The Yankees will be active this offseason, as there are a few holes to fill on this roster that has still yet to live up to its championship goal. Gerrit Cole was the ace they needed in last offseason and managing general partner and co-chairperson Hal Steinbrenner was delighted to write him the biggest check to a starting pitcher in MLB history at $324 million.
This offseason, though, won’t see a spending spree like that from not just the Yankees but any team across the league.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused revenue drops everywhere, especially for a Yankees team that had the largest payroll in the league at $254.2 million for 2020. According to Spotrac, the Yankees actually paid out $109 million based off pro-rated salaries over the 60-game shortened season.
With a high payroll already, what does Steinbrenner expect to happen financially this offseason? Does GM Brian Cashman have free reign to go after whoever he wants?
“Well, we’ll see,” Steinbrenner said on ESPN’s “The Michael Kay Show” on Tuesday. “It depends on what kind of money is going to be required to be spent, based on what we look at and decide needs change, but there’s no doubt we sustained significant loses this year, more so than any other team in baseball. It’s been a crazy year, but we’re just going to have to see what we really feel we need and what that’s going to cost, and we’ll go from there the way we do every year.”
The Yankees will have some tough decisions to make in regards to players like DJ LeMahieu, Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton, who are all free agents this winter. There’s also Trevor Bauer, the latest “golden goose” on the market who would make a 1-2 punch with Cole arguably the best in baseball at the top of the rotation.
Those and other free agents will be there for Cashman & Co. to mull over. However, with no certainty that next season will even be back to normal, the Yankees will need to watch their dollars for once.
A main reason for that is there being no guarantee that fans can return to Yankee Stadium. That’s a large chunk of revenue for any team across the league, and something that Steinbrenner is also unsure of.
“I have no idea, and neither do you guys,” he said when asked if he believes fans will be able to sit in the seats again. “We’ll just have to see what happens with this virus, with vaccines, and nobody would love it more than me. It was a surreal experience to be playing regular season games with no fans. I didn’t like it any more than any of you did, so hopefully we get back to some normalcy in 2021, because I’ve about had it with 2020.”
We stand with you on that one, Hal.