A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Is the Sky the Limit for the Yankees?

During Jason Stark's chat the other day, one thing he said particularly stood out.

The Giants believe they have a two-year window remaining to win with Barry. But the debt service on that ballpark prevents them from bringing in somebody like a Carlos Beltran. Bud Selig's new debt rules are being strictly enforced this winter. So if you don't have it, you aren't allowed to spend it. They're addressing closer first. Then they hope to add a CF or RF. They're all over Steve Finley, and that's far from impossible. They look like his most attractive option on the west coast, depending on how strong the Dodgers come on.

The part about Barry Bonds and the Giants is not the part that stood out, but the part about Bud Selig's new debt rules being strictly enforced. The good ole Yankees lost about $25 million in 2003 and raised their payroll by about $20 million in 2004. Bud already suspects that the Yankees are not reporting all of their revenue from the Yes Network and if the Yankees think they can raise their payroll by another $20 million this off season, Mr. Selig may take that up with The Boss. The Yankees did pull in 300,000 more mindless Yankees fans to the park in 2004 which would certainly make up for a lot of that extra revenue needed, but the Yankees have for the most part maximized their income at this point. Unless they plan on drawing 4,000,000 people to that dump they call a stadium, their revenue streams are already working over time. If they cannot show Bud where the money is going to come from, then signing Beltran while addressing their pitching needs and rounding out the team may be trickier than everyone thinks. I for one do not think it is a foregone conclusion that the Yankees have locked up Beltran and if the Yankees think they are going to push their debt in the $30 to $40 million dollar range, they may have another thing coming.

In 2003, the Yankees had to pay a 17.5% tax on anything over $117 million dollars. They ended up contributing a paltry $10,764,809, which is nothing to Mr. Steinbrenner. The luxury tax thresholds were set at $117 million in 2003, $120.5 million in 2004, $128 million in 2005 and $136.5 million in 2006. Also, every year that you are over that threshold, the % a team is taxed increases. If a team was a first year offender in the first year of the luxury tax back in 2003, you had to pay 17.5% of every dollar over the threshold. If you offended in 2003 and offended in 2004, you were then the hook for a 30% luxury tax for every dollar over $120.5 million. If you busted through for the third year in a row in 2005, you are on the hook for a 40% tax on every dollar over the threshold and another 40% in 2006 if it is busted again.

Now in 2004, their total payroll was listed at $183,335,513 on ESPN.com. However in 2003, they were listed at $180.3 million for their payroll and it was widely considered that their payroll was around the $165 million dollar figure, so I'm not quite sure they get to that number. But since I do not know, I'll stick with ESPN's 2004 figure and say the Yankees are $62,835,513 over the luxury tax threshold for 2004. That raised their tax to $18,850,653.90 in 2004 and if they have a payroll of $200,000,000 in 2005, they Yankees will be on the hook for $28,800,000 in luxury taxes and would be $72,000,000 over the threshold.

What is my point from all of this? Something has to give. Even the Yankees have a breaking point. Can they afford to lure this off season's biggest star here while address their pitching as well as other needs AND keep Bud Selig at bay while in direct violation of this debt rules? By my quite rudimentary calculations, the Yankees could be at least $40 million in the red if their payroll is at or exceeds $200 million. For those of you conceding Beltran to the Yankees, you better think twice. Things that may have seemed like a given before may not be such a slam dunk now. If the Yankees continue to upgrade their team and dish off bad contracts while paying most of the remaining balance for them to play on another team there is going to be a point where their accountant says, ENOUGH! No one has limitless resources even though it sure looks like the Yankees do. Revenue sharing and luxury taxes keep taking more and more from the Yankees every year and if Bud uncovers extra revenue from YES that George is hiding, that is just going to be more money that Yankees have to kick into the revenue sharing pot.

Then again, I could have no idea what I'm talking about and Beltran may very well be a Yankee.

* * *

  • Turn and cough.

    Kris Benson passed his physical and is now officially going to be a Met for the next three seasons (...and possibly four).

    "Their willingness to compete next year is exactly what I'm looking for," Benson told reporters on a conference call. "I don't want to go through another rebuilding process. I don't want to win a World Series five years from now. I want it next year. I want to be in a winning situation. I haven't been in one in eight years. This is my best chance."

    Does he know something we don't know?

  • "I told my agent that I want to play for a team that really needs me and where I can start regularly," said Seo, who returned to Korea last week for a two-month visit. "It is not very important whether it is in the United States or in Korea. If they really need me, I will consider returning to Korea. I expect the decision will come in December or January."

    Note to Omar, traded him while you still can.

  • According to the NYTimes, Al Leiter was offered a one year contract worth seven million dollars by the Florida Marlins.

    Also from the above article on the coaching front:

    The biggest additions to the staff are expected to be the bench coach Sandy Alomar Sr., who is with the Colorado Rockies; and the third-base coach Manny Acta, who was the third-base coach for the Montreal Expos and a finalist for the managerial job with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    Jerry Manuel is also expected to be named as the first-base coach and Guy Conti as the bullpen coach. Rick Down is expected to be hired as the hitting coach, but the Mets will have to wait until his current Yankees contract expires on Dec. 31.

    Jerry Manuel was up for the Seattle Mariners vacancy and Acta was a finalist for the Arizona Diamondback job.

  • The Star Ledger reports the Newark Bears have a heavy interest in John Franco and have submitted a one year $5,000 offer to his agent, who also happens to be in waste management.

  • If this is true, how can you not respect Leiter?

    Leiter has not yet accepted the deal, according to someone who has been briefed about his sentiments, not because he wants more money, but because he wants assurances that Minaya truly wants him back. The person said that Leiter isn't asking for a better deal; he wants to make sure the Mets aren't just bringing him back for sentimental reasons, especially when there are other teams out there who definitely want him to be a part of their rotation purely for baseball reasons.

    Al is giving Omar the opening to make nice clean break.

  • Don't forget these important Hot Stove dates:

    Close of World Series marks the commencement of the 15-day period during which eligible players may elect free agency or demand a trade.

    November 10 Waivers secured on/after Aug. 1, 2004, expire at 5:00 p.m. ET.
    November 11 New waiver period begins. Waivers (exclusive of Special waivers) secured today and after shall be in effect until February 15, 2005.
    November 19 Day to file reserve lists for all Minor League levels and Major Leagues
    December 7 Last date for former club of player who declared free agency under Art. XX (B) to offer salary arbitration. If Club does not offer, then it loses all rights to negotiate with and sign the free agent until May 1st of the next season.
    December 10-13 Winter meetings, Anaheim, Calif.
    December 13 Major League Rule 5 Draft

    December 19 Last date for player, who declared free agency under Art. XX (B), to accept an arbitration offer of former club. If player rejects offer to go to arbitration, his former club may still negotiate with and sign him until January 8th of next season.
    December 20 Last date to tender contracts.

  • While on the topic of dollars and cents, this is some interesting stuff.
    Comparing the leagues' financial arrangements

    Average salary
    MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL:$2.5 million.
    NBA: $4.92 million**
    NFL: $1.25 million.
    NHL: $1.8 million.

    Top salary
    MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL:Manny Ramirez (Boston Red Sox), $22.5 million.
    NBA: Shaquille O’Neal (Miami Heat), $29.5 million.
    NFL: Brian Urlacher (Chicago Bears), $15 million.
    NHL: Peter Forsberg (Colorado Avalanche) and Jaromir Jagr (N.Y. Rangers), $11 million.

    Average Team payroll
    MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL:$68.1 million (25 players).
    NBA: $59 million (12 players).
    NFL: $71.8 million (53 players).
    NHL: $41.6 million (23 players).

    Player share of revenue
    MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL:63 percent*.
    NBA: 58 percent*.
    NFL: 64 percent*.
    NHL: 75 percent*. (And people wonder why the owners are trying to curtail spending)

    Estimated annual revenue
    MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL: $4.1 billion.
    NBA: $3.1 billion.
    NFL: $5 billion. (Isn't this amazing? 16 game seasons and it is the biggest moneymaker)
    NHL: $2 billion.

  • This just proves Microsoft Paint has some socially redeeming values.

  • Gabe Kapler will be playing in Japan next year. He signed a one year, $2 million dollar contract to prove that he can play everyday.

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