Hal Steinbrenner
Hal Steinbrenner says the Yankees have not been cheap. Do you agree? (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

New York Yankees fans have not had many kind words to say about ownership. Rightfully so. Anytime you get your ass kicked by your biggest rival, I would say there’s a reason to be angry. Now, you would think that would spark the Yankees to spend in a big way, or at least try to land a mega superstar. That hasn’t been the case. The Yankees have tinkered around the edges to try to improve.

Yankees owner, Hal Steinbrenner, claims that the team is not being chap. Steinbrenner gave this quote at the recent owners meetings:

“If there’s a narrative that we’re not spending money and being cheap, it’s just false,” he said. “I mean, we’re well above $200 million [in payroll] – we’re at $220 [million] right now – and we’re well above where we were last year. We did everything we wanted to do to really improve, again, the pitching, because that’s where I wanted improvement because as far as I’m concerned pitching was a big problem in the Division Series, more so than anything else.”

The Yankees have upped the payroll this offseason. They actually landed below the luxury tax in 2018. The luxury tax payroll in 2019 is $206 million so they are over the limit as of now. So yes, Hal is correct. They are spending money. However, when the Yankees payroll is less than the Red Sox payroll, fans have a reason to complain.

No franchise generates more revenue than the Yankees. Hell, they sell hats in China. The Yankees are a fashion icon more than they are a baseball franchise. So when the Red Sox are projected to have a $237 million payroll, it’s not hard to understand why Yankee fans are frustrated. The Red Sox lost money in 2018 but guess what. They won the World Series so it was worth it. I’m sure John Henry took a little cash out of the Liverpool franchise so it’s all good.

The Yankees have added James Paxton, Adam Ottavino, DJ LaMahieu, and Troy Tulowitzki. New York also retained JA Happ, CC Sabathia, Brett Gardner, and Zack Britton. It’s not the splashy move that his father with the big balls would have made but Hal doesn’t swing that way. The Yankees haven’t had the highest payroll in the sport since 2013 and were 6th a year ago. That’s not what Yankee fans are accustomed to. They still won’t have the highest payroll this year.

“With no discussion of our costs, that’s always the problem,” Steinbrenner said. “I hear everything about our revenues, I hear nothing about our cost. I hear nothing about the gargantuan debt service payment that we have to pay every year (on bonds that financed new Yankee Stadium), nothing about all of our stadium operations, all the security, not to mention player payroll, not to mention revenue sharing.”

That response is kinda bullshit. No franchise in baseball generates more money than the Yankees. The Yankees won 100 games last year and improved around the margins. I can’t imagine how the fans will react if they lose to the Red Sox who outspent them in the postseason. All hell might break loose in Yankee land. Hey, I wouldn’t want Bryce Harper or Manny Machado either but fans are going to be furious if they fall short. We all know that not signing one of those two players will come back as the blame game.