hal steinbrenner yankees
Jessica Alcheh | USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees currently own MLB’s second-highest payroll. And while the Bombers have struggled without Aaron Judge, they’re only 2.5 games out of the final AL Wild Card spot. We know New York will be buying at the trade deadline, but how much will they buy?

The rumor mill makes it seem like the Yankees’ wishlist is quite long as we approach August 1st. You’d have to imagine they’re going to go all-in to prepare for another postseason run, right?

Maybe yes and maybe no. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic recently commented on the Yankees’ potential trade-deadline plans. As it currently stands, New York is $1.1 million over the $293 million luxury tax threshold. While they’ll most likely have their 2024 first-round draft pick pushed back 10 spots, they could avoid a harsh financial penalty if they dip back under that number before the end of the season.

What the Yankees do at the deadline could be influenced by that. So instead of going all-in to try and get themselves back to the World Series for the first time since 2009, the front office might try to buy and sell at the same time.

That would mean, “exploring deals to improve the roster, but at a potentially lower cost,” according to Rosenthal. With a team that’s currently spiraling, this isn’t what fans want to hear. Especially on the heels of getting a “huge windfall” by desecrating the Yankee pinstripes.

You’d have to imagine that Brian Cashman would still at least do his due diligence for potentially huge acquisitions. You know, like Juan Soto and Shohei Ohtani, should they become available. But if this desire to get below the $293 million luxury tax threshold is more of a hard line, it’s difficult to see anything significant happening (like acquiring Cody Bellinger).

If this cheapness sounds familiar, it’s because we heard about it toward the end of last offseason. After re-signing Judge and reeling in Carlos Rodon, there was still a hole in left field. Cashman tried to trade middle infielders, Josh Donaldson, and Aaron Hicks, but none of that worked. They had an interest in Jurickson Profar for the outfield, but his asking price was too expensive (he eventually signed with Colorado on a one-year, $7.75 million deal).

As if we needed another sign that this is no longer George Steinbrenner’s Yankees, right?

You can reach Matt Musico at matt.musico@xlmedia.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.