Nothing under the tree for Yankees fans


With their money limited and most of the available starting pitchers, such as C.J. Wilson, Mark Buerhle, Gio Gonzalez, John Danks and Yu Darvish off the board, it looks like there will be nothing under the tree for Yankees fans this Christmas.

For the second straight year, the Yankees' biggest free-agent acquisition is likely to be one of their own guys (Derek Jeter in 2010, CC Sabathia in 2011). And aside from free agent Hiroki Kudoda, there isn't much out there to fill the Yankees' need for a solid No. 2 starter.

A baseball source I spoke with on Friday said the word is out that the Yankees are not spending this year. How is that possible, you ask? Three little letters: C-B-A.

The new collective bargaining agreement puts the squeeze on free-spending big-market clubs (read: the Yankees and Red Sox). And despite paying their lowest luxury tax bill -- $13.4 million -- in several years, a concerted effort is being made by the Yankees to keep their payroll at or below the $189 million threshold that kicks in for the 2014 season.

So there will be less spending, not more, coming out of the Yankees front office for the next three seasons. And with big guaranteed contracts to Sabathia, Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, A.J. Burnett and Rafael Soriano eating up a lot of the payroll for the next two years and beyond, as well as scheduled raises for Robinson Cano, Joba Chamberlain and Russell Martin, it doesn't leave much left over for adding new parts.

Barring an unforseen development, right now it looks like virtually the same rotation that pitched the Yankees to the AL East title in 2011 -- but out of the playoffs in the first round -- will be the rotation for 2012: Sabathia, Burnett, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia.

Happy holidays, all.