Yankees seem flexible about 'budget'

So do the Yankees have a budget, or don't they?

Andrew Marchand reports that the Yankees do have a budget, somewhere between $200 million and $210 million (give or take a few million, of course). Prince Hal Steinbrenner describes himself as "a budget guy" and suggests that if the Yankees do have money to spend this season, it'll be money that's coming off the books.

But nobody who doesn't work at Yankee Stadium has done more work with the Yankees' payroll than IIATMS's Larry, and he says the numbers just don't add up. Not to $210 million, anyway.

As things stand now, the Yankees are essentially committed to spending $200 million next season if Andy Pettitte comes back. Granted, if Pettitte doesn't come back, the Yankees could pay Cliff Lee $25 million and come in at just a little more than $210 million ... except they want Andy Pettitte to come back and they want to sign Cliff Lee and -- according to Buster Olney -- they're hot for Carl Crawford, too.

It doesn't take an accountant to figure if the Yankees re-sign Pettitte and sign both Lee and Crawford, the payroll will hit upwards of $240 million next season. If they don't re-sign Pettitte but do get the other two guys, it'll be north of $230 million.

Budget, shmudget.

Of course, from the Yankees' point of view it's entirely justifiable. While the baseball team itself probably isn't as profitable as you might assume, the YES Network is a cash cow. For them, $30 million is a rounding error. The businesses are run separately, but given the symbiotic nature of the relationship, it's hard to imagine that people don't talk. And perhaps even write checks to one another.

My guess is that the Yankees won't get both Lee and Crawford, if only because other teams have money to spend, too. But I don't think the Yankees will let their "budget" get in the way of getting what they want.