Yankees Sign Burnett – Still Shopping

by Ben Cook on December 14, 2008

The New York Yankees continued their offseason spending spree, signing former Blue Jay, AJ Burnett to a 5 year deal worth $82.5 million. The Yankees appear to be capitalizing on the down turn in the economy, going on a historic spending spree while the rest of the league has been cutting costs and keeping a sharp eye on their bottom line. Earlier this week the Yanks inked CC Sabathia to a 7 year, $161 million deal, the largest ever contract for a pitcher. The latest signing is pending a physical which is usually a formality, however, with the injury prone Burnett there are no guarantees. Once the deal is finalized, Toronto will receive the Yankees 2nd round pick as well as a supplemental pick as compensation for losing Burnett, a type-A free agent.

The Atlanta Braves were the Yankees’ biggest competitor for Burnett’s services, and had reportedly tacked a 5th year onto their initial 4 year offer. Burnett, however, apparently wanted to wear pinstripes, passing up the Braves’ offer which may have been for even more money. Atlanta will likely turn their interest to former Brewer, Ben Sheets, in their continued efforts to rebuilt their starting rotation behind ace Tim Hudson.

If you thought committing a total of $243.5 million over the next 7 years would take the Yankees out of shopping mode, think again. The New York Post reports that they’ve now joined the bidding for first baseman Mark Teixeira, with Manny Ramirez as a backup option should they lose out on the switch hitting first baseman. The possibility of Manny in pinstripes is sure to send fans of the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry into a hot-stove frenzy.

While the Yankees’ spending spree seems excessive, especially in comparison to the rest of the league’s spending, they also have $75 million coming off the books due to departing free agents and Mike Mussina’s retirement. Sabathia’s $23 million annual average essentially replaces Jason Giambi’s $23.45 million, Burnett’s $16.5 million is just slightly more than Abreu’s $15 million, and that still leaves roughly $36 million that had been taken up by Mussina, Carl Pavano, and Andy Pettitte. Even if the Yanks give Teixeira the $20 million per year he’s seeking, they’ll still have money to get some bullpen help and pay for the $11 million in buyouts due to Giambi and Pavano.

If all of that weren’t enough, the Yankees will also be moving into their new stadium which will generate even more money for the richest team in the league. Also, MLB rules allow teams to deduct stadium construction costs against their profit sharing revenue which means that the $1.3 billion stadium will allow the team to save even more money. So, while the so-called “Evil Empire’s” impressive spending spree is sure to infuriate Yankee haters around the league, they may have higher profits and a lower payroll than the did last year. It’s tough to argue with that, especially in this economy. For a great article on the financial implications of the Yankees new stadium, check out this article in the New York Times.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

joe cardillo December 14, 2008 at 8:47 pm

Yankees you have got pitching now you need a CLUTCH hitter.A-rod is not. Jeter is okay but he can not do it himself so who is. Ever since 2004 the yankees have not been the same when they go to the playoffs they look so out of place.This person is Mr.CLUTCH and he would relax a-rod and the rest of the yankees.MANNY,MANNY,he has a lot to prove he always wanted to play in new york and what better place to prove the sox front was wrong.Realy one man luchino the evil empire himself.The other front office people are first class.I live in massachusetts and a big yankee fan.

I dont like to hear your not getting manny who is the best CLUTCH hitter in basball.You can have all this pitching who is going to hit in the CLUTCH you no its not a-rod So you can have a great team on paper but #27 IS NOT COMING TO NEW YORK WITHOUT A CLUTCH HITTER.

RumorMill December 14, 2008 at 10:45 pm

Joe, I think you’re selling Arod a bit short. I realize he’s got a reputation of disappearing in the playoffs etc, but if the Yanks do trade for Cameron, they just don’t have any place to put Manny.

Godzilla is the DH, and their OF would be pretty much set with Nady, Cameron, and Damon.

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