TAMPA — The Yankees have invested more than a half-billion dollars into their team since they were swept out of the playoffs by the Astros.
At this juncture, it sounds unlikely they would add significant contracts to the payroll.
The Yankees are up against the $293 million luxury-tax level.
If they exceed the threshold, Hal Steinbrenner signaled it will not be by much.
“A decade-plus ago, I always used to say that you shouldn’t have to have a $200 million payroll to win a championship, right? Because nobody had it,” the Yankees owner said Wednesday at Steinbrenner Field. “Times have changed, I will acknowledge that.
“So I will say that you shouldn’t have to have a $300 million payroll to win a world championship because nobody has, including Hosuton.”
According to FanGraphs, the Yankees’ 2023 estimated luxury-tax payroll, as of Wednesday, was $292,481,667.
If they exceed the tax level of $293 million — instituted this year amid the spending of Mets owner Steve Cohen — they would be taxed at an 80 percent rate for every dollar they spend above that threshold.
Steinbrenner disputed the estimated number and said, “For all I know, we may be over it.”
The exact number will depend on a variety of factors, including major league call-ups throughout the season that will gently raise the total.
Still, the Yankees have not sailed past the fourth and final luxury-tax threshold like the Mets (with a $374 million luxury-tax projection) have.
The Yankees’ budget only trails the Mets’, with the Padres (an estimated $275 million) rounding out the top three.
The Yankees, who this offseason committed $360 million to Aaron Judge, $162 million to Carlos Rodon, $40 million to Anthony Rizzo and exercised a $15 million option on Luis Severino, have not added external help in left field, where Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Cabrera have been battling.
“Do I think we’re good enough to win a championship now? Yes,” Steinbrenner asked and answered.
“But we got to stay healthy.”