The Yankees payroll sure isn't hurting them any, but it is sort of overrated. Like DR said, if spending was all that counted, the last ten WS would have turned out differently.
The big difference is that this year, the Yankees seemed to have guessed correctly on who they gave the big money too. Instead of dumping money on junk that never panned out for them (Giambi, Abreu, etc etc) they gave it to guys who actually played well this year (Tex, CC).
Another big factor is that this year's A-Rod (3 straight post-season games with a HR; 8 straight post-season games with an RBI) seems to have dumped his post-season curse... which I find pretty funny. The same year that he finally
owns up to steroids is the same year that he finally plays well consistently in the post season - can you say karma?