Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Santa Returns to the Yankee Christmas Tree

It appears that Santa Claus forgot to drop off all of his early Christmas gifts that were ticketed for the Bronx. Less then a week after dropping off two expensive pitchers, Santa returned and dropped off the top hitting prize on the market. The Yankees must have been extra good this year despite missing the playoffs to be rewarded like this.

The Yankees will be bringing in arguably the three top prizes on the free agent market. In a move that nobody saw coming the Yankees were able to pull off a huge coup and steal Mark Teixera from the Red Sox.

The Yankees were always mentioned as being obsererves of the Teixera situation but never really serious contenders. It appeared all winter that Teixera would either be a Red Sox and a nemisis to the Yankees or go to the Nationals and be irrelevant for his career. Instead he chose to follow in the footsteps of his idol Don Mattingly and play in the largest stage in baseball.

Brian Cashman played the 2009 free agent market perfectly. He set the tone on CC Sabathia and let the rest of baseball know that they shouldn't even think about signing the big lefty. He let Sabathia know his level of interest early and show how sincere he was. He then went and paid a visit to the lefty's home and got his wife onboard.

Cashman used a different tactic with Teixera. He met with him early in the offseason where I believe he expressed his interest and asked Teixera to give the Yankees a chance to make an offer before he signed. That was news to his agent Scott Boras as he loves to keep the Yankees hanging around to raise prices. Cashman always denied his interest and the possibility of brining in the young firstbaseman. Cashman kept the price low enough and swoopt in and took him in the last minute.

Now you are going to hear everyone complain about the Yankees spending but in reality their payroll will still be lower or about the same as last years payroll. The Yankees are swimming in money and should not be expected to hold on to it. They bring in a lot of money from the YES Network and the opening of a new stadium. It would be worse if they made this money and didn't put it back into the team. The Yankees only commitment is to their fans who are paying big money to see them play. They must do their best to put the best show on every night for the fans.

The Red Sox fans will complain, but they should only blame their team management. They let 14 million dollars over 8 years stop them from signing a guy they coveted. Tell me if a team worth about a billion dollars (including the Stadium and NESN Network) should really let that stop them from getting a guy they want.

The Red Sox are not done by and large stretch. They are still a team who were a few outs away from a second straight World Series. They will need David Ortiz and Mike Lowell to bounce back from injury plagued years. They will also need Josh Beckett to return to being an ace and see how Jon Lester bounces back from his first full season. If they need to sign someone there are a lot of cheaper guys on the market who can help them: Bobby Abreu, Adam Dunn, Milton Bradley to name a few.

Teixera might not be a top ten guy in the league (a point I have made before) and he might not be worth the money he is getting. But there was no way the Yankees could find a guy of his talent, skills and youth other then Teixera. He does a lot of things very well and the Yankees really couldn't pass on the chance to get him. They have a lot of money off the books this year and next year (Matsui and Damon most notably.) Plus next years free agent class is extrememly weak and the Yankees don't look to be big players in it.

This move is actually a positive for baseball too. Sure it looks bad to have one team spending all that money but now every game the Yankees play will be sold out, at home and on the road. They will bring in more money for visiting teams then they make the rest of the year. The Yankees will also be a must see team and every game on national TV will bring in big audiences.

This move and offseason didn't win the Yankees the World Series or the AL East but they have greatly improved on a third place finish. They will likely be the new favorites to win it all but they still have to play the games in the toughest division in baseball. These moves did show the Yankees will always look to improve the team and how badly they want to win.

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