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Deck Us All With Boston Charlie

Deck us all with Boston Charlie, especially Brian Cashman, who has thus far this winter resisted the call of anxious fans to see him improve the team by means of the importation of questionable and expensive pitchers. The Yankees have many questionable and inexpensive pitchers, and that should be good enough for now.

This is probably something we should get used to. According to Maury Brown, the Yankees have now spent a lifetime $200 million in luxury taxes. Additionally, they and the Red Sox were the only teams to be hit with the tax in 2011. The Steinbrenner family may be getting tired of dealing with this given that it is utterly unnecessary. The problem is the current tax threshold is $178 million; it's staying there through 2013, then rising to $189 million through 2016. This won't help the Yankees much because they're going to continue to be hamstrung by three contracts that last past that point--those of Mark Teixeira and the two opt-out kids, Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia. In the coming season, they will get the Yankees 40 percent of the way to the tax threshold by themselves. If the Yankees want to get below the threshold, that leaves them with roughly $100 million to play with, and they already have many other expensive contracts; Rafael Soriano at $14 million in 2013 starts to look like an even bigger problems than it was perceived to be at the time, and A.J. Burnett's $16.5 million in each of the next two years, well... never mind. Add in the extra year of $17 million given an aging Derek Jeter for 2013 and the Yankees' flexibility is just gone, baby, gone.

Yes, other deals will come off of the payroll in that time, but deals like these are going to be problems for a long time if the Yankees have finally reached the point that they would rather take home the money they give to Bud Selig. In this sense, they and we are lucky, because better Manny Betances in June than Hiroki Kuroda for a full season (and I like Kuruda)--the baseball and financial interests coincide. Unfortunately, they didn't coincide in the case of a Yu Darvish, who seems a reasonable bet to excel. Alas, the posting fee was apparently forbidding, and Cashman and pals may not have the confidence to negotiate with star players unless they show exceptional largesse of the type that they've given some of the aforementioned expensive types--extra years at high salaries.

So, happy holidays and merry everything to all. It may have been a static Yankees winter so far, but the lack of questionable entanglements is good, their ability to deal in the coming days and months is still unhindered, and things are only going to get more interesting--for the first time in years, we may be about to watch the Yankees try to solve their problems by methods other than loading the catapults with money. That excites me more than a dozen free agents.