We’ve all heard the MSM Newspeak before:

- The Steinbrenners will do whatever it takes to win.
- They will spend however much money is required to sign elite players.
- The owners will give Yankee fans the best possible team they can every year.
- Look at how much more money they spend on player salaries than everybody else!

It seems both journalists and fans have ceded to some serious groupthink, as they accepted this received wisdom even after watching the Yankees come up short on Cliff Lee. They accepted it even as the Yankees went into the 2011 season with a rotation that included Freddy Garcia, AJ Burnett, Ivan Nova, and a dead-armed Phil Hughes. And they’re accepting it again, as the rotation is laughable for a team with the Yankees’ resources.

Maybe it’s just us, but we find it amazing that deep into the offseason, the Yankees have added ZERO new players to their roster. ZERO.

Outside of Jesus Montero, this is a team with zero batters who are on the upward sloping part of the age curve and exactly one starting pitcher who can be counted on for an above-average performance. What in the world is going on here? How can a team with the Yankees’ resources have such blatant holes in their roster?

Well, we know what’s going on. We can see through the BS. You might not like what we have to say, but it’s the truth. Click some other website if you wish to remain one of the sheeple.

The bottom line is this — Yankee ownership is cheap. The Steinbrenners are extremely greedy. They pocket a higher percentage of the fans’ hard-earned money than most other owners in MLB.

Far from spending whatever it takes to field the best possible team, Yankee ownership is simply spending enough to field a team that is sufficient to keep their gargantuan revenue stream flowing in. Ownership knows that they only need to set a payroll budget that enables the Yankees to annually compete for a playoff spot, even though they could easily afford to make the club overwhelming favorites to win the World Series. They also know that this will keep millions of Yankee fans passing through the gates to buy hot dogs and beer (and now sushi and steak!), in spite of having to pay the highest ticket prices in all of baseball.

“How can this be?” you ask. “ESPN tells me that the Yankees have a bigger payroll than every other team.”

This is a true fact, but it’s not very meaningful until you put it in the context of team revenue. Imagine you have two uncles who give you a Channukah present. Uncle Shlomo, a small town public defender, knows you love books, so he uses a good part of his discretionary budget to buy you a $150 gift certificate to Amazon. Next, Uncle Randy tosses you his gift, a new cellphone: not the latest Android, but a pretty nifty, brand name 3G thing that set him back about $230. Flashing a wide grin, Uncle Randy says, “See how much more I love you than the rest of your family does?”

This is essentially the situation Yankee fans are in. Yes, ownership does spend more money than everyone else, and they do put out a team that makes the playoffs almost every year. That’s a luxury of which most MLB fans are jealous. However, the Yankees are in a position to do quite a bit more for their fans. According to Forbes, the Yankees spent $236 million on players in 2010 (including salaries, benefits, and bonuses). Compare that to the team that beat the Yankees in the ALDS — the Tigers spent $150 million on player expenses in 2010. The Yankees spent 57% more than the Tigers.

Now, let’s take a look at how much their respective fans are paying the clubs. After revenue sharing, the Yankees generated $427 million in stadium revenues for 2010. Detroit took in $192 million. The Yankees made 122% more than the Tigers just at the stadium. However, the Tigers reinvested 78% of the fans’ money directly back onto the field in the form of player salaries. The Yankees only put 55% of the fans’ money back into the team.

On this alone, Yankee fans should feel a bit slighted.

The situation is even more pathetic than the Forbes revenue numbers let on. That data only includes stadium receipts. Read a little more closely and Forbes shares this nugget:

The YES Network, the team’s 34%-owned regional sports channel, is the most profitable RSN in the country and had over $400 million in revenue last year. The Yankees own a stake in Legends Hospitality Management, which manages stadiums, and generates $25 million in operating income.

That gives the Yankees an extra $160 million to work with.

If we were to just ask the Yankees to match the Tigers’ commitment to winning and put 78% of their revenues into player salaries, the Yankees would have a payroll budget of about $460 million. We have to account for the luxury tax, which is currently 42.5% of every dollar spent over $178 million. In 2013, that will rise to 50%, so let’s use that figure. Under the 2013 luxury tax regime, the Yankees could comfortably afford to spend about $350 million on players and still net a profit margin that is the same as the Tigers in terms of rate, and much bigger in absolute terms.

Making proper use of the fans’ hard-earned money over the last two years, the Yankees could have signed Cliff Lee, CJ Wilson, and their choice of EJax, Kuroda, or Buehrle to fill in the rotation behind Sabathia. They could have inked Jose Reyes as the long-term replacement for Jeter instead of Eduardo Nunez. They probably could have even signed Albert Pujols. None of these signings would have guaranteed them a championship. However, they wouldn’t be in a pack of other teams with less odds to win the World Series than the front-running Philadelphia Phillies.

Should Yankee fans really demand that the Yankees match the Tigers in terms of budget to revenue ratio? That’s for you decide on your own. However, the Yankees used political back-channels to extract hundreds of millions of dollars from citizens to help finance their own personal stadium — a stadium which they then used to generate colossal revenues by gouging fans.

When the Yankees claim that they cannot make any significant additions to the team due to self-imposed budget limits, they are just trying to make fools out of fans.