raise, CC Sabathia gets a $9 million bump, Robinson Cano jumps $3 million, Nick Swisher $1.5 million and Damaso Marte $225,000. That adds to $14.725 million.
What George A. King III alludes to, but leaves out of his analysis, is that playoff tickets are not free. This article from Biz of Baseball suggests that the Yankees have averaged just under $2M of team revenue from each postseason game. Then playing the minimum 5 games at home and winning the World Series (assuming the Yanks are the road team each round) is worth an extra $10M. A postseason like 2009 would bring in $14M.
You can't count on that money, of course, but it's something that has to be considered when discussing Halladay or any other player. The 2009 Yankees were the best team in baseball. There's $30M of payroll space between the current lineup and the 2009 version, but two major pieces are missing.
Spending the right money would bring in a lot more. So long as the price stays reasonable (Phil or Joba, or two of Jackson or IPK or McAllister, plus another lower prospect), I think adding Doc to the rotation is the best way to make up for losing the production of Damon and/or Matsui.