New York Yankees' Salary Analysis

Perry ArnoldSenior Analyst IDecember 16, 2008

At the beginning, some caveats. First, some players will be forgotten and readers will catch the omissions and make this story more accurate.

Secondly, the figures are taken from the Internet, specifically USA Today and Baseball Salaries and may not be completely accurate, but they are very close to what has been reported at other sites.

Also, the figures cannot be completely accurate because they include several players who either left the Yankees or who joined the Yankees in midseason last year.

This writer cannot know for certain how much of any salary the Yankees paid for a player who was with them only part of last year.

Finally, minor-league players or players of small significance who were part of trades have been ignored in this analysis.

But the purpose is to attempt to analyze the changes and possible changes in the salary structure of the New York Yankees from 2008 to projections for 2009.

The Yankees are shedding a great deal of salary with the expiration of a number of contracts and some trades that took place during the 2008 season or in the present off season.

First, the salaries are the Yankees shedding:

Jason Giambi                                        $ 23,400,000

Bobby Abreau                                      $ 16,000,000

Andy Pettitte                                         $ 16,000,000

Richie Sexson                                       $ 15,500,000 (unsure how much Yankees paid)

Ivan Rodriguez                                      $ 12,000,000 (unsure how much Yankees paid)

Mike Mussina                                       $ 11,000,000

Carl Pavano                                          $ 11,000,000

Kyle Farnsworth                                   $   6,000,000 (unsure how much Yankees paid)

Wilson Betemit                                      $   1,650,000

Sidney Ponson                                      $   1,000,000

Chad Moeller                                        $      700,000

            Total Salary Shed:                    $114,250,000

Second, salaries taken on for 2009:

C.C. Sabathia                                       $ 21,000,000

A.J. Burnett                                          $ 16,500,000

Nick Swisher                                        $   3,600,000

Xavier Nady                                         $   3,300,000

Damaso Marte                                     $   2,875,000 (difference between ‘08 & ‘09)

           Total salaries added:                 $ 47,275,000 

A couple of things jump off the page when you look at the two columns of numbers above.

First of all, they have signed CC Sabathia for less than they paid Jason Giambi last year.

Secondly, they will pay A.J. Burnett only little more than they paid Andy Pettitte at the same time they are shedding $22,000,000 in salaries for Mike Mussina and Carl Pavano.

Now, let us make some assumptions.

First, let’s assume that Cashman makes the much talked about trade that will bring Mike Cameron from Milwaukee to the Bronxin exchange for Melky Cabrera and Kei Igawa.

Cameron has an annual salary of $10,000,000.

Kei Igawa has an annual salary of (sound of choking may be inserted here) $4,000,000.

Melky Cabrera has an annual salary of $461,200.

So if the deal is made straight up and nobody assumes any salary the Yankees will add an additional $5,538,800 which will bring them up to $52,813,800 in new salaries.

Also, let’s assume that they bring Andy Pettitte back and pay him $12,000,000 instead of what has been reported as their only offer at $10 mil. They are now at $64,813,800 in new salaries.

(One could also assume the other way that they will not re-sign Pettitte and will use Phil Hughes in the No. 5 slot in the rotation and save this money.)

Without any more speculation, the New York Yankees would have $49,436,200 less in salary than they had last year.

Also, let’s assume that after the 2009 season they let Johnny Damon go at an annual salary of $13,000,000.

And let’s also assume that after the 2009 season the Yankees will let Hideki Matsui go with an annual salary of $13,000,000.

The Yankees have three very young starting pitchers locked up at low salaries for the foreseeable future in Chien Ming Wang, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes.

Other young pitchers who will receive low salaries and may pitch for the Yankees or be used in trades include Ian Kennedy, Humberto Sanchez, Phil Coke, Alfredo Aceves, Andrew Brackman and Dan Giese.

Three fourths of the Yankees infield is signed for many years to come in Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and Robinson Cano.

Young outfielders such as Brett Gardner and Austin Jackson will receive minimal salaries and will be ineligible for free agency for many years.

If the young kids prove not to be the future of the Yankee outfield, some investment may have to be made for outfielders after the ’09 season when Xavier Nady, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui will all be free agents. 

But very good outfielders should come cheaper than the $13 million that both Damon and Matsui will draw in ’09.

So, basically, the salary future of the Yankees looks very stable.

There has been much criticism of the Yankee spending and much discussion that they cannot invest in Mark Teixeira at more than $20,000,000 per year. 

But this analysis would indicate, even if there are some significant errors here, that the Yankees still have plenty of money to go after Tex and other players as well.

The Yankees' pitching staff was the No. 1 priority in the offseason. They have gone a long way toward healing that wound signing Sabathia and A.J. Burnett.

But their offense was also terrible in 2008 as well. New York was eighth in the league in runs scored.

Playing in the American League East, the most offensive division baseball, the Yankees must score runs. It will not be enough to put great pitching on the mound.

The Yankees surely will see the wisdom in using some of their “left over” money to go after Teixeira. He would solve so many of their offensive and defensive needs.

Teixiera is an excellent defensive first baseman. He will make their pitching staff even better by shoring up the infield.

And he is a switch hitter who hits with power and has a very good on-base percentage. 

Tex obviously hits more left-handed since the majority of pitchers are right handed. So, he will be able to take advantage of the short right-field wall in the new Yankee Stadium which will have the same dimensions as the old field.

Arguments can be made both ways whether placing a hitter such as Teixeira in the lineup will benefit Alex Rodriguez. 

But most will agree that if you have Tex batting behind A-Rod, A-Rod will see more fastballs and pitchers will not be able to work around him as they have done at times in the past when the next hitter was Jason Giambi or Hideki Matsui.

Spending the kind of money the Yankees have spent may seem obscene or vulgar to some.

But to those who follow the Yankees religiously, it makes no sense to have more than $40,000,000 left from your salary outlay last year and not put it to use in fielding the best offensive team possible.


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