News Forum Blogs Roster Players Schedule Depth chart Stats Videos Photos

Milwaukee Brewers News

News » Bad economy hurting even the Yankees

Bad economy hurting even the Yankees

Bad economy hurting even the Yankees
And so it has come to this: The economy is affecting even the filthy-rich Yankees.

As recently as a month ago, the Yankees seemed certain to offer salary arbitration to free-agent outfielder Bobby Abreu. If Abreu accepted, no problem: The Yankees would retain their No. 3 hitter for another season, albeit at a cost of $16 million to $18 million.

Prior to the economic meltdown, teams actually considered such deals good business, rarely hesitating to overpay players if the commitment was only for one year. Well, the days of such largesse are over — at least in certain cases, at least for the moment.

The Yankees' refusal to offer Abreu arbitration resonates on several levels, vividly demonstrating the impact of the economic crisis on even the most powerful franchise in a sport that produced $6.5 billion in revenues last season.

The messages are clear:

  • The market could be soft for Abreu and other less-than-elite players.

    Abreu is no slouch, mind you — he batted .296 with 20 homers and 100 RBIs last season. But he turns 35 on March 11, and the Yankees feared that his best offer might be something like two years, $16 million.

    Under such circumstances, Abreu would have jumped at the chance for a one-year windfall through arbitration, particularly when he already was comfortable in New York. And that possibility became a problem because . . .

  • The Yankees' 2009 payroll will not be as outrageous as many believed.

    The Yankees still expect to field the game's highest payroll next season, but the number almost certainly will be below their $209 million figure at the start of '08.

    The return of Abreu for $16 million and signing of free-agent left-hander CC Sabathia for $20 million per season would have left the Yankees with little remaining payroll flexibility, according to one source with knowledge of the club's thinking.

    Starting pitching remains the Yankees' priority. Abreu and left-handerAndy Pettitte, who also was not offered arbitration, still couldreturn at lesser salaries. But the team is unlikely to sign Sabathiaand first baseman Mark Teixeira, or even Sabathia and outfielder MannyRamirez. Their financial muscle is reduced because . . .

  • The new Yankee Stadium will not be as big a gold mine as expected, at least not initially.

    The Yankees are paying an estimated $1.3 billion for the construction of the new park, with New York City covering the costs of the infrastructure. Keep in mind, though, that the Yankees' outlay will reduce their revenue-sharing obligations, and that the team will not pay rent.

    Obviously the Yankees considered the park a wise investment; otherwise, they would not have made the deal. But now, with so many of their corporate customers struggling, the team probably will not reach its initial revenue projections.

    The Yankees and Mets are opening new parks this season. The NFL Jets and Giants are opening a new football stadium at the Meadowlands in 2010. Think about it — four New York teams battling for corporate dollars at precisely the wrong time.

    Granted, the Yankees will not exactly suffer if Abreu departs. If theseason opened tomorrow, they could go with Johnny Damon in left, MelkyCabrera/Brett Gardner in center and Xavier Nady in right, with NickSwisher at first base and Hideki Matsui at DH. Not great, but notterrible. And the Yankees still could trade for a center fielder suchas the Brewers' Mike Cameron -- or even pursue Ramirez if they failedto get the pitchers they wanted.

    The loss of the two high draft picks the Yankees would have received for Abreu is not insignificant, particularly with the team set to forfeit picks for Sabathia and either A.J. Burnett or Derek Lowe. But club officials, setting limits that did not exist when the economy was sound, determined that they could not pay Abreu $16 million and still get the pitching they wanted.

    Yes, even the filthy-rich Yankees are cutting back.

    By their definition, anyway.

  • Author:Fox Sports
    Author's Website:
    Added: December 2, 2008

    Milwaukee Brewers Photos
    All the latest Milwaukee Brewers Photos Store photographs. Major League Baseball MLB.
    The most recent photo
    Add to Google
    Add to My Yahoo!
    Subscribe in NewsGator Online
    Add to Windows Live

    Copyright ©, Inc. All rights reserved 2008.