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Yankees Luxury Tax Higher Than Devil Rays Payroll


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Yankees find numbers taxing

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


Star-Ledger Staff

The Yankees have company this year in paying baseball's luxury tax, as the Red Sox and Angels joined them in exceeding the maximum payroll threshold in 2004. But neither Boston nor Anaheim will have a bill nearly as high as the Yankees.


According to figures obtained by The Associated Press, the Yankees, whose payroll was a record $187.9 million, must pay $25,062,352 in luxury tax. The Yankees also estimate a $60 million revenue-sharing payment they must send to the commissioner's office by the end of next month.



World Series champion Boston's payroll was the second-highest in baseball, at $130.4 million, and its luxury tax bill came in at $3,155,234, according to The AP. Anaheim will have to pay $927,059 in luxury tax on its payroll of $115.6 million. They were the only teams other than the Yankees to exceed this year's luxury tax threshold.


Last year, the Yankees were the only team to exceed the threshold and had to pay $11,798,357. The rules state that teams are taxed at 22.5 percent on the amount by which their payroll exceeds the threshold the first time they exceed it. But because 2004 was the second year in which the Yankees exceeded the threshold, they were taxed at 30 percent on the excess.


Next year, when they will undoubtedly exceed the threshold of $128 million with a payroll expected to climb to more than $200 million, they will have to pay 40 percent of the excess.


The Angels and Red Sox paid their tax at the rate of 22.5 percent, because they were in excess for the first time.


The Mets, fourth in the majors in payroll at $103.2 million, were below the threshold. Close behind the Mets were Los Angeles ($101.7 million), the Chicago Cubs ($100.7 million) and Philadelphia ($97.4 million).


St. Louis, swept by Boston in the World Series, was eighth at $92.8 million.


At the other end, Tampa Bay finished with the lowest payroll for the third straight season. At $24.4 million, the Devil Rays had the lowest figure for any team since 2000.


Milwaukee was 29th at $29.6 million, down from $43.3 million, and Pittsburgh was 28th at $32.5 million, down from $53.3 million.


According to the players' association, the average salary dropped 2.5 percent this year to $2,313,535 from $2,372,189, the first decrease since 1995 and only the third since record-keeping began in 1967.



There was little


activity in the Yankees' universe yesterday, though they renewed talks last night with the Arizona Diamondbacks regarding a trade for Randy Johnson. And they plan to open negotiations soon with free-agent center fielder Carlos Beltran, who met last week with team owner George Steinbrenner at the team's spring training facility in Tampa, Fla.


The Mets also have had internal discussions to plan a pursuit of Beltran, though they were not one of the teams with which he met in his tour of Florida. He also met with the Astros at their spring training facility in Kissimmee.



Mets officials said


there was no truth to a report that GM Omar Minaya was planning to meet with free-agent left-hander Odalis Perez this week in the Dominican Republic. Perez told The AP that his agent, Fernando Cuza, had told him Minaya was flying in to meet with him. But Minaya is apparently staying in New York this week.


"I'm excited about the possibility of joining Pedro Martinez in the Mets' rotation," Perez said. "Pedro's intelligence and maturity and my abilities to pitch would be a tremendous combination."


It's unclear whether the Mets would have a serious interest in Perez, because their starting rotation appears set and they are talking seriously about expensive pursuits of free agents Beltran, Carlos Delgado and Magglio Ordonez.



The signing of Delgado


by any team is on hold because the Yankees have told his agent that they want to wait to see whether they get Beltran. If they don't get Beltran, the Yankees plan to pursue Delgado to play first base, leaving Bernie Williams in center field and Jason Giambi at DH if he comes back at all.


The Yankees plan to sign former Yankee Tino Martinez as a backup first baseman if they get Beltran.



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If there's anything sad, it's the Devil Ray organization is.



Let's put the Marlins in the AL East and see what happens.


What does that have to do with anything? Tampa Bay spends $25 Million; that's pathetic. They don't need to spend $200 million, or even $100 million. But even if they double their payroll, they'd still be in the bottom half of the 2004 payroll among the other teams.

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