Bill Madden reported on Wednesday that the Yankees actually received an offer they were looking for from the Twins, but backed out due to financial concerns:
But it is more than just Cashman’s belief in Hughes that suddenly put the Yankees in full retreat after Hank Steinbrenner had sounded the “Charge!” on Santana. Believe it or not, the final decision not to go through with a deal that was on the table – one that would have sacrificed Hughes, Melky Cabrera, 23-year-old Double-A righthander Jeff Marquez and 22-year-old A-ball third baseman Mitch Hilligoss – was based on money.
Cashman did not want another huge contract for a pitcher. He also didn’t want to push the payroll into the $220 million+ range, even if there is a ton of money coming off the books.
Then Bob Klapisch yesterday talks about the Yankees being an infinite source of wealth:
The money wasn’t going to a problem for the Bombers, at least not until Brian Cashman lost his nerve and convinced Hank Steinbrenner to step away. The point is, the Yankees could’ve satisfied Santana’s desire for turbo-dollars and not felt any pain whatsoever.
One agent bluntly said, “You hear about how rich the Yankees are, but no matter how much we think they’ve got, I bet they’ve got 10 times that.” With a new stadium (and scores of luxury boxes) coming in 2009, not to mention the YES Network, which is worth an estimated $3.5 billion, and you begin to understand why the Yankees went from $270 million to $314 million with A-Rod without even flinching.
I feel obligated to address the last part of the quote: I know that ESPN has reported that A-Rod’s contract value rose to $314 million. That’s because there are deferred payments coming from the Rangers on it. Would you flinch if there was money coming from another team? Yeah me neither.
But do the Yankees really have that kind of wealth? If they did, wouldn’t they have pulled the trigger on the Santana deal?
As with most things, the answer probably falls somewhere in between. Sure the Yankees could have paid Santana. But why pay him when you have to give up premium young talent to do it? Young talent is worth more in baseball today than any other commodity. Cashman probably knew the Red Sox didn’t want to give up their youth in this deal either.
So where we stand right now, it looks more and more like Santana will become a free agent next year. At that point the Yankees can flex their financial muscle and lose only a first round pick as a result.