When Rafael Soriano signed a new deal with the Washington Nationals the New York Yankees came out winners, netting their second supplemental-round pick as compensation this off-season in the June First-Year Player Draft. New York also received a pick when outfielder Nick Swisher signed a four-year deal with the Cleveland Indians. Under the terms of baseball’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams could offer qualifying one-year, $13.3 million contracts to free agents.The Yankees made those offers to Soriano and Swisher. New York also made an offer to Hiroki Kuroda, who eventually re-signed with the Bronx Bombers.
The Yankees are in position to have three picks in the first 32 selections. Their own pick at number 27, the 31st pick as compensation for Swisher, and 32nd pick as compensation for Soriano. That could change slightly because of outfielder Michael Bourn and pitcher Kyle Lohse. Both players received qualifying offers and remain unsigned, regardless general manager Brian Cashman will have a couple of extra picks in this year’s draft.
It’s a bit of a role reversal to say the least. New York has been steadfast in its effort to reduce payroll to $189 million by the 2014 season. The Yankees have essentially watched free agent after free-agent sign elsewhere. That’s not a practice that is customary in the Yankees organization, at least not in recent memory. There are still many who still think the Yankees will eventually spend like the Yankees used to spend.
Many fans are hoping they do. Hal Steinbrener told the New York Post “Is our goal [a $189 million payroll] next year? Yes. But [we’ll go that low] only if I’m convinced if the team I see, that we’ve put together, is a championship-caliber team.” That leaves the team some wiggle room.
In fact just about every free agent on the market this year was at one time or another rumored to be headed to New York, mostly because that’s the way things were done in years past in any given free-agent market. At the end of the day it looks like the Yankees have decided they don’t need a $200 million plus payroll to win, and you can route all the rumors through Los Angeles.