We have been hearing it all winter long; "The Yankees are doing everything that they can to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold for the 2014 season." It was the reason they stopped talking when Robinson Cano asked for $300M over 10 years. But after a week of being loose with their debit card, it seems that that was simply posturing on their part.
They kicked off their spending by giving Jacoby Ellsbury a seven-year, $153M deal. Which, considering how many wins Ellsbury has been worth over the course of his career, doesn't seem all that crazy. Until we stop and realize that his biggest asset, speed, is the first tool to go as a player ages.
It also doesn't help that he just turned 30 and is getting paid a boatload of money when the Yankees, essentially, already had an Ellsbury in Brett Gardner. Granted, Gardner doesn't have Ellsbury's "power." But, over seven seasons, Ellsbury has been worth 23.7 wins per Fangraphs. Over six seasons, Gardner has been worth 17.8.
Six wins isn't a small amount. But when you factor in that Gardner has averaged three wins a season for his career and has played one less season than Ellsbury, the gap between the two gets much smaller.
Maybe Ellsbury will be able to fake his way into looking like a power hitter with that short porch in right field.
Then Robinson Cano signed with the Mariners.
Then the Yankees responded by keeping Hiroki Kuroda in New York on a one-year deal worth $16M.
Then, on the same day, they went and signed Carlos Beltran to a three-year, $45M deal. Beltran who, by the way, is going into his age-37 season. Which could mean nothing. But, it could mean precipitous decline is on the horizon.
And that is before factoring in the the Yankees still need pitching and are supposed to be big players if/when the Rakuten Golden Eagles (NPB team names are the best) post Masahiro Tanaka. Even though it looks as though that may not happen. But it is very likely that the Golden Eagles get pressured by the NPB to post him.
And then you have tweets like this from Jeff Passan:
Even after today's spending spree, the Yankees' projected payroll minus A-Rod is ~$177.5M. Still can get one more SP, stay under luxury tax.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 7, 2013
Meaning that everything that the Yankees are doing is hinging on Alex Rodriguez not being on the books for 2014. Something that is not guaranteed.
What the Yankees did last year...was try something new. They went and tried that new sushi bar that opened up in the semi-seedy part of town. A few of their friends went, said the food was good, so the Yankees gave it a shot. Then they got food poisoning. Now they're spending like crazy to get over the vomiting and nausea in an attempt to return to a form of existence that feels natural to them.
Basically...Fuck the luxury tax. The Yankees are gonna Yankee, and there isn't a damn thing that anyone can do about it.