Getty Images

The big question for the New York Yankees right now is whether they can make good on their current World Series aspirations. The biggest upcoming question is whether they can re-sign star slugger Juan Soto either before or after he reaches free agency this winter. Unfortunately for the Yankees and their partisans, owner Hal Steinbrenner has much to do with how those questions will be answered. 

"Unfortunately" is the word choice because Steinbrenner seems all too forgetful of how vast the club's resources are. Via Dan Martin of the New York Post, here's what Steinbrenner said on Wednesday at the owners' meeting: 

"I'm gonna be honest, payrolls at the levels we're at right now are simply not sustainable for us financially. It wouldn't be sustainable for the vast majority of ownership [groups], given the luxury tax we have to pay.''

The word sustainable is misapplied here because this is, to repeat, the New York Yankees. The Yankees could run much higher payrolls and comfortably satisfy any notions of sustainability. If there's good news it's that Steinbrenner notes that a good deal of payroll will be coming off the books this coming offseason and that could make a re-signing of Soto fit within his particular notions of sustainability. Beyond Soto, looming free agents include Alex Verdugo, Gleyber Torres, Clay Holmes, Tommy Kahnle and Jonathan Loáisiga.

The Yankees this season have a payroll in excess of $300 million, which indeed puts them deep into luxury-tax territory. However, they'll slough off almost $100 million in salary at season's end. That clears the decks for a Soto re-up, but it should make Yankees fans wonder whether Steinbrenner would be willing to address other roster needs if Soto winds up back in the fold. 

Really, payroll hand-wringing is not something the owner of the Yankees should be indulging in because there's no real way to run the Yankees and somehow manage to lose money. It's enough to make one suspect that Steinbrenner's greatest goal perhaps isn't winning the World Series but instead might be something more "balance sheet-oriented" in nature.