NEW YORK —
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig endorses the decisions, saying “every team runs in cycles.”
“You have to understand where you are and not be afraid then to do what you have to do,” he said. “Outside of building a good farm system, I don’t see how you will remain competitive.”
The price of competing keeps going up. The average salary projects to about $3.67 million, up about $200,000 from the start of last season.
As always, the Yankees did as they pleased. For all the talk of austerity under owner Hal Steinbrenner, New York will break the record of $209 million it set in 2008 and top the $200 million mark for the sixth straight season. While the Yankees will pay luxury tax for the 11th consecutive year in 2013, they want to get under the $189 million tax threshold in 2014.
“We’ve actually increased our payroll this year,” Yankees President Randy Levine said. “As sometimes happens, certain people like to ignore the facts instead of the reality. These are the same people who one day criticize us for spending too much money, the next day criticize us for spending too little. The goal of the team every year is to do what’s necessary to field a championship team. That goes for this year and, as Hal Steinbrenner has said, next year and every year going forward.”
For much of the offseason, it appeared as if the Dodgers would emerge as baseball’s biggest spenders in their first full season since a group headed by Mark Walter, Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson bought the club for $2 billion from Frank McCourt.
Just 12th at $95 million on opening day last year, the Dodgers climbed to about $216 million after acquiring Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford from Boston last summer, when they also added Hanley Ramirez and Brandon League. Los Angeles then signed Zack Greinke during the offseason for $147 million. The Yankees had been the only previous team to reach $200 million.
“Everybody knows it’s not about the money. It’s about how they’re going to play together,” said All-Star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, whose Colorado Rockies will have a payroll of about $75 million.
“They still have to go out there and know each other and be winners,” he said, referring to the Dodgers.