The Yankees are the ultimate Now team. Yet these days every decision is made with an eye toward being under the $189 million luxury tax threshold in 2014. Yes, even obtaining Ichiro Suzuki.

"We protected our future [by not giving up big prospects] and we did not take on a long-term salary while improving in the short term," general manager Brian Cashman explained yesterday by phone.

The new collective bargaining agreement delivers enough inducements and/or penalties depending on which side of the $189 million you are on, that the Yankees have made it an organizational mandate to be under the threshold. Even Hal Steinbrenner has been public on the issue. Nevertheless, this will be a difficult limbo contest because the Yankees already have Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira signed for big money with plans to retain Robinson Cano and, they hope, Curtis Granderson, both of whom can be free agents after next season.