Payroll has been a hot button issue for the Yankees for roughly a decade now. It’s amazing to write that sentence, but it’s true. For far too long we as fans have had to wonder whether or not the Yankees, the richest organization in the sport, would flex its financial might. We probably shouldn’t get our hopes up anymore.
Hal Steinbrenner’s mantra is that the Yankees should be able to win with payrolls below the luxury tax threshold, of course. I think everyone reading this knows how we here at the blog feel about that at this point, so no need to beat a dead horse. All I’ll say is that the team’s payroll is largely unchanged since 2005 while revenues have skyrocketed. The club has decided to treat the luxury tax as a de facto salary cap, but in what I’ll illustrate below, you’ll see that it will be difficult for the team to avoid the tax in 2022 (pending CBA negotiations).
It’s important to note that there is no new collective bargaining agreement in place yet for 2022 and beyond, so the luxury tax system as we know it is likely to change (I sure hope so). The minimum threshold (currently $210 million) should go up significantly, though I’m not going to hold my breath. With all that in mind, let’s take a look at where the team’s payroll stands ahead of this winter’s activity.