The thought process goes something like this -- we're really in the first full year of Cashman trying to not trade away youth for inflexible veteran contracts, trying to restore some roster flexibility, and trying to get younger and more athletic. But does he still have a salary albatross around his neck?
Here is my "back of the envelope" quick analysis....
C -- Posada and Molina will cost about $15-16 million next year, combined.
1B -- Giambi is at $22 million, and he and his contract are immovable. The probable back ups are Shelley Duncan or Andy Phillips, so let's say $23 million combined, unless they sign a real full time 1B.
2B -- Cano is still cheap, but I believe Betemit will be arbitration eligible, so the two of them together ought to be a bargain at about $2.5 million.
SS -- Jeter will knock down about $21 million next year, more or less.
3B -- A-Rod is the question mark, insofar as his decision to walk. This position will either cost the Yankees $30+ million to keep A-Rod, $10-15 million to get someone else, or about $2 million to hand the job to Betemit.
OF -- Another question mark, insofar as Abreu is concerned, and also depedning on whether or not Damon is moved. But regardless, the $13 million slot for an outfielder is established, so add up the OF to about $40 million, give or take.
Bench -- Not much, and Molina, Melky and Betemit were already counted in the position totals, but let's add a million bucks just to account for a few extras like Duncan or Cairo or some other piece parts.
SP -- Let's start with Pavano and his $10 million of nothingness. Add Mussina and his $12 million of almost nothingness. Pettitte has a $16 million option that he will probably exercise, and if not, someone else will get that salary slot. Wang is arbitration eligible, I believe, so mark him down at $6 million. Hughes will be the bargain at $400K, and Igawa makes $5 million. And someone is likely to fill the Clemens slot at $10-15 million, or even more. That's about $60-65 million for Starting Pitchers.
RP -- Mo will knock down a good $12.5 million, and Farnsworth, whether or not he's with the Yankees, will cost a solid $5 million. I'm going to guess that 5 or 6 other middle relievers will run about $2 million each, or $10-12 million, bringing the relief corps total to $25-27 million.
So....without any major moves or salary dumping, and bringing back largely the same team in 2008, the payroll will come to more than $200 million (depending on what happens at 3B).
That's scary....the only way Cashman gets the salary situation under control is to let A-Rod walk and sign a less expensive 3B option, and bring Chamberlain, Kennedy and the rest of the kiddie corps into the SP/RP mix. Even then, he only gets down to the $160s millions....
2009 might be a slighlyt different story -- Pavano, Giambi, Mussina, Abreu and maybe even Damon will be gone, but replacing them will cost another boatload of cash....