Consulting with Ron Blum on such matters is the only way to go, and the all-world Associated Press writer helped us crunch the numbers: The Yankees, officially, have 16 signed players for roughly $188.25 million.
That includes Andrew Brackman and Juan Miranda, who are on the 40-man roster, and excludes Kei Igawa (who is not, and who's only shot at seeing the Yanks is the way Stephon Marbury follows the Knicks).
Now, given estimates for the rest of the roster, some of which are eligible for arbitration, the opening day 2009 Yankees payroll estimates at $198.75 million. That is roughly $10 million less than last year's opening day figure. So, take a bow, Hal, Cash and Company - you have reduced* payroll.
Oh, the asterisk. Well, if Andy Pettitte signs on for $10 million, if that's even an option anymore, then so long, savings. So, we'll operate as if Phil Hughes wins the job, and all's well.
Now, let's take a look at who's earning what in '09. Presenting the Yankees millionaires' lineup, with attempt at pithy commentary, brought to you by Cartier, Tiffany, and Harry Winston:
1. Alex Rodriguez, 3B: $32 M. Leading the league in something, guaranteed.
2. CC Sabathia, LHS: $23 M: The fridge will always be stocked.
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B: $20 M: Welcome to the club, so to speak.
4. Derek Jeter, SS: $20 M: Makes up for it by pitching watches, cologne, Fords etc.
5. A.J. Burnett, RHS: $16.5 M: Adviser Carl Pavano did not receive a dime for his services.
6. Mariano Rivera, RHR: $15 M: Dare we say this man was underpaid his whole career?
7. Jorge Posada, C: $13.1 M: And they're on the hook for another $26.2 million.
8. Hideki Matsui, DH: $13 M: Comes off the books after this season.
9. Johnny Damon, LF: $13 M: Ditto.
10. Robinson Cano, 2B: $6 M: K-Long can rebuild him. He has the technology.
11. Nick Swisher, who knows?: $5.3 M: Might see new Stadium as a visitor.
12. Xavier Nady, RF: *$5 M: Ditto.
13. Chien-Ming Wang, RHS: $5 M: And we thought he settled too cheaply.
14. Damaso Marte, LHR: $3.75 M: Remember his three-year, $12 millon deal?
15. Brian Bruney, RHR: *$2 M: Out to prove he's worth it, and more.
16. Melky Cabrera, CF: *$1 M: Already traded once, and they can do it again.
17. Jose Molina, C: $1 M: But he did $9 million worth of the catching in '08.
*estimated 2009 salaries
With Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Jose Veras, Jonathan Albaledejo, Phil Coke, Dan Giese, Cody Ransom, and Brett Gardner to fill out our 25-man roster, that brings us to our estimate of $198.75 million -- *give or take a few hundred thou.
*which might be located in the couch cushions at 1 Steinbrenner Drive.