TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner vowed to reduce payroll below $189 million in 2014, but Michael Weiner said the Major League Baseball Players Association is "not overly concerned" by the team's financial goals.
"I can't say it concerns me," the MLBPA executive director said on Wednesday at Yankees camp. "I imagine Mr. Steinbrenner is sincere when he says that, but like a lot of things, I'll believe it when I see it."
Weiner said that the MLBPA knew that the Yankees would be tempted to reduce payroll because of the incentives built into the new Basic Agreement. If the Yankees can avoid paying the luxury tax in 2014, they would reset to a first-time offender rate of 17.5 percent if they exceeded $189 million in a future season.
"If the Yankees decide to drop their payroll to do that, I'm not concerned, because they're dropping their payroll to put themselves in position to greatly increase their payroll the next year," Weiner said. "That incentive was understood."
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, should the Yankees exceed $189 million in 2014, they would be taxed at a 50 percent penalty rate. The Yankees have been hit with the luxury tax every season since it was introduced in 2003, and paid a $19.3 million penalty last season.
Weiner said that he does not expect the new revenue sharing disqualification program to benefit the Yankees as greatly as originally thought. The Yankees thought they might receive a rebate from clubs in larger markets, but those projections have changed because teams like the Blue Jays, Nationals and Braves are now projecting higher revenues.
"The market disqualification part of it, I'm much more skeptical about that incentive for the Yankees," Weiner said. "You can throw out all kinds of different numbers as to what the Yankees might garner from the market disqualification pool. But I think when the numbers are in, that pool is going to be much, much smaller than the Yankees or some people have suggested it's going to be."