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March 10, 2013 at 9:36 pm ET
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Get Your Yankee Licks In Now

The Yankees aren’t going to be as much fun to hate this year. You have no idea how much that bugs me.

Or maybe you do. If you’ve spent any time at this site in the past six years, you’ve probably wished I’d shut up about the Yankees and their fans. And don’t get me wrong, I hate ‘em. But this year, they’ve practically given up already.

They didn’t just lose their catcher, Russell Martin. They lost him … to the Pirates. Did they replace him with the second coming of Johnny Bench? They did not. They’ll make due with Francisco Cervelli and that other guy who can’t hit. Their offseason acquisitions? Travis Hafner and Kevin Youkilis. They let Nick Swisher walk to the Indians.

George Steinbrenner. Now there was a guy you could really hate. Wanted to win so bad he didn’t care how much money he threw after pennants. You think the luxury tax bothered Big Stein? Not a chance.

His sons are a different story. It turns out that their reaction to flushing money down the toilet is akin to yours and mine. They don’t have their father’s stomach for throwing money away.

Last year, the Yanks were the only team in baseball to pay a luxury tax, assessed in 2012 after a team’s payroll reached $178 million. The Yankee luxury tax? $19.3 million. That’s like paying one extra superstar salary just for the privilege of overpaying all your other guys. Because the Yanks pay the luxury tax every year, the percentage of that tax gets higher every year. For last season’s payroll, the tax was 42 percent. But if they can get their wages under $189 million next year, they’ll avoid the luxury tax and start all over again. When you break the streak, you can go back to year one of the luxury tax percentage.

So this year and next year, take your licks at the Yankees. They’ll be hobbled by suddenly sane business decisions.

But after that, when the tax percentage resets, look out.

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