The Yankees' activity on the free agent market has slowed way down since the Carlos Beltran signing. Sure, they added Brian Roberts and Matt Thornton this week, but their involvement on the starting pitching market has been non-existent with things held up on the Masahiro Tanaka front and now it sounds like the plan to stay under the $189 million luxury tax threshold is back on again. Via Joel Sherman's Thursday column:
"Because as one member of the organization said to me, 'We either have to be under $189 million or up over $200 million or more. Think how dumb it would look if we worked for a few years to get under $189 million and we didn’t and we were at like $192 million and just missed. Either we go under or way over.'"
That comment was made in the context of talking about Alex Rodriguez's suspension, but it still doesn't make a lot of sense to me. The Yankees have spent a shit ton of money this offseason, enough money to put themselves right on the ragged edge of going over that 189 number. They've done a solid job of trying to reload the team on the fly but there are still some major spots that need to be addressed. To not stay fully committed to that and to go super cheap to avoid the luxury tax in the event that A-Rod isn't suspended for the whole year is stupid and makes the rest of their big offseason moves relatively pointless.
I get that they're trying to keep every option available to them while there are still things outside of their control that have to happen, but this playing both sides of the luxury tax fence thing is dumb. Being at $192 million of payroll next season would not be dumb. Caring that you're that little bit over the LT threshold and penny pinching the rest of your lineup together would be dumb.
You can't spend the kind of money the Yankees have and bring in the big names they have only to not finish the job and leave yourself with a team still not capable of making the postseason. And let's not kid ourselves, a rotation with David Phelps and Michael Pineda at the back end is not a rotation capable of making the postseason. If they don't want Matt Garza or Ubaldo Jimenez, fine. But the Yankees then can't take the approach of doing nothing to address the rest of their rotation and roster needs. They have to keep spending, they have to keep improving. They've done too much already and they need to stay committed to that effort. Doing anything other than that makes all these big signings basically nothing more than another phony effort to convince the fanbase that a "championship-caliber team" is the true goal.