New York Yankees Facing Another $250 Million Dilemma
Weeks after New York Yankees star outfielder Aaron Judge turned down a contract extension worth north of $230 million, Pinstripe general manager Brian Cashman is facing another money problem. This time the issue isn't with spending money, it's with money already spent. Tuesday night was a great win on the field for New York but individually there are some glaring costly issues.
People can say it's only April. You can't and shouldn't push the panic button. However, when you are paying Gerrit Cole $36 million and Joey Gallo $10 million you have no choice but to analyze their performances and value to your organization. Cole didn't get out of the second inning Tuesday. In 3 starts with no decisions in 2022, the Yankees "ace" has pitched a total of 11.1 innings and has given up 8 runs and 3 home runs. The right-hander threw a total of 68 pitches.
“Certainly, never had anything like that in my career before. I still made good pitches in the second inning but when I needed to make one, I didn’t make it,” Cole told Erik Boland of newsday.com. That is all well and good but the Yankees brass has to be overwhelmingly concerned. Since the crackdown by Major League Baseball on the users of Spider Tack or any foreign grip-substance, Gerrit Cole has not been a $36 million pitcher, highlighted by his 2 inning stinker thrown up in Boston in last October's AL Wild Card game.
Including this season, the New York Yankees are on the hook for $252 million dollars to Cole. Now, plenty of you may say, hey he pitched fine against Toronto last week and that's right he did. The point is the value of the performance. Back in the 1950's, Hall of Fame outfielder Ralph Kiner had just hit 50 home runs in a season for the Pittsburgh Pirates, so he went in and asked his boss for a raise. His boss was Hall of Fame baseball executive Branch Rickey, who famously signed Jackie Robinson. Rickey told Kiner, no, because "we could have come in last place without you."
Gerrit Cole is being paid $36 million dollars per year to win games and win big games for New York, no excuses. Cole's contract makes up 15.6% of the Yankees payroll with 25 other guys to pay as well. Brian Cashman has to be seriously concerned about the team's ability to compete for a World Championship with an average pitcher taking up that much payroll. What can Cashman do? Not a lot at this point, other than to hope MLB allows Spider Tack again.
That brings us to a much lesser but large problem for the Yankees GM. Joey Gallo was 0-4 with 4 strikeouts on Tuesday in Detroit. The $10 million left-fielder may have some great analytical stats for 2022 but his production statistics are ZERO, no runs and no runs batted in. Since being traded to New York in July of last season, Gallo is batting a whopping .149 and was 0-4 when it counted in the 2021 Wild Card game with the Red Sox. Gallo's contract is up at the end of the season. The Bronx is not a fit for him. I'm not sure he makes it until the end of the season. I'm not sure the Yankees can afford to keep him, if they want to win a championship.