TAMPA, Fla. -- Add Michael Weiner, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, to the list of those who are skeptical of Hal Steinbrenner's edict to cut the Yankees' payroll to $189 million by 2014.
"I'll believe it when I see it," Weiner said after meeting with the Yankees in their clubhouse Wednesday morning.
It would benefit Weiner for Steinbrenner to rescind the order, and as ESPNNewYork.com reported last week, the Baby Boss might be backing off already.
Weiner reiterated many of the points I made in the story last week, especially the fact that the Yankees are unlikely to reap the financial benefits they expected from getting below the luxury tax threshold for 2014. But even if the Yankees go through with their plan to cut payroll, it would be for only one season, which would reduce their luxury tax rate from 50 percent all the way down to 17.5 percent.
"If the Yankees decide to drop their payroll to do that, I'm not concerned, because they'll put themselves in position to greatly increase their payroll the next year," Weiner said. "And we'll see. The Yankees are the Yankees, and I'm sure it will depend on a number of factors. I'm really not overly concerned."
He said part of his address to the players concerned the Biogenesis scandal, and revealed that members of his staff had met with Alex Rodriguez and Francisco Cervelli, two Yankees whose names have appeared in the records of the "anti-aging clinic" being investigated by Major League Baseball as a possible source of performance-enhancing drugs.
Weiner declined to give any specifics about what the union told A-Rod and Cervelli, other than to say, "We are expeditiously meeting with any player whose name has surfaced to see whether there is anything there. MLB will have its opportunity to investigate these people, and if more names come out, we'll follow that, as well."