Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Maybe I'll Get Over It; Maybe Not

For years, we Yankee fans were subjected to the ridiculous taunts of, "You bought yourselves a championship". The irony, of course, was that the true Yankee championship teams from 1996-2000 were actually a solid mix of home-grown stars (Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada) and savvy trades (Paul O'Neill, Tino Martinez, Scott Brosius, Chuck Knoblauch). The teams from that era didn't have many big-ticket free agents -- guys like Cone, Wells or even Jimmy Key were mid-tier guys, and none of them was around very long.

It was only with the signing of Jason Giambi after the 2001 season -- the official "Beginning of the End" -- that the Yanks started looking to "buy" their way to World Series wins. Of course, we all know how that has played out over the last eight years. Millions after millions, lavished on such "stars" as A-Rod, Carl Pavano, Kei Igawa, Johnny Damon, Mike Mussina, Gary Sheffield... well, you get the picture.

After this "big money" philosophy crashed and burned the Yankees made a push -- albeit, Yankee-style -- of semi-fiscal responsibility, emphasizing youth, their farm system and weaning themselves off multi-million, multi-year deals. That is, until this month. Until they overpaid for Sabathia for too many years. And then made a mockery of it all by signing Burnett days later. Or at least what I thought was a mockery, until today.

With the signing of Teixeira, the Yankees have now broken all records for conspicuous consumption. It's not enough that we're all in the midst of the worst financial crisis in decades; we're now treated to a spectacle of overpaid athletes chasing the very last dollar -- or million dollars, more exactly -- that their lusty suitors have to offer. "It's the Yankees' money to spend," you say. Meanwhile, the Yankees have the gall to ask the city for more help to pay for their new stadium. Whose money is that they're spending?

But it's not all bad, I'm reading. Jane Heller wrote an excellent piece about this Yankee fan guilt.

The fact that the Yankees do have money and aren’t afraid to lavish it on the people they care about isn’t so wrong, is it? It’s not as if they’ve roped us all into some giant Ponzi scheme and bled our retirement plans dry.

True, but for right now, I am embarrassed. I just hope I'll come around to her side by the time the Lear jets start lining up outside Legends Field for Spring Training.


dpost1 said...

Bottom line: $88 million came off the books at the end of last season. When you add up CC's $23, AJ's $16, Tex's $22.5 and Swisher's $9, you get . . . drum roll please . . . $70.5 million. That means that, even while including the rest of the minor roster filling moves they'll make this winter, the Yanks will end up with a lower payroll in 2009 than in 2008. And none of this takes into account the strong possibility that they will trade away one of their now excess corner outfielders (Matsui, Nady, Swisher)

Plus, by signing Texiera this year (and not say, Matt Holiday next year), they swap losing a 1st round pick for a 3rd round pick. Why? Well, when you sign a type-1 free agent, you lose your top draft pick that year. However, they already signed CC & AJ. Before the Tex signing, Milwaukee was due the Yanks 1 and Toronto their 2. Now, LA gets the Yanks 1, Mil 2 and Tor the 3. If they signed a big guy next year, that would have been next year's 1 as well.

SportsCrank said...

Well, I hear you about "dropping" the payroll. Interesting way to go about it, though -- the 3 highest paid players in baseball will be in the Yankee infield.

As for the draft pick, that's good if it's true. I'll take your word for it that the picks all must occur the same year. But if I'm the Angels, I'm wondering why I'm stuck with a #3 just because the Yanks took Tex and not someone else.

Like I said, I'm feeling pretty uncomfortable now... I'm just hoping I'll get over it.