Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Yankees Buy Teixeira- and are Hammered for Recession Spending

Silent as an owl in flight through the midnight shadows, the Goliath Yankees swooped in and scooped their prey out of the mouth of the waiting Red Sox. Mark Teixeira, joining C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, accepted the green (a reported $180 million over 8 years) as an acceptable reason to try on pinstripes.

This time, the baseball world was blindsided. The chatter among sports reporters suggested that the Yankees were in on Teixeira because they wanted to gently prod his salary northward for the rival Sox, much as Boston had done for Sabathia. But my father made an interesting point yesterday as we discussed the signing:

the Yankees must know that super-agent Scott Boras is always going to check in with them last on his larger clients.


In the wake of the signing, the sports reporters (except the smart ones) have taken the tone of utter disgust with the Yankees for making it rain during a recession. There are several problems with this line of thought:

1) The Yankees are shedding almost $90 million off their payroll with Jason Giambi ($23,428,571), Bobby Abreu and Andy Pettitte($16 million each), Mike Mussina ($11,071,029), Carl Pavano ($11 million) and other smaller contracts that have also been moved along (Latroy Hawkins, Kyle Farnsworth, Wilson Betemit) to the tune of about $10 million.

2) I didn't realize that the Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels were small market teams now...and let's not miss the fact that the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles were terrible last year. Granted, Baltimore has a good young outfield corps, but are they really close to competing? The Nats offered  about the same money as the Yankees did, and indications were that they may have been willing to go an extra year or two on top of what they had on the table. But somehow, if Teixeira had accepted their money, I have a feeling we may have heard some of the same cries we heard when A-Rod accepted Tom Hicks' cash in Texas. It's not like Kansas City had a shot at Teixeira from the get-go.

3) The Yankees pull in  a ton of cash, and the last time I checked, America doesn't like it when the top rungs of large corporations hold onto their cash in a recession either. If we want the Yankees to stop spending, a salary cap is a ridiculous solution. It's bad for the players, and great for the obnoxiously wealthy owners.

Maybe the solution is forcing the Yankees to decrease their revenues. Sounds like socialism, doesn't it? Not that I'm particularly against that...

Ultimately, what we need to accept is that the fans, and reporters, simply don't like the Yankees. The AL East last year was ridiculously talent-stacked, and the Yanks are competing with two teams who are arguably the class of the American League (now that the Angels lost Teixeira, Francisco Rodriguez and Garret Anderson). Did you think they would let themselves finish in third place in the New Yankee Stadium? If any team in baseball besides the Yankees, or the Red Sox, had signed these players the General Manager would be called a genius and their moves would be applauded. Let's just stop the hating. New York is a baseball town, and our owners are willing to invest a lot of the money they make into fielding a product we can be proud of.

And let's be honest, the highest payroll has never guaranteed the Yankees, or anyone else, a championship

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