You know times are bad when even the New York Yankees say they have to cut payroll.
Under the new labor contract, the luxury tax threshold will be $189 million after the 2013 season, and managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said Thursday his goal is to be under it.
This season's payroll is around $210 million, he said.
"I don't think it's an unrealistic goal," he said.
"My goals are normally considered a requirement," he added - we think to make sure people know he's the boss.
"I'm just not convinced we need to be as high as we've been in the past to field a championship-caliber team," Steinbrenner said.
In a way, he's right. New York's 2011 payroll was $202 million. The world champion St. Louis Cardinals' payroll was a little more than half that: $105 million and change.
Negotiators for baseball players and owners working toward an agreement to increase the postseason field to 10 teams failed to reach a deal by Thursday as they had hoped.
But sources on both sides told reporters that the talks would continue, and ESPN's Jayson Stark reported that enough details had been worked out for the plan to be implemented, with an announcement likely Friday.
When players and owners signed their new labor contract in November, the section covering the postseason set a March 1 goal for deciding whether the playoffs would increase by two teams in 2012 or 2013. The plan was to establish a one-game, wild-card round in each league between the teams with the best records who are not division winners.
The St. Louis Cardinals are hanging on to at least one of their stars: Four-time Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina on Thursday agreed to a five-year, $75 million contract that kicks in next season and keeps him in St. Louis through the 2017 season.
The deal, which could top $90 million over seven seasons, trails only the Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer (eight years, $184 million) among catchers.
Unlike Molina's close friend Albert Pujols, who bolted for a 10-year, $240 million deal with Anaheim, the Cardinals stepped up before another of their cornerstone players entered the final year of his contract. Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. called Molina a "franchise-type player."
So, what was Pujols?