Hal Steinbrenner was just on the radio with Michael Kay, and Marc Carig tweeted an interesting quote from the interview:
Hal on payroll: “I can safely say we’re going to stay at the same level.”
This is important information, as it allows us to gauge how the Yankees will approach the offseason. They started 2010 with a payroll of 213 million, and currently have about 145 million tied up in 16 players. That leaves 68 million available for the club to spend in order to stay at the same level. Assuming Derek Jeter gets about 20M, Mariano Rivera gets 15M, and Andy Pettitte returns at about 10M, that leaves 23 million to fill out the roster, with the only real hole remaining being in the rotation.
This means that while the Yankees will target Cliff Lee, they are unlikely to sign any other big name free agents if they can snag the star lefty. Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford are not going to be Yankees, unless Brian Cashman pulls a “Teixeira” and asks for an expanded payroll due to special circumstances. Being that the Yankees do not have real holes in the outfield or the lineup, I doubt he does that again. The Yankees will attempt to sign Lee, and use whatever remains in the budget to sign a cheap lefty reliever and possibly a bargain DH/bench bat. Based on Hal’s statement, there isn’t room for anything else.