FanDuel - WFBC

December 23, 2008

Mark Teixeira is a Yankee.: The three top free agents are now members of the Yankees and Manny rumours have started (although, they may stop now). Finally, fans can watch an all-star game played 162 games a season.

posted by dfleming to baseball at 05:20 PM - 47 comments

It should also be noted that the four highest salaries in the game are now in pinstripes.

posted by dfleming at 05:23 PM on December 23

I hope it works out as well for them as the last few years when they have attempted to buy a championship. In other words, not at all.

posted by graymatters at 05:27 PM on December 23

Current Lineup:

C - Posada (likely to rebound from injury) 1B - Teixeira 2B - Cano (too talented to play like he did in 2008) SS - Jeter 3B - Rodriguez RF - Nady (97 RBI's in 2008) CF - Cabrera (young, good potential) LF - Damon (fading) DH - Matsui

Role player: Swisher (a big league starter elsewhere)

The entire infield has the talent to make the all-star team. Amazing.

posted by dfleming at 05:38 PM on December 23

Meh. Teixeira and ARod are terrific but the rest of the lineup isn't anything to get excited about. I would have been shocked if they hadn't gotten Teixeira, as I think they realized their lineup had gotten pretty mediocre.

posted by DudeDykstra at 06:03 PM on December 23

From the story:

The Yankees, with money to spend after lopping $86 million off their 2008 payroll, have now likely invested more than $400 million in signing Sabathia, Burnett and now Teixeira, who make the Yankees instant favorites to supplant the Tampa Bay Rays as champions of the American League East.
There's something beautiful about the math in that sentence. The Rays' total payroll last season was $43 million.

posted by rcade at 06:10 PM on December 23

i still dont understand why this is allowed!! MLB needs a salary cap, Is baseball going to be exciting if a team has like 12/13 possible all star players. how can other teams possibably think they can contend. yes TB had a great year last season but will they do it again, highly unlikely! 400mil on 3 players {{crazy}}

posted by jjmule16 at 10:15 PM on December 23

I find it strange reading that Cashman 'pulled one over' on the red sox again. The red sox had a number they didn't want to go over. The yankees went over it. If the sox come back with a higher number, I have no doubt the yankees would go higher.

The yankees simply do not have a budget, at all. Anyone that tells you they do is either lying or an idiot. Peter Abraham, of the idiot type, told his readers that the yankees signing the top 3 free agents was a fantasy (cashman's words). And that's exactly what happened.

Hank, Hal, and Cashman are trying to buy a championship. Isn't every team? But the difference is, again, they have no budget. If the yankees win a ws next year people will give credit to cashman for building a championship team. He didn't. He simply outbid everyone for the top 3 free agents. Give me the money, I can do that.

I know we've had discussions here about the treatment of yankee threads. But honestly, there's not much that can be done about it. The yankee front office doesn't care, most yankee fans don't care. Unless you were born in the bronx, I simply don't understand how anyone can root for this team. The four highest paid players in the game on one team? It's a joke.

The beauty of it is this is baseball and it's unpredictable. If the yankees win the ws, well, they should. If they lose, they'll go down as miserable failures.

posted by justgary at 10:40 PM on December 23

Speaking of Peter Abraham (a beat writer for the yankees) here's his comment after the Yankees signed Teixeira:

I was duped by Brian Cashman and it won't happen again. Lesson learned. Obviously the stuff the Yankees were selling about building from within, developing players and cutting payroll was total nonsense. I should have known better and I didn't.

Maybe he's learned his lesson.

posted by justgary at 11:15 PM on December 23

I'm with JJ. Salary cap the bastards. I love baseball, but would much rather sit down to watch a game that could go either way rather than a 90% chance the "All Star" team will win.

posted by Drood at 12:27 AM on December 24

I put the Yankees with the Cowboys as teams that I love to hate. Both have owners that don't give a shit about the sport, just want to buy championships as if that somehow makes them better men. With any luck the Yankees will self destruct.

posted by dviking at 01:13 AM on December 24

3 words: F--K THE YANKEES! Enough said...

posted by JSINOBIZZLE at 02:02 AM on December 24

"The yankee front office doesn't care, most yankee fans don't care."

And the MLB doesn't care and the MLBPA really doesn't care. If baseball cared, they'd institute a salary cap (as mentioned several times above). It's made the NFL the most competitive professional league in sports and it levels the playing field.

"Unless you were born in the bronx, I simply don't understand how anyone can root for this team. The four highest paid players in the game on one team? It's a joke."

And JG, I believe you're a Red Sox fan. The Sox had the second highest payroll from 2004-2006 and the fourth highest payroll last year. I know it's a fierce rivalry but c'mon now, the Sox are big spenders themselves. I mean I'd understand the bitterness if you were a Rays fan.

posted by cjets at 02:23 AM on December 24

And the MLB doesn't care and the MLBPA really doesn't care.

You're taking my comment out of context. My point was that we've had many debates here on how the yankees are treated on sportsfilter (unfairly), and I agree with many of them. But during times like this it's a losing battle. There comes a point when you have to realize that rooting for a team that takes the top 3 free agents at close to 400 million (or whatever the number is) will bring resentment. That sucks, but at least you have a team that on paper should win the WS almost every year. I'd say its a fair trade.

And JG, I believe you're a Red Sox fan.

So I can't comment on salary issues? Please. You're also assuming I'm upset that Teixeira isn't coming to the Red Sox. I never thought he was; not because of the money, but the years. I would have loved to seen him go to the Nationals, or the Orioles, or hell, stayed with the Angels. I'm a bigger fan of baseball than I am of the red sox.

The Sox had the second highest payroll from 2004-2006 and the fourth highest payroll last year.

Not to single you out, because I see this argument everywhere, but it's complete BS, Here's the salaries from 2008. The Red Sox are in 4th, around 76 million less than the Yankees. To put that into perspective, that's more than or equal to 14 major league teams, or about half the league.

In no way shape or form can you compare those two payrolls and call them the same, or even similar, and you're being disingenuous to do so. Comparing the Red Sox payroll to the Rays doesn't change that.

I know it's a fierce rivalry but c'mon now, the Sox are big spenders themselves. I mean I'd understand the bitterness if you were a Rays fan.

If you're reading bitterness in my comments you're misreading them.

posted by justgary at 03:59 AM on December 24

I agree the sheer numbers involved with these signings is ridiculous, but people need to again step back and take a deep breath. Even though the Rays are mentioned in several of the above posts, it's still almost as if people totally forgot them already. The fact remains they won the East and the American League, even with their low team salary. Baseball remains a game played with a bat, ball, and gloves, not with rolled up contracts. The Yankees are still only one team. A few injuries, as are bound to happen, and they're pretty much back to where they were last year. And who's to say the addition of Teixeira is automatically going to mean the team can go in and hit the likes of the Rays' young pitchers, or Boston's excellent rotation? Tampa proved if you mind what's going on in your own backyard, with your own team, and develop your own talent, you can still win. Will the current spending sprees by teams such as the Yankees ever help teams such as the Pirates? Absolutely not, but the Pirates also haven't ever helped themselves because they have proven they are fairly poor judges of talent within their own organization. If they can do a better job at what they (or other teams in similar situatins as they are) are currently able to do, they could be a Tampa Bay Rays story too. The National League teams have to take care of themselves, and last time I checked, no AL teams had the Yankees scheduled for 162 straight games, so anyone getting all upset over the reality of what they (the Yanks) are doing need to try and take it easy. Many have already said it: Buying championships seldom works.

posted by dyams at 07:43 AM on December 24

I put the Yankees with the Cowboys as teams that I love to hate. Both have owners that don't give a shit about the sport, just want to buy championships as if that somehow makes them better men.

Hate Dallas all you want, but Jerry Jones' spending is a poor reason to do it. He operates under a salary cap. Anything he could do to buy a championship is within the means of the rest of the league. The Cowboys haven't won a playoff game in 12 years. Where's the unfair advantage?

As for the Yankees, I think the perception of an unfair advantage is more detrimental to the league than the reality. The Yanks can still overcome that financial advantage with poor coaching, poor management, and bad team chemistry. They've done it before.

The Red Sox are in 4th, around 76 million less than the Yankees. To put that into perspective, that's more than or equal to 14 major league teams, or about half the league.

True, but looking at the difference between the Yankees and Sox in salaries is the only way to make the Sox' salary look reasonable. The Sox and the other $130 million teams have a $50 million or higher salary advantage over half the teams in the league.

Personally, I think the Rays success and the Yankees' woes in recent years are good enough reasons to stop thinking about salary cap issues in baseball, at least for a while.

posted by rcade at 09:03 AM on December 24

Folks, when CC's body has broken down 3 years into his 7 year contract and after Burnett blows out his elbow halfway into his, then we'll see how these signings look. Teixeira is the only safe bet of the three. I don't think this means a whole lot in terms of the Yankees winning World Series, as the playoffs remain somewhat unpredictable. What this is bad for are the other teams in the AL East, because with this much talent, it is unlikely the Yankees will not be a playoff team. And that is a sad thing for the Rays and a sad thing if you are an Orioles fan (don't laugh -- they actually have some very good talent in the pipeline). It is perhaps a less sad thing for the Red Sox, who have the money and the front office smarts to be somewhat competitive. If you are Blue Jays fan, you can take solace in your team being the best fourth best team of all time in the divisional era this past year.

posted by holden at 09:19 AM on December 24

There's a leveling factor built into some of the Yanks signings. Those prize acquisitions have to go play in NY, and deal with the NY fans and media along with heightened national scrutiny and attention.

And if you're a high priced Yanks player and you're the type of guy that has any sense of perspective and a shred of value conscience, you wake up every day wondering what in the world you're going to do to justify your vulgar, insane salary.

There are some guys who are not mentally and emotionally equipped to play to their potential under those circumstances. It's not a relaxed, happy, natural environment.

But I don't take delight when I see big name guys struggle in NY. Their misery is not a good way to balance out a situation that is sick from the get go. A few players finding out the hard way that being a Yankee is not a good thing does not provide enough wisdom and perspective to help heal the underlying sickness. Just like A-Rod realizing that being a Scott Boras client was not a good thing did not put Boras out of business.

posted by beaverboard at 10:35 AM on December 24

"You're taking my comment out of context. My point was that we've had many debates here on how the yankees are treated on sportsfilter (unfairly), and I agree with many of them. But during times like this it's a losing battle. There comes a point when you have to realize that rooting for a team that takes the top 3 free agents at close to 400 million (or whatever the number is) will bring resentment."

I'd agree that it will bring resentment. But the Yankees are just playing under the MLB rules. The MLB needs to change things. And, by the way, I'm not a Yankee fan and I do strongly support a salary cap.

"So I can't comment on salary issues?"

Of course you can. And then I can mention that you're a Red Sox fan whose team spends loads of money (Dice K, for example) and have a built in bias against the Yankees.

"If you're reading bitterness in my comments you're misreading them."

Your original comments:

"I know we've had discussions here about the treatment of yankee threads. But honestly, there's not much that can be done about it. The yankee front office doesn't care, most yankee fans don't care. Unless you were born in the bronx, I simply don't understand how anyone can root for this team. The four highest paid players in the game on one team? It's a joke."

Please feel free to provide the proper adjective. Angry? Upset?

Again, I don't like the Yankees. And I don't like Teixeira. I think that the salaries paid are ridiculous in this economic climate (and no, I don't want the owners to make more. I want ticket prices lowered). But it's hard for me to criticize the Yankees for taking advantage of the current MLB system. They have the money. Why not spend it on players?

If enough people don't like the system, then MLB should change to a salary cap and all teams will have the same restrictions.

posted by cjets at 11:03 AM on December 24

True, but looking at the difference between the Yankees and Sox in salaries is the only way to make the Sox' salary look reasonable. The Sox and the other $130 million teams have a $50 million or higher salary advantage over half the teams in the league.

Oh sure. Only the Yankees keep the Red Sox from being the Yankees. I'm aware and appreciative of that fact. I also fully appreciate the fact that the Sox spend enough money to be competitive every single year.

But there are levels here, with the Red Sox being near the top, along with a few others. The Yankees are simply in a different category. The Yankees have the 4 top contracts in the game. The Red Sox don't have anyone in the top 10.

And if you're a high priced Yanks player and you're the type of guy that has any sense of perspective and a shred of value conscience, you wake up every day wondering what in the world you're going to do to justify your vulgar, insane salary.

See, I have no problem with player salaries, and I doubt any question their worth. But here's the thing. When I was 12 I would play basketball almost every single day after school. We divided the teams up according to talent. If we divided wrong and one team ran away with the game, we changed up the team. Even as kids we realized the appeal of competitiveness.

Yes, I realize that's a tenuous example at best. MLB is a business, not a playground. But those players once played on a playground after school. When the yankees or redsox or mets step on the field against a team like the royals surely they feel the absurdity of it all, at least I'd like to think they do.

posted by justgary at 11:31 AM on December 24

And then I can mention that you're a Red Sox fan whose team spends loads of money (Dice K, for example)

I already spoke on the salary issues. I already pointed out the differences. If you want to put the Yankees and Red Sox in the exact same boat, have at it.

and have a built in bias against the Yankees.

You don't know me. I don't agree with the signings, but I'm a red sox fan, so you assume a,b and c about me. So YOU bring that up. It's your bias. You think my comments are simply because I don't like the Yankees? Fine, I get it. It's simply not true. As I said, I'm a bigger fan of baseball. However, you're more than welcome to believe I'm simply commenting because I hate the Yankees. Doesn't allow for great conversation, but whatever.

Please feel free to provide the proper adjective. Angry? Upset?

C. None of above.

Grateful

posted by justgary at 11:57 AM on December 24

I for one would be a fan of a salary cap in MLB. This all reminds me of something Steinbrenner said in and interview a few years back when they upped the revenue sharing and luxury taxes, which hit teams like the Yanks pretty hard. As you may or may not know, David Glass, owner of the Royals and ex Wal Mart executive, was leading the push for more revenue sharing. When the press asked Steinbrenner to comment, he said...."If Kmart goes broke, do they ask Wal Mart for money?" Of course he was defending his right to run a business within the rules of the MLB. He also pointed out that if any other owners wanted to pour that kind of money into their team, there are no rules against it. I'm not a Yanks fan by any means, but they go about business the way the way they want, pay their revenue sharing and taxes for it, and I agree that some other owners could let go of some money if they wanted to put a similar product on the field.

posted by kcfan4life at 12:10 PM on December 24

"I already spoke on the salary issues. I already pointed out the differences. If you want to put the Yankees and Red Sox in the exact same boat, have at it."

I would not put them in the same boat. But I would say there are more similarities than differences.

As far as the bias, you're right I don't know you. But the language in your first post would lead an objective observer to believe that there is a bias.

Grateful = "The yankee front office doesn't care, most yankee fans don't care. Unless you were born in the bronx, I simply don't understand how anyone can root for this team. The four highest paid players in the game on one team? It's a joke."

Not exactly how I express my gratitude.

In some ways, I think we're on the same page. I'm strongly for the cap and I don't like a league that doesn't have a level playing field. But the Yankees are playing within the rules. This is a systemic issue that needs to be addressed at the MLB level.

posted by cjets at 01:19 PM on December 24

Not exactly how I express my gratitude.

I'm grateful it's not the Red Sox. As I said, the Yankees keep the Red Sox from being the Yankees. I would still be commenting here if it had been the Red Sox. I don't want to root for a team 70 million ahead of everyone else. Doesn't matter if it's not against the rules or not. If that's bias, so be it. But if you want to believe I'm only against the signings because it's the Yankees, you're wrong.

I can call it a joke without being bitter. I think it sucks for the league, and in some ways it might do good for the Yankees to win it all this year. Maybe it would start a discussion.

From a red sox site:

That's roughly $850 million in free agent signings (actually, Swisher's contract was acquired in a trade). With various extras and options (e.g., two club options on Cano would add another 29), this list could top $900 million. And that doesn't include the bloated salaries they'll be paying to CI (20), Damon (13), and Shemp (13) in 2009. New York has agreed to nearly one billion dollars in new contracts in a little over one year... So can all the idiots who've been referring to the Red Sox as "the new Yankees" stfu? The Yankees are "the new Yankees".

Another link with multiple reactions:

Mike Lupica: The total outlay of new Yankee money spent in the last two baseball winters is now nearly $800 million. ... You cannot do this in professional football, as much as owners such as Jerry Jones would like to. You cannot do this in the NBA, because even when teams such as the Knicks go wildly over the salary cap, they aren't out-spending the competition the way the Yankees do, year after year after year. Again: There is no sport where one team, if it has the resources, can attempt to buy this sort of edge.

and luxury taxes, which hit teams like the Yanks pretty hard.

The Yankees had 30 million in luxury taxes this year. They spent 400 million. Luxury taxes have no effect on the Yankees.

I agree that some other owners could let go of some money if they wanted to put a similar product on the field.

That may be true with a few teams that have greedy owners, you can say the Red Sox could have paid a few bucks more for Teixeira, but for the most part teams simply can't compete with the Yankees and Red Sox (and mets, dodgers). And they can't afford to make the mistakes the Yankees have and simply write it off.

posted by justgary at 01:56 PM on December 24

One more link:

Yeah, I know, it's probably not good form for a Red Sox fan to gripe about another team's excess, particularly considering that we're all bummed that they're not the team that gets to pay Teixeira nearly $200 million dollars over the next eight seasons. But in the bigger picture, the truth is undeniable: The game has changed. The Yankees are in their own financial stratosphere now, and no other franchise in the sport -- not the Red Sox, Mets, Angels, Tigers, anyone -- is close. With their ability to print money because of their new ballpark and their lucrative television network, they have reached the point where they can overbid for any single player they want, and should he struggle or falter in the New York spotlight, they can simply gulp down his salary and replace him with the next nine-figure-salaried superstar who catches their fancy. It's a stunningly unappealing way to build a baseball team -- it's always more satisfying to build through the farm system or acquire the unsung Bill Muellers and Scott Brosiuses who become cherished heroes on championship teams -- but in the end, a championship is a championship, and they all feel pretty damn good. Around here, it's convenient this morning to say, "Well, talent isn't everything," and we'd all like to believe that that Tex, CC, and A.J. will win exactly as many rings as Giambi, Mussina, and Pavano did, and that Jeter, Matsui, Posada, and Damon will age rapidly, and the Yankees will be humbled by flaws that they don't recognize right now. But at this point, it appears that they've stockpiled so much elite talent that you have to believe that the sum of the individuals will add up to a hell of an imposing team.

I should have just quoted that and been done with it.

posted by justgary at 02:02 PM on December 24

i still dont understand why this is allowed!! MLB needs a salary cap

Why this is allowed? The Yankees paid a $25 million dollar luxury tax for all of their spending and they are doing nothing wrong here.

Now I totally hate the Yankees but you have to give it to them, at least they're putting the money that they made back into the team. Any baseball fan or sports fan for that matter would love for their teams to do the very same thing so I don't know why people are getting so upset over this.

At least the Yankees are doing what they need to do in order to please their fans. Sorry I can't say that about a lot of other teams out there, including my Mets who are more concerned about their bullpen (rightfully so) than who is going to take over left field (Man-Ram anyone?)

posted by BornIcon at 02:04 PM on December 24

That may be true with a few teams that have greedy owners, you can say the Red Sox could have paid a few bucks more for Teixeira, but for the most part teams simply can't compete with the Yankees and Red Sox (and mets, dodgers). And they can't afford to make the mistakes the Yankees have and simply write it off.

There's a difference between can't and won't. There are two schools of business at work; those who believe you make a profit and invest it (or pocket it) and those who believe you invest and then make a profit. Obviously, the Yankees are in the latter group.

This isn't one team stacking against all others; the Red Sox could apparently afford $20M/season for Teixeira. So could LA, Washington and Baltimore. You can't cry foul at overspending if you have that kind of money to spend. They've made offers to everyone except Sabathia, it seems. They're being one-upped, which means they either undervalue the player's market value or believe no player is worth that. The latter isn't true, as they have offered huge contracts to Manny and Nomar over the years. They're just unwilling to pay what the market is giving them right now. Sucks to be them, but their barrier is self-made.

posted by dfleming at 02:46 PM on December 24

I'm a Red Sox fan from way, way back, and my reaction is one of disappointment, not anger. As wealthy as John Henry is, he knows exactly what the corporate structure (the team, the park, and the cable TV network) can support over the long term. The team could have afforded Teixeira, but I'm sure they looked at the farm system, did a long-term cost/benefit analysis, and said, "No thanks, there are other more cost-effective options for the longer view,"

One interesting aspect is where all this leaves Manny Ramirez. The only team that would think of offering him more than about $22M per for more than 2 years is the Yankees. Now he's likely to end up at about $20M per for 2 years, which is exactly where he was when he dogged his way out of Boston. I somehow take great delight in the prospect of Manny being a somewhat worse off Manny, his possible undoing coming at the council of his "best friend", agent Scott Boras.

As far as the MLB salary structure goes, it screams for a hard cap. This will never happen, because the Players' Union runs MLB, and the agents encourage them. I note that there are only 12 teams with a final 2008 payroll in excess of $100M. If, perhaps (keep dreaming, Howard) the lower tier 18 teams threatened to withdraw and form a competing league unless a cap were put in place, someone might listen. I'm 67. It ain't gonna happen in my lifetime!

posted by Howard_T at 03:25 PM on December 24

Just a point, cjets. You're the one who brought the fact of JG being a Red Sox fan into this conversation, which didn't have to happen.

Baseball itself is the big issue here, although I'm thankful that so far, buying the All-Star team hasn't done the Yankees a scrap of good. I simply want to see how the team actually plays and if they, All-Stars that they are, can match up with the reigning AL champions, the Rays, or even with the Red Sox, who weren't exactly shabby last year, if you'll remember. We'll see how it happens in the field, not in the bank.

And by the way, before anyone tries to bring my bias into it, I'm a Cardinals fan, 11th on the list and 14th in average player salary according to the earlier posted CBSSports.com list.

posted by boredom_08 at 08:18 PM on December 24

"Just a point, cjets. You're the one who brought the fact of JG being a Red Sox fan into this conversation, which didn't have to happen."

Why is that a problem? If you root for the archrival of the team that just signed away the player you bid $160 million for, that may color your perception.

I know, from many of the previous Yankee posts he referred to, that's he's a Red Sox fan. Many of us, on this site anyway, are defined by our rooting interests. Why wouldn't I mention in this context?

posted by cjets at 10:42 PM on December 24

So just because a player signs a contract for the most money, he is automatically the best player there is? It would make it easy to figure out if that was actually the case, but it's not. Teixeira is a very good player, but there are many really good first basemen in the game today. Sabathia is a really good pitcher, but does his big contract automatically make him the best in the game? Justgary makes the analogy of when he was a kid and teams were divided up equally in the name of competitiveness. Well, Tampa won the AL last season, meaning they obviously have talented players on their roster, regardless of how much money they are being paid. The Yankees paid a lot of money, but that didn't translate into enough wins to make the playoffs. So do you get competitive balance by giving teams with low payrolls guys who are currently making big, huge wads of cash? Jeter makes more money than Hanley Ramirez. Would it make sense to give the Marlins Jeter because he makes more money and give the Yankees Ramirez? No. It's still all about talent. Many of the most talented players in the game aren't currently making the most money. All the other teams in the majors still need to excel at recognizing young talent throughout the ranks. The ones that do that will ensure themselves success in the future. The ones that don't will continue to flounder, regardless of how much money they decide to spend. Many of the teams in baseball who have struggled year after year can always fall back on the "small market, low payroll" excuse, and that has validity to a certain point. But when you see smaller market teams, year after year, having some really great seasons, it proves that it can be done.

posted by dyams at 11:49 AM on December 25

Amazing - they have that kind of money to throw around for players, yet have the brass to seek public funding for a new stadium...

posted by FonGu at 03:11 PM on December 25

"The yankee front office doesn't care, most yankee fans don't care. Unless you were born in the bronx, I simply don't understand how anyone can root for this team."

I grew up in the Bronx. I was also a Pirates fan. Let me tell you something. It's much better to be a fan of a team that wants to win then the fan of a team that will never pay to keep even it's own star players. Go Yankees!

posted by BxBruce at 04:25 PM on December 25

"Personally, I think the Rays success and the Yankees' woes in recent years are good enough reasons to stop thinking about salary cap issues in baseball, at least for a while."

Sure. If the Yankees are prepared to come in last for seven years and keep all their high draft picks, I agree - totally comparable successes.

Oh wait.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 07:45 PM on December 26

So why haven't the Pirates been able to do it? The Royals? The reason is they suck at evaluating talent. Baseball, more than any other sport, is the most difficult to predict how talent coming out of high school or college will translate at the major league level. Best example ever? Mike Piazza. A forgotten-about draft pick who turned into one of the best hitters in recent baseball history. The Yankees are in the position they are in now, signing players for ridiculous sums of money, because of the criticism they got all last year for holding onto highly-regarded draft picks from a few years ago (Hughes and Kennedy, who have failed miserably to this point), instead of letting them go in a deal for Santana. There are many examples of free agents who have been huge busts after signing gigantic contracts, but the difference will always be they are the ones who often have at least showed what they are capable of at the major league level.

posted by dyams at 08:23 PM on December 26

"So why haven't the Pirates been able to do it? The Royals? The reason is they suck at evaluating talent. Baseball, more than any other sport, is the most difficult to predict how talent coming out of high school or college will translate at the major league level."

Exactamundo. Which is why the Rays way is even that much more imprssive.

And it's not the free agents that work out that give the Yankees the advantage. It's the ones that don't. The ability to absorb mistakes that would cripple other franchises is a distinct advantage.

Point is - if pitching, the most coveted of the baseball skills - becomes available, it's hard to beat the Yankees.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:22 PM on December 26

Point is - if pitching, the most coveted of the baseball skills - becomes available, it's hard to beat the Yankees.

Really? They've been running this strategy for about ten years and it's bought them one championship so far. In that time, they've acquired Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, Carl Pavano, Andy Pettite, Randy Johnson, Hideki Irabu, Jaret Wright, Jose Contreras and now Sabathia and Burnett. These were some of the premier available pitchers at the time and the Yankees have acquired them all.

posted by dfleming at 12:24 AM on December 27

Ahhh - I don't think Championships are the true measuring stick of a successful franchise. It's about having a chance at the Championship. The playoffs are a crapshoot. And the Yankees do well to put themselves in a competitive position every year in the era of high prices.

And it's not that they don't cultivate talent. they do. Just not a whole lot of it. That's not the primary method of building their ballclub.

But to suggest that there is some magical level playing field where every team has an equal shot, because the champions have varied over the past few years, I think is wishful thinking using selective evidence.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:55 AM on December 27

The Yankees paid a $25 million dollar luxury tax for all of their spending...

I love when people bring up the luxury tax. They paid it (one of only two teams) and then signed the top 3 free agents. It means nothing. In fact, the luxury tax points to just how much revenue they bring in. They pay in taxes almost as much as some teams payroll and it makes no difference to them.

and they are doing nothing wrong here

Well, it's certainly not against the law, and no one's claimed that. Wether it's good for baseball or bad (wrong) is debatable.

at least they're putting the money that they made back into the team. Any baseball fan or sports fan for that matter would love for their teams to do the very same thing so I don't know why people are getting so upset over this.

Getting so upset? We're discussing the link. Ironic that you think others are upset but you HATE the yankees. Why? If not for spending, for their success?

And I don't want to root for a team that spends 70 million more than any other, so your 'any fan' statement is wrong, though certainly it's the majority.

If you root for the archrival of the team that just signed away the player you bid $160 million for, that may color your perception.

I know, from many of the previous Yankee posts he referred to, that's he's a Red Sox fan. Many of us, on this site anyway, are defined by our rooting interests. Why wouldn't I mention in this context?

It's pointless. Either my ideas are right, wrong, or mistaken. You can show me where I'm wrong, or disagree with me. You simply came out with "I believe you're a red sox fan". By your logic every time I say something against the Yankees you're going to say "but you're a red sox fan".

Your other comment was that the red sox were big spenders also. Not anything that can be denied. They're at the top. The Yankees have the 4 biggest contracts in history on their team. The red sox have 0. If you want to say yankees=redsox, we'll agree to disagree.

Really? They've been running this strategy for about ten years and it's bought them one championship so far.

What weedy said. The playoffs ARE a crapshoot where 3 hot pitchers in a short series can nullify a lot of talent. Over a full season, with injuries and a longer schedule, talent and a deeper roster pays dividends.

By the way:

I don't mean to make this sound like a defense of baseball's system. The system's lousy. The Yankees over the last 14 years have spent a half million dollars in payroll more than the Boston Red Sox or any other team (they have spent 1.2 billion more than the Kansas City Royals), and it has paid off, they have made the playoffs 13 of those years, reached the World Series six times and won four. So, money (to some degree) can buy you love.

Money matters.

posted by justgary at 03:05 PM on December 27

There's a difference between can't and won't. There are two schools of business at work; those who believe you make a profit and invest it (or pocket it) and those who believe you invest and then make a profit. Obviously, the Yankees are in the latter group.

So if I'm reading you correctly the Yankees are choosing to run their team this way, while the others could, but choose not to.

That's an idea not based on any kind of reality. No one can compete with the Yankees financially. Some can try, but no one is at their level. And most aren't even close.

The Red Sox have for a while maintained that they can't compete with the Yankees financially. For certain players, for certain needs, yes. But they have to pick their spots. And looking at the history of the new ownership, they've followed that plan pretty well. But even if I'm wrong, and you're right, the sox ownership isn't worried about competing, or the future, they're simply pocketing their revenue (basically what you're saying), you can't apply it the royals, the rays, the twins, or about 20 other teams.

This isn't one team stacking against all others; the Red Sox could apparently afford $20M/season for Teixeira. So could LA, Washington and Baltimore.

In the big picture it's 3 free agents. And it's not only the money, it's the years. 6 years at 20 mil is much different than 8 years at 20 mil.

You can't cry foul at overspending if you have that kind of money to spend. They've made offers to everyone except Sabathia, it seems. They're being one-upped, which means they either undervalue the player's market value or believe no player is worth that.

Or they didn't think it would work financially long term. I'm not sure how you're discounting that. And yes, all those teams were one upped. And if any had gone over what the yankees had offered, the yankees could have gone higher. Again, if you want to believe the Red Sox owners are simply greedy, fine. The other teams can't get in a spending competition with the Yankees. They have to draw the line somewhere, and that somewhere is below the yankees somewhere (not that I believe the Yankees have a somewhere). The fact that the Nationals offered 20 million a year doesn't mean they should offer 25. Over 8 years that's 40 million.

The latter isn't true, as they have offered huge contracts to Manny and Nomar over the years. They're just unwilling to pay what the market is giving them right now. Sucks to be them, but their barrier is self-made.

You're way off the mark here. Neither player signed a contract under the new ownership (since 2002). Nomar wanted more money than the red sox offered and was eventually traded. Manny's contract was liked by the new ownership and he was even put on waivers at one point.

To point to big spending under present day red sox ownership you'd have to look at J.D. Drew (14 mil a year) and Dice-K. New ownership has preached against long term big money contracts, and they've pretty much kept to that thinking.

The Yankees, four highest paid salaries in tow, will pay some significant luxury coin next season. The three big signings tie the Yankees to $423.5 million in guaranteed contracts. According to FanGraphs their real payroll bloats to more than $250 million, ten million per 25-man player. Their alleged big market rivals, the Boston Red Sox, spent $133 million, $5.32 million per 25-man player. With the new stadium revenue (and payment burden safely transferred to the taxpayers), MLB may not be able to control the Yankees with money.

posted by justgary at 03:34 PM on December 27

They're being one-upped, which means they either undervalue the player's market value or believe no player is worth that.

And the market value is being set by the Yankees, the team with the largest revenue. You can see this perfectly in the sabathia signing, where they increased their offer when no one could compete with their first offer. Your statement is the problem in a nutshell.

posted by justgary at 03:42 PM on December 27

I don't know the team salary of the World Series champion Phillies, but they are certainly younger than the probable Yankees lineup.

posted by Newbie Walker at 03:32 AM on December 28

And I don't want to root for a team that spends 70 million more than any other

I'm not telling you who to root for, you can root for whoever the hell you want. The point that I made was that there's a bunch of people all upset for the Yankees spending spree. I made no mention as to who was upset, just that there are some people that are upset over this and being that I'm no Yankees fan, it's surprising that I'm not one of them.

I can respect any team that puts money gained back into their team for the possibility of a playoff berth. People call it "buying a championship" but I beg to differ. I call it smart for business.

posted by BornIcon at 12:28 PM on December 29

Then why are the minor leagues there at all? Why not just restructure baseball like the NFL or the NBA, dependent on a draft, and nothing else? Hell, they play baseball in college, just like basketball and football.

Then, the Yankees could take the money they save on minor league operations, and sign every single baseball player in the world! Sweet!

posted by The_Black_Hand at 09:25 AM on December 30

I've always considered the minor leagues kind of a waste of money. Considering how few players actually rise up through the ranks, it's more of a way to keep baseball active and popular in small towns throughout the country. Some of the rookie and Class A leagues produce practically zero players who see any time at the big league level. And more and more Triple A players seem to be becoming lifetime Triple A players. Division 1 college football is actually the minor league football equivalent. It's also always seemed to be fairly ridiculous for institutions of higher learning to also be football factories. I guess when money is involved, anything can be justified.

posted by dyams at 07:02 PM on December 30

I can respect any team that puts money gained back into their team for the possibility of a playoff berth. People call it "buying a championship" but I beg to differ. I call it smart for business.

You're probably correct. MLB should make a rule that every team should put all profit back into the team.

Everything would change. That means the Yankees would spend more money than the rest of MLB, with only a few teams even close. Oh wait, nothing changed.

Next idea?

posted by justgary at 10:32 PM on December 30

Everything would change. That means the Yankees would spend more money than the rest of MLB, with only a few teams even close. Oh wait, nothing changed.

Next idea?

Good point.

posted by BornIcon at 11:30 AM on January 06

They spent more than the rest of the league last year (and many years before that). What did it mean? Who won the American League? A team from the Central? A team from the West? No. A low-budget team from the same division as the Yankees. The Yankees haven't won the Series, or the American League, for a while now, yet everyone is so worked up. Relax and take a look around. While so many are getting angry, a lot of other teams are winning World Series championships. I seem to remember many folks thinking the Tigers practically had an All-Star team in their daily lineup the beginning of last season. How did that work out for them? The league is full of talent, and a lot of young talent at that. Baseball generally isn't won and lost with big contracts. It's won by play on the field. This season will probably prove the same thing again.

posted by dyams at 05:25 PM on January 06

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