When I was younger, I had a thing for Godzilla movies. But I sort of realized that, at the end of each movie, there probably should have been a scene where the Japanese government realized that Godzilla was going to come back, and that he wasn’t dead, he was just sleeping.
The same could be said of the Yankees this offseason. So tight have their pockets been that Brian Cashman apparently went to the Winter Meetings without authority to sign free agents. Names like Jeff Keppinger and Eric Chavez went elsewhere, and the big names like Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke have been almost entirely unconnected to them. They haven’t been in for any trades. The only player they seem to have officially been in pursuit of so far is Kevin Youkilis.
But, rest assured, they have a plan. A horrible plan. Much like Godzilla no doubt dreamed of stomping Tokyo or Osaka as he slept between B-movies, the Yankees have dreams as well, and it involves a loophole in the collective bargaining agreement.
You see, there is a threshold of about $189 million dollars. If a team is above it, they have to pay luxury taxes, and a lot of them, and the penalties accrue based on how much and how long the team is over it. The Yankees, as they have been going, would have been paying up to a 50% luxury tax.
But if a team goes under it, the formula for luxury tax resets. They could then proceed to go over the tax threshold and not have to pay close to the luxury tax amount they would be paying if they didn’t reset the clock.
If what I’m reading is correct, this would mean that they’d be relatively unencumbered in the 2014-2015 off-season in their quest to stomp Tokyo, or at least the American League, free to spend, spend, spend without much worry about all the taxes they’d be inflicted upon.
And here comes the part that is terrifying for the people of Tokyo, or at least the American League: Justin Verlander could be a free agent after 2014. So could Clayton Kershaw. And Felix Hernandez. And Chase Headley, Johnny Cueto and Elvis Andrus.
In other words… they Yankees could spend and attempt to buy a pennant in a way even George would find crazy.
And that is why they are sleeping.