The New York Yankees Are Kind of Cheap Now

Last Updated on March 19, 2022 by Lil Ginge

The New York Yankees appear to be going the cheap route in 2022.

With many premium – and very expensive – free agents like Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, Max Scherzer, and Freddie Freeman quite available on the free-agent market during the 2021-22 offseason hot stove, the Yankees have decided to sign exactly none of those people.

A sad and lonely New York Yankee fan sitting in a sweatshirt with the Yankees logo on the back. The photo is in black and white.
Sad Yankees fans. Photo by Kylie de Guia / Unsplash.

The Yankees 2021-22 Offseason Acquisitions

That’s not to say the Yankees have done nothing significant to improve the club over 2021. They have, after all, just recently added Josh Donaldson to their roster and lineup. Josh Donaldson used to be a phenomenal baseball player. And he is still a good baseball player. As recently as 2019, admittedly now a few years removed, he was an excellent baseball player.

The Yankees have also decided to sign Anthony Rizzo to man first base. Rizzo used to be an excellent baseball player and is now pretty average baseball player. He can still hit a lick with solid on-base skills and power to boot. But no longer is he a star.

The Yankees’ relatively cheapo offseason compared with some other ballclubs has owner Hal Steinbrenner playing some defense with journalists and fans. Steinbrenner has argued that the payroll is over the luxury tax threshold under the new rules of baseball. At least the first tier of the tax. This is true. But so what?

Financial ROI Vs Baseball ROI

Hal Steinbrenner said his job is to make sure the Yankees are being financially responsible. I guess you could look at it that way. You could also look at it from the point of view that his job is actually to win, finances be damned, as long as the club is solvent

Steinbrenner adds that being a championship club remains and always is also the team’s goal. But boy, he sure isn’t acting like it. Watch what they do, not what they say. And none of the Yankees moves of this offseason screams “World Series Championship Club” to me.

Hal Steinbrenner Is Whining

Hal is whining about limited ticket revenues from 2020 (cry me a river, to quote the iconic poet Justin Timberlake) and last season. He also added that the Yankees have a great history of having high payrolls, etc. Yeah, of course, they do. Under your dad’s regime, dude, not under yours.

And then Steinbrenner further said that many of the large market clubs got hit badly by COVID-19. Do you know what other major market club got hit hard by COVID? The Mets. You know who’s been spending like a drunken sailor their last night in port? The Mets.

Steinbrenner adds to his list of whines and cheese something, something, there’s an $80 plus million annual payment on their Yankee Stadium debt. Zzzzz. Steinbrenner has said that he doesn’t feel any pressure to spend more despite what crosstown rival and Mets owner Steve Cohen is doing. Yeah, we’ve noticed you don’t Hally. 

I would like to point out that Hal Steinbrenner alone – not the Yankees franchise but Hal Steinbrenner – has a reported net worth of $4 billion dollars

Steinbrenner remains excited about their top prospects. As does Oakland theirs. Do you know what Oakland doesn’t do? Win championships.

Treading Water Is Not Improvement

Yes, the Yankees may give Aaron Judge a mega deal, which is a great move. Aaron Judge is a superstar in the prime of his baseball career. He is probably the face of all of MLB at this point. The Yankees can afford him even if he is terrible on the backend of his contract. Giving him an extension is pretty much a no-brainer for the Yankees unless they plan on acquiring another similar but younger mega superstar in his place.

But the Yankees also had Judge last year. They had him the year before. Signing Aaron Judge to a huge extension helps the Yankees equal what they did last year in 2021. It doesn’t add or improve to it unless Judge finds himself repeating his 2017 8.3 fWAR performance.

That’s unlikely at this point. Judge will continue to be an excellent player for at least a few more years barring a catastrophe, but he won’t be the best player in MLB. He won’t be Mike Trout or Bryce Harper.

What I’ve been trying to say in this article is that the Yankees are going cheap this year. Actually, I did say it before, in my first sentence. I don’t really know why other than to say that Hal Steinbrenner cares more about the financial ROI of the Yankee franchise than he does the World Series ROI of the Yankee franchise.

Look, Hal’s the proprietor. That’s his right. If he chooses to take profit at the expense of wins, well, capitalism encourages that, doesn’t it? But it does show that at least for right now in 2022, there is ever-growing evidence that the Yankees and Mets have suddenly switched places when it comes to who might be the kings of New York City baseball. And it also means while a playoff berth for the Yankees remains extremely likely, getting much beyond the first round seems, well, rather unlikely.

How does all of that money in Hal’s pockets smell to you, Yankees fans?

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