When the Yankees began publicly pronouncing that they would attempt to get their payroll under $189 million by 2014, many rival executives responded with an incredulous, 'I'll believe it when I see it', attitude. Much of the Yankees front office, it turns out, responded with similar incredulity. This unwillingness to believe, however, had less to do with skepticism or sarcasm than it did ignorance.
"I took a math class in college once," explained Yankees president Randy Levine. "And the professor would always throw out these theoretical numbers like one, or two, or twenty-five. And I would always look at him and say, 'billion'? And he'd be like, 'no, just one'. I could never really wrap my mind around it. I guess one is like a square root or something, one of those made up numbers represented with a letter that allows you to magically solve an equation. So when Hal started saying things like 189 million, I admit I was a bit lost."
Other Yankees personnel were similarly lost.
"Hal was really adamant that we make payroll in 2014," said Yankees GM Brian Cashman. "Hal's all like 'we need to make payroll'. And we're all looking at each other like, 'pay . . . roll?' It's hard when your boss is an eccentric majillionaire who makes things up on the spot."
In addition to ignorance, there also appear to have been a number of miscommunications.
According to assistant GM Billy Eppler, "when I heard the 189 figure, I assumed Hal meant per player. And if you look at the contracts we've signed since Hal started talking about that, none has been for more than $189 million. It cost us Cano, but I believe limiting contracts to $189 million or less has made us a better team overall."