The New York Yankees want to get their payroll down to, or below, $189 million by 2014.
How does signing Cole Hamels, who will likely cost over $20 million per year, fit into that plan when the Yankees already have a $201 million payroll before filling out their bench, finding a DH or paying the rest of the players on their 40-man roster making league minimum?
Let's just say after they make all those moves their payroll goes to $215 million.
In December 2012 the Yankees will have a lot of money coming off the books. Hiroki Kuroda, Freddy Garcia, Nick Swisher, Pedro Feliciano, Russell Martin, Andruw Jones and Mariano Rivera will all become free agents. Those players will clear $52 million off the Yankees' payroll.
Even if the Yankees re-sign Mariano Rivera, who will likely retire, Nick Swisher and Russell Martin to a total of about $30 million they still clear $22 million of their payroll.
That $22 million sounds like just enough to sign Cole Hamels. A seven-year $154 million deal sounds like the perfect price for the 28-year-old lefty.
If the Yankees sign Hamels to that deal they will not clear any money off their payroll. They will be no closer to their $189 million goal.
When the next offseason rolls around the Yankees will shed quite a bit of payroll.
AJ Burnett Rafael Soriano and Phil Hughes head the class and will clear $33.7 million of the Yankees' payroll. Derek Jeter has a player option for 2014. If he picks it up his salary will be $9 million, $8 million less than 2013, but if he does not and retires his $17 million salary also comes off the books.
Then add on Mariano Rivera, Nick Swisher and Russell Martin, who in this scenario were Yankees in 2013. That is another $30 million coming off the books.
That means even if Jeter stays for one final year $71.7 million will come off the books. That would put the Yankees' 2014 payroll at about $143.3 million. That gives the Yankees an extra $45 million to upgrade their roster, replace players who are leaving in free agency and paying for raises in arbitration.
They would need a few bullpen arms, a shortstop, a right fielder, a catcher and probably a third baseman to replace Alex Rodriguez, who will be moving to DH.
They will also have to re-sign Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson.
Cano will make $15 million in 2013, let's say he gets $22 million a year on his new contract. Granderson will make $13 million in 2013, let's say he makes $17 million a year on his new contract.
That cuts the $45 million down to $34 million, which is still quite a bit.
By that time Gary Sanchez and Mason Williams should be ready for the majors, they will make league minimum. That fills center field and catcher.
A shortstop and a third baseman will be expensive. Even if the Yankees go big on one of them, maybe David Wright for $17 million a year, that cuts their money down to $17 million to find a shortstop and a couple of bullpen arms.
Eduardo Nunez might be able to play shortstop by then, who knows? If not they could pay $12 million for a good shortstop and then have $5 million for a couple bullpen arms.
For that price they won't be closer-material but the Yankees already have David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain and other prospects (maybe Dellin Betances, David Phelps and Adam Warren) who will be in the bullpen.
It financially works.