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It is a sign of the times.

The economy is in a slump, and even baseball isn't immune to the problems despite early offseason claims by some agents that the game was insulated from real-world money struggles.

Only 12 major-league teams expect to increase their payrolls in 2009, and nine of the 11 teams with the biggest payrolls in the game last season are among the teams projected to reduce payrolls.

It is not like the Yankees are pinching pennies.

This is a team that talks about failing to reach a $200 million payroll in a sport in which 20 teams didn't even hit $100 million last year. The fact, however, remains the Yankees expect to see their payroll decline for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

Of the top 11 payrolls in the game last year only the Mets, who ranked second, and Cubs, who ranked eighth, project increases in 2009.

The Dodgers, No. 7 in the salary standings last year, could see their payroll drop as much as $30 million -- nearly $8 million more than Florida's opening day payroll in 2008 -- if they fail to retain Manny Ramirez, who they are willing to pay $25 million to return, but only on a two-year basis, far below what agent Scott Boras has been trying to attain for his client.

The teams that figure to add payroll will do it in minimal increments, and include five of the seven lowest payrolls last year -- No. 30 Florida, No. 29 Tampa Bay, No. 28 Oakland, No. 25 Minnesota and No. 24 Kansas City.

The two bottom feeders that could reduce their salary commitment -- No. 26 Washington and No. 27 Pittsburgh -- would do so in minimal amounts.

The biggest hit is being felt by San Diego, which wants to chop $30 million from last year's $74 million payroll. The Padres already have dealt shortstop Khalil Greene and failed to re-sign Trevor Hoffman, the game's all-time leader in saves. They remain hopeful they can move Jake Peavy to help clean up the financial demands of owner John Moores' pending divorce.

And then there are the Yankees, who checked in a year ago with a record-setting $209.1 million opening day payroll, up $800,000 from the record the Yankees set in 2004.

They have spent the winter shopping, adding three of the team's top five salaries in the process. Right behind Alex Rodriguez in the Yankees payroll are pitcher CC Sabathia, who signed a seven-year, $161 million deal, and first baseman Mark Teixeira, who signed for $180 million over eight years. Then comes Derek Jeter, followed by A.J. Burnett with a five-year, $82.5 million deal.

However, they also shed dead weight this off-season by unloading the salaries of Jason Giambi, who earned $23.4 million last year, Bobby Abreu, who earned $16 million, Mark Mussina and Carl Pavano (believe it or not), who earned $11 million each, and LaTroy Hawkins, who picked up $3.75 million. While they re-signed Andy Pettitte, his guarantee slipped from $16 million a year ago to $5.5 million for 2009, although he can max out on incentives worth an additional $6.5 million.


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Author:Fox Sports
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Added: January 29, 2009

Chicago White sox News

News » It's a bad time to be an out-of-work veteran

It's a bad time to be an out-of-work veteran

It's a bad time to be an out-of-work veteran
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - For all the headlines that have been given to the Yankees' offseason spending spree, what is constantly overlooked is that the Yankees are looking at a lower payroll for Opening Day this season than a year ago.

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