Yanks eye potential monster 2014 FA class

Brian Cashman is trying to clear payroll in preparation for potential monster 2014 free agent class. John Munson/The Star-Ledger/US Presswire

The New York Yankees have been relatively inactive this offseason, but that doesn’t mean general manager Brian Cashman hasn’t been busy.

Fans might wonder why their team, which has historically used free agency to fortify its roster, would limit spending and hold off on signing the big free agents this year and instead just bring back veterans such as Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Hiroki Kuroda after the Yankees’ disappointing 2012 campaign. But Cashman has been adamant to get his payroll below $189 million by 2014, and for good reason.

Most important is the Yankees’ luxury tax goes up to 50 percent for every dollar over $189 million in 2014. The Yankees are the only team in baseball in that situation, because they’ve been over the threshold limit three times in a row. If they stay under the $189 million in 2014, they won’t pay a tax that year and they get to restart their luxury tax history. By restarting that history, the tax rate reverts to just 17.5 percent the next time they exceed it, which we should all expect to be 2015.

As the Yankees get below the luxury tax threshold, Cashman will have lined up his team for a possible bonanza free-agent haul – specifically starting pitchers -- in 2014 and perhaps 2015. The timing could not be better for the Yankees over the next two years. Here are several reasons why it should surprise no one if the Yankees blitz the 2014 offseason with a major spending spree.

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