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New York Yankees Notes: Lower Luxury Tax? What Is Going On Here?

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The New York Yankees have been assessed their lowest luxury tax bill since 2003, and their seems to be great concern that there is something amiss in the kingdom.

At 'Confessions Of A She Fan,' the always off-beat Jane Heller wonders if the Yankees have turned into the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Jane summed up her feelings this way:

Who are these newfangled Yankees anyway? I want my bloated, free-spending, free-agent-signing, they-give-me-great-players-for-Christmas team back.

I am certain a lot of Yankee fans feel the same way, especially considering what the starting rotation would look like if the season began today.

ESPN New York says that Hal Steinbrenner needs to remember that cost-cutting is nice, but if he is running the Yankees the bottom line is he needs to win.

Yankees' salaries were dropped to a still major-league high $215 million in 2010 from $226 million in 2009, and an upbeat GM Brian Cashman said Tuesday they are currently in the $170 million range.

The Yankees aren't turning into the Pirates -- as their offer to Cliff Lee showed -- but this latest piece of information further demonstrates how Hal's Yankees will be different.

From Hal's reluctance to speak in public to his reliance on spreadsheets, he is unlike his father in many ways, except for one -- the way he will be judged by his team's fans.

He must win and win big or his budgets and business-like approach will be as unpopular as his father's bombastic style was during the mid-'80s.

You can run a business, play "messy" with the Captain and even lower the luxury tax, but, if you do it, at these Stadium prices, you better win.

I can't imagine many Yankee fans disagreeing with that sentiment, either.

MLB.com's Bryan Hoch had some interesting observations in a recent notebook. One was that GM Brian Cashman said there is no chance Joba Chamberlain will be a starting pitcher. The other interesting note is that A.J. Burnett has created an indoor pitching facility at his home.

Not sure if you will chuckle at this one or shake your head and wonder how some of these guys became Yankees in the first place, but The Yankeeist has put together a statistical look at the least valuable Yankees of the last 10 years. It's really an ugly, regrettable bunch of names.