Brian Cashman has “some latitude” when it comes to the Yankees’ 2022 payroll, and he’s not talking about the number heading south.
Speaking at the MLB GM Meetings, Cashman said that he does not have a “set budget” from Hal Steinbrenner, but that he does have “some direction.” Asked if that direction is “up,” the general manager answered in the affirmative.
“It’s going to have to be because we don’t have a lot of stuff coming off,” Cashman said, referring to New York’s books.
The Yankees stayed under the $210 million Competitive Balance Tax threshold in 2021, thus resetting costly penalty levels for previously going over. Cashman said “mission accomplished” when describing efforts to stay under the CBT. New York finished the 2021 campaign with a payroll of $207.6 million, per Cot’s Baseball Contracts.
While routinely among baseball’s payroll leaders, the Yankees, traditionally financial behemoths, have also been criticized for adhering to the CBT threshold in certain years. Of course, they’ve blown past it in others to acquire star players, like when they signed Gerrit Cole to a record-breaking, nine-year, $324 million contract before the 2020 season.
With New York coming off an inconsistent, World Series-less campaign, many are wondering if Cashman will sign more costly upgrades. Names like Carlos Correa and Corey Seager, among others, have been linked to New York. Based on Cashman’s comments Tuesday, the Yankees will likely go over the CBT. The question is by how much.
Cot’s projects their Opening Day payroll is already just under $210 million before any significant additions. Cashman could lower that number by parting with arbitration-eligible players like Luke Voit, Gary Sánchez and Clint Frazier, but it sounds like he expects to have more money to work with either way this offseason.
There is a chance that the next Collective Bargaining Agreement changes the luxury tax system, along with the rest of the sport’s economic model. It’s too early to know though as owners and the union negotiate.
The current CBA expires Dec. 1.
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