When does too much become too much?


After Joe e-mailed me the news of the A.J. Burnett signing, I forwarded the confirmation along to my dad, and he and I had a brief e-mail exchange about it.

Dad: Well, it’s hard to know what to say. Don’t you see the sickness of the system?
Me: Yes I do. I hope the Yanks ask for some more tax-free stadium bonds too.
Dad: They don’t make it easy to be a pure fan.

Now, of course, that exchange is dominating by a bit of hyperbole. The Yankees are in reality spending money they have coming off the books, and the stadium construction, which somehow allows them to deduct from their revenue-sharing payments, is actually helping them afford these free agents. (In a poorly-constructed screed,’s Mark Kriegel attempts to explain the Yanks’ economic position here.)

But my dad isn’t the only one unamused with and rather skeptical of the Yankees right now. Cliff Corcoran at the Banter utterly hates this deal (and later explained why.) Jay Jaffe isn’t a fan of this signing either. Even the Marlins’ team president David Samson had some choice words for the Yanks.

I’ll admit it. It’s hard to root for a team that’s simply trying to overwhelm everyone else by throwing money at a baseball problem, and if the Yanks do indeed sign a Manny Ramirez, Mark Teixeira or Adam Dunn to shore up the offense, this will truly be a team of highly-paid (and some may say overly-paid) mercenaries set to debut a ballpark that was built more as a major of revenue than as a true necessity.

But as my dad and I were later saying on the phone to each other, the Yanks aren’t doing anything against the rules. They’re overpaying for the best free agents because they can and because the system allows them to. So they’re willing to spend nearly $250 million on pitchers in a time of a deep recession. So they’re willing to jack up their payroll to astronomical heights. Baseball allows it; what should stop them?

Of course, I’ll root for the Yanks with way more emotion than any rational person would. I’ll continue to take it personally when they lose and continue to be more frustrated with their opponents than the players are. That’s just the nature of fandom. But at the same time, I can’t help but think that a system where the Yanks can toss money at problems may not be the best for the game and may very well be broken. I’m just glad I’m not the person in charge of fixing it.

Categories : Rants


  1. Mike Pop says:

    Great post Ben… Its not as easy as people think being a fan

    • Ben K. says:

      I’m sure some people will disagree, and vehemently at that, with me, but I think it gnaws at people after a little while.

      • Ivan says:

        I understand your point. It’s one of those “morally” stuff that sometimes the yanks do break.

        Hey, I was one those guys that felt that the MLB needs a SC but it will probably neva happen.

        Nevertheless, this ya team and your team is the NY Yankees and they have plenty of money and that’s always been part of their advantage.

        It’s like having that gurl who has some atributes that while it gets ya lil mad, it’s also the reason that draws you near her and no matta what you luv her. That’s the Yankees. Yea sometimes it gets ya lil peev when they just throw money at things but you do like that the yanks have that ability and at the end of the day, that’s your team.

        Overall, very good post Ben K.

      • Jobatheheat says:

        Ben great article. I pretty much have the same argument with my dad. But for me rooting for the Yankees was not a choice. My dad told me my first word was not mom not dad it was Reggie ,after Reggie Jackson. My dad native New Yorker ,Yankee fan forever actually is so sick of how the yanks deal buisness he doesnt care one-tenth how he used to. I always give him the same Yankee argument of at least our owner puts the money back into the club. He always argues back ,our owner still makes great proffit. the other teams owners most of them try to stay even but still come out losing money and most of them could not afford ther entire teams salary of just our top 3 players on our rosters salary just for a year. All that said Im still for a salarycap in baseball but only if ther is a raised minimum to . Some owners might actually act like they have to try.

    • Ivan says:

      You kinda want Hughes in the rotation so it could even it out.

      Two Big FA’s, two young gunners and the homegrown front-line guy.

      I’ll tell ya, they replace Pettitte with Sheets at the 5th spot, im not gonna say I’ll be embarrass but it would be kinda “grimey”

      • Mike Pop says:

        I take Pettite over Sheets. Most likely he will cost less in all situations plus he is Andy Pettite. The 1 year deal is good and lets say if an injury happens and Hughes steps in and pitches well after we win the series Andy can ride into the sunset..

    • celerino says:

      We are the luckiest fans in the world. Sure the tickets are expensive and the beers aren’t cheap, but all that money gets put back into the product. I’m tired of hearing whining form other franchises. It’s not like they are all playing in crumbling stadiums. They are all benefiting from revenue sharing and the luxury tax. If you want people to see a movie, it’s got to be a good movie. If you want people to come to your stadium you have to give them a competitive team . It’s amazing to see what happens when you invest in the product; people buy it.

  2. Dab says:

    how high is the payroll anyway? they toook off 88 mil and added 23 mil dollar in sabathia and a 17 mil in burnett still leaves a difference of 48 mill this year leaving them under them far under the luxury tax. WHERE’S THIS STORY!!!!!!????!!!!

    • Ben K. says:

      Here’s PeteAbe’s take on the payroll. It’ll push $200 mil. And even if it’s less than last year’s figure, that doesn’t make it a low payroll.

      As I said, they’re replacing money coming off the books. But it’s still quite a lot of spending and high-risk spending at that.

    • blee says:

      people always say that professional sports is a business… and it is, and the Yankees will always not only try to win as many games as possible, but also to field the best possible team they can..

      Maybe we shouldnt be scorning the Yankees for having such a SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS and rather scorn companies like GM and Ford for having inefficient and UNSUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES..

    • nick blasioli says:

      you are right…i dont know why they are pissed off….the yankees have holes to fill and they are doing it ,,just like the other teams…in our case ,,,it takes alot of money…so be it…..way to go…get whom ever…

  3. CB says:

    While the Yankees are spending tremendous amounts of money, they are actually using their resources in a very efficient way.

    In the past each marginal win a team like the yankees would acquire would cost around $5.5M. So moving from an 89 win team to a 90 win team is worth $5.5M on the open market in terms of talent acquisition.

    This Winter however, that’s dramatically changed and there’s been a significant price deflation on the market in terms of how much a marginal win costs. So far this winter good teams have been able to acquire marginal wins for $4.8M. That’s a 13% reduction off last off season.

    This is even more true for the yankees. At times in the past they’ve paid $6M per marginal win. At 4.8M that’s a 20% reduction.

    The Burnett signing has enormous risks. But there’s enormous potential gains as well.

    Fangraphs sums this up well:

    For five years and 82.5 million. That’s 16.5 million annually, or paying for 3.3 WAR (on a 4.84 mil/WAR scale). Eric covered the Yankees potential super-rotation yesterday, and it appears the Yankees dreams (and everyone else’s nightmare) is becoming a reality.

    Kudos to Dave for nailing the years/money here, A.J. Burnett is a 3 WAR starter, and he’s being paid as one. This is a buyers market, and the Yankees are absolutely thriving in it. A lot can be said for spending money and a lot more should be said for Brian Cashman and the Yankees paying these free agents exactly what they’re worth. Of course, the Yankees are one of the few teams who can pay what they’re worth, but that might be a market inefficiency within itself.

    They are spending a lot of money. But at the same time they are taking advantage of an apparent market inefficiency.

    That’s sound management. The yankees are relatively liquid in a time when liquidity is a huge problem. They are now able to leverage that advantage in ways which multiply it’s traditional effects.

    • Ben K. says:

      I don’t disagree. This is more of an ideas-y kind of rant about the state of baseball economics.

      • CB says:

        But this same dynamic is unfortunately happening all over the economy. Baseball is no different. Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch for pennies on the dollar because they were larger, more liquid and had stratified their risks better.

        Baseball economics are a tough subject. But what we are seeing now is more about the real economy spilling into baseball in ways we haven’t seen before. Or at least the fear of the real economy spilling into baseball in ways we haven’t seen before.

        Ty Wigginton gets non-tendered. When would that ever have happened before?

      • Old Ranger says:

        One thing we have missed (or not stated) is the Yankees farsightedness. In the winter of 2007, I believe they had a discerning and accurate view of the market for this winter, saw what might be available and the money coming off the books. At that juncture, they decided to struggle one year to enhance their monetary and player availability position…very good business.
        Taking into account the money available, it is almost unfair for most of the other teams from an economics, and risk factor. The same will be true next year, they will go after the best OF on the market (that fits their needs) and most likely end up with him. After all, they will pass on Matsui, Johnny, Andy, X-Man and (depending on Cervellis’ progress) even Molina…that is what, about $40+mm? We all know the name of the game; “Show me the Money”, and it has come to pass. 27/09.

      • ChrisS says:

        One idea I’ve seen floated from time to time is that sports franchises should be converted to public trusts like the Green Bay Packers. Instead of using eminent domain to seize property (see Rangers, Texas and Arlington Stadium) and shady public financing (Yankees, New York) for private gain, sports franchises could be used to increase the value of the area and as a revenue stream. Granted there’s a whole different set of problems with the public trust approach, but it’s an interesting idea.

        The Yankees are sucking in money and the new stadium does not much for the public, but is worth billions to the Steinbrenner clan. And billions more should they ever sell the team

        As for a salary cap, the owners still make tons more money off the game than player do, regardless of how much A-Rod or CC get paid. There’s a long line of people interested in buying a ML sports franchise.

  4. Mike Pop says:

    Now Ben do you think they go out and get another FA like one of the bats you mentioned ? You think the Yanks end up signing Manny right ? I beleive I have read something that has you saying that

  5. Dab says:

    blah, blah blah, ben. most of that’s dependent on a Cameron signing that we both know shouldn’t and almost can’t happen. Starting pitching has always been the missing piece. Fuck the money. We haven’t spent anything. Minus Cameron we’re under 200 mill and we’re a nasty mutah f’n team. We’re done. Nothing else is needed.

  6. Yankees=warriors says:

    Agreed. I was hoping the rumors were false, but…
    I just hope these signings all work out, or it’ll only look uglier after another few ringless years.

  7. Dab says:

    Pettite will retire by X-Mas. AJ and CC spontaneous ecstasy.

  8. headstand says:

    I didn’t hear any of this from anyone when the Sox got DiceK and I’m sure I wont hear a peep out of any other fans when they spend 200 million on Texeira.

  9. 65hughes says:

    well with yankees being so speding were they should not be spending then ” Big Three ” car companies are going to the Yankees for a bailout.

  10. MikeD says:

    Huh? I come to a Yankee blog after they sign one of the best pitchers around and I get this? This is FANTASTIC. Enjoy being a Yankee fan.

    • Ben K. says:

      I’m not quite sure what your point is here…

      I never realized that one of the criteria of being a Yankee fan or blogger was blind allegiance to the team and the inability to think critically about the economic structure of baseball.

      • 65hughes says:

        you want they yankees to win the world series MikeD then they should go to the old ways when they use to produce their own players not like in the early 2000′s when they got greedy and started to throw up in the air and sign dumb players their own success brought them to their own downfall

        • Mike Pop says:

          YOu want to produce our own players ? Yet you want to go get Peavy which would take our own players away from us.

          • 65hughes says:

            yes your right but still if the yanks would of produce thier own players and drafting right like when the did it the mid 90′s i dont think we would be talking about the burnetts, cc’s, peavy’s and teixieras of the world

        • AndrewYF says:

          Did you know the Yankees signed David Cone as a 33 year old pitcher? They also signed David Wells a year later, at the age of 34. Then they traded him for an even better, and even higher-paid pitcher in Roger Clemens. Imagine how you would have panned these moves had they happened today.

          Last time I checked, the Yankees wouldn’t be winning many championships without those high-profile free agent signings.

          You want a team that primarily builds from within? Root for the A’s, and have fun with a firesale every other year. Yes, Billy Beane has done a great job building groups of highly-regarded young players at a pittance, but I have a feeling you’d be ten times as frustrated with that approach as you are with this current one.

          • 65hughes says:

            thats not fair though the a’s dont have the same resources that yanks have and i think you would i agree with that if the a’s could of kept that talent they would of made at least one ws appearance and also look at the rays i dont a player winning around 20 mil

          • justin says:

            The Cone signing reminds me a lot of the Burnett signing…just not as cheap.

        • AndrewYF says:

          I want to know the definition of a “pure fan”. I wonder if anyone who rooted for the ’77 and ’78 team was a “pure fan”.

          The Yankees have every right to use their history to have a huge payroll. Steinbrenner poured more money into the team than I think we could ever know, and he has been reaping the rewards for decades.

          Other owners should try it.

          • Ben K. says:

            That’s not a comment about who’s been rooting for the Yanks longer and more a comment about just rooting for the team for the sake of baseball. It’s tough to ignore the economic impact of the game. You’re getting rather defensive about it.

            • AndrewYF says:

              What I’m getting defensive about is being classified as an ‘unpure’ fan just because I don’t see this as a negative.

              Maybe the ‘pure’ fans are the ones who see an extremely successful business model, and are more than happy when one team continues to break the mold, benefiting both the game and players.

              In any case, I can still see a game at the stadium for $14. That’s fantastic.

      • RC says:

        is the economic structure of baseball different from any other entertainment industry?
        How do baseball salaries compare to top earning actors? best selling authors?

        I will give the Yanks credit for putting their money into the team.

        For years I was a die hard Phillies fan but my son made me a Yankees fan. It was fustrating to see the Phils not put the money their owners had into the team and to play in the largest single market in the country and cry poor.
        Yes I know they won the WS this year but what will happen when they have to pay Howard big $$? Last off season they needed a 3rd baseman and a right handed power bat but immediatley said they were not interested in A-Rod.
        This is not meant to be a tirade against the Phils but I think Schilling was rght when he said the ownership should put the same effort into winning the players do.
        The nice thing about being a Yankees fan is I think the ownership wants to win as much as the players and fans do.

      • MikeD says:

        Thankfully I didn’t write my first thought: Waaaaaaaa! : -)

        Ben K, seriously, I’m not sure if this is a blog posting about the economics of baseball or how the Yankees go about doing their business. To some, perhaps, it’s the same.

        I don’t know how old your father is, but I know I’m certainly closer to his age than yours since I’m in my 40s. I mention that because I came of age, in the baseball sense, with the start of free agency, and have listened to Yankee haters all my life complain (whine) about how the Yankees are buying championships. They whined when the Yankees signed Reggie Jackson and Goose Goosage. Yet they’ll never acknowledge how all the other players appeared on the Yankees roster, from the minor leagues to trades. No team can win consistently without using all three elements and using them intelligently. The problem the Yankees got into in the 1980s, and again in early 2000s, was they allowed their farm system to die at the expense of signing second-tier free agents. Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright were never viewed as top-flight pitchers. It was Andy Hawkins all over again. (Actually, in the 1980s, the Yankees did just about everything wrong. Signed bad free agents, traded away good young talent, and made bad deals.)

        There’s a big difference between signing a Reggie or a Goose than there is a Dave Collins or a Jaret Wright. CC and AJ (hmmmm, we’ve got a CC an AJ a Joba and a Wang). Going after quality free agents is what made the late 70s teams successful. It’s also what made the late 90s teams successful. I approve of both CC and AJ because they are top-tier pitchers. I know AJ has had some durability issues, and I’m figuring he’s not going to give us 220 innings, but I’ll take 175, and most importantly, I’ll take CC, AJ and Joba in the playoffs. We’ve been missing those type of quality power arms that miss bats and shut down the opposition. We have them back.

        It’s critical, though, that the sign Pettitte and not Sheets. If Joba is at 25 starts and 150 IPs, and AJ does 28 and 170, we need Pettitte to join CC and Wang at the 200 inning level. And best of all, we still have Hughes and IPK as our fall backs to make those other starts. No more Rasners and Ponsons.

        I said it last night, and I’ll say it again. Fantastic!

    • Mike Pop says:

      Brass Monkey

    • tony says:

      I couldn’y have said it better myself


  11. 65hughes says:

    i cant stop laughing yankee haters have become insane by the minute

  12. Reggie C. says:

    At no point do I feel anything related to or possibly construed as guilt or shame for having signed the two top free agent starters. If we didn’t spend the money and didn’t sign the top FAs and fell short of playoffs, I GUARANTEE kravich and kruk would’ve been leading the commentary of how the org. got cheap and didn’t spend all that money that had come off the books.

    Of course, we run the practical risk of missing the playoffs … nobody will argue that. But at least we’re improved right now, and today is a good day to be a Yankee fan as long as you can appreciate the moment.

  13. R. Arnold says:

    “I’ll continue to take it personally when they lose and continue to be more frustrated with their opponents than the players are.”

    Man I was glad to read that. I really can’t stand seeing any of them give a ‘bro hug’ to any member of those douc*e bags in Boston. Especially after putting up with the relentless media bias that has taken off since ’04!

    It’s like seeing your wife kiss the High School bully.

  14. Lanny says:

    Great post. We should all feel guilty because we have the team with the most resources and most money of any team. Booo hooooo.

    Build a bridge and get over it. We’ve had the highest payroll since 1920.

    If you feel guilty root for the Royals. You can then be a “pure fan”

  15. VO says:

    The only reason that any other team has a problem with the Yankees spending this much is because they can’t, if the Yankees decided not to spend big this offseason then we would get criticized for cheaping out, now who gives a crap what is coming out of the Steinbrenners pockets, does it make you lose sleep at night? are you losing anything from this? the answer is. NO, yea i no wut ur thinking lets make an argument and say well the ticket prices are outrageous, but thats what you get when you have a good team, say you go see a concert is it going to be the same price ticket for every concert? NO the better the concert the more you pay, the yankees arent doing anything wrong and are being criticzed unfairly

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

      “The only reason that any other team has a problem with the Yankees spending this much is because they can’t won’t…”


  16. mustang says:

    I liked the thread, but the problem here is not the Yankees it’s baseball. The last time I checked the Yankees are one team out of 30.

    • Ben K. says:

      Well, yes. That’s my point. The Yanks aren’t doing anything outside of the system, and as my dad said, it’s that system that’s broken.

      • AndrewYF says:

        What did your dad feel about the advent of free agency? Did he think that it was improper for the Yankees to give athletes million dollar contracts?

        • Ben K. says:

          I don’t quite think that’s my point. I’m not saying the Yanks shouldn’t be taking advantage of a system that works in their favor.

        • Wayne's World says:

          Andrew, Ben’s dad felt that free agency was long overdue…that addressed an unjustifiable lack of balance between ownership and workers….that’s a separate matter from an economic system that now allows teams in population centers and wealthy media markets (which is no coincidence) to dominate the market for high priced free agents and throw off the competitive balance in the sport. I’m not suggesting wage limits for the players; the problem can be addressed in the way that Major League Baseball, much to the displeasure of the large teams, has handled the internet rights to baseball–by giving every team an equal share.

          A separate point relates to the question of how much sheer joy a fan can obtain by having a team that stacks the deck simply because it has the money to do so. Sure, the Yankees have been doing that, to one degree or another, since the advent of free agency. But it still undeniably diminishes the accomplishment of being the last team standing at the end of the season. Buying the championship is just not the same thing as earning it. Who gets more satisfaction from great art? Is it the person who creates it or the person who pays a fortune to buy it?

          As I’ve said before, the satisfaction derived from the late 90′s Yankees teams which consisted MAINLY (though not exclusively) of homegrown players was without parallel
          in my 50 years of being a Yankee fan. For so many years before that, the Yanks tried to fix their problems exclusively via free agency. Besides rarely working, it always felt hollow.

          • tony says:

            My joy comes from seeing the best possible team on the field. I actually enjoy stacking the deck. The Yankees should have the best players – no matter what it takes to get them.

            And why shouldn’t the population centers have a better team – more people will garner enjoyment.

            Take some time to look across the ocean – there are some worldclass teams – Man u, Chelsea ETC. The Yankees are the priemeir team here & that should never change – no matter how we have to do it.


  17. dan says:

    Will CC and Burnett have individual press conferences, or they’ll have both players at the same one?

  18. Jake K. says:

    Great post, really thoughtful and heartfelt. Unfortunately, some people, including some posters on this thread, are only willing to see things in black and white. Sometimes, there are shades of gray.

    But, I have to admit, my greatest concern about the money the Yanks are throwing around this winter is whether or not they are even spending it in the right places. I think Tex (like Beltran a few years ago) is a player they actually need (as was CC). Burnett is a player they talked themselves into.

  19. dan says:

    What happened to the Org. Depth Chart?

  20. BigBlueAL says:

    Guys, the Yankees have been doing this since Free-Agency began. I mean the 1977-78 teams consisted of the 3 biggest FA signings of the time in Catfish, Reggie and Goose. I think this would be really ridiculous if as people have mentioned it wouldve pushed the payroll from what it was last year to insane levels reaching 250 million or so. The fact their payroll will be the same, if not a bit lower, and be even lower after next season when guys like Damon, Matsui, Nady and assuming Cameron and Pettitte if he re-signs are Yankees in 2009, makes all this spending necessary and smart.

    One last thing, please STOP comparing Burnett to Pavano. As pitchers it is no comparison, as Keith Law said in his chat, Burnett is a MUCH better pitcher period. Burnett has only missed 1 season in its entirety basically in 2003. He is injury prone much like Beckett was in terms of not missing entire seasons but missing weeks here and there, but heck those seasons make what Pavano gave us Cy Young like.

    Oh and before you mock the comparison, check out Beckett’s innings pitched totals for his career. Heck his career ERA+ of 116 is barely better than Burnett’s 111. Obviously I would rather have Beckett please dont get me wrong, but who is not to say that as Al Leiter mentioned during one of the broadcasts this year that Burnett hasnt turned the corner in his career?? Plus the lack of innings so far in his career might actually help him now during this phase of his career because he sure as heck aint overworked.

    We are all Yankees fans here, lets stop worrying about the money being spent and enjoy the fact that our owners spend money and try to improve the team so us fans can enjoy a great product…..

  21. Paul says:

    How did the Yankees over pay for Burnett when the Braves offered the same deal? Anyone who has ever seen Burnett pitch would never think Lowe is a better bet. Lowe was a below average pitcher in the AL East and put up good numbers in the NL West a typical pitchers divsion. Also they told Pettite to take a huge pay cut. Other than CC, they are in line with the rest of the league. Tell your dad to get a clue.

    • Jake K. says:

      “Tell your dad to get a clue.” Classy.

    • Marcus says:

      Burnett has gone from a Yankee killer to a Boston bruiser.

      Anyone who watches the Yankees knows Burnett just tears through the AL East. It’s like an automatic loss.

      He just likes setting career highs against us. Now he can do it for us.

    • Remember though, that Lowe was not the same pitcher back then – he had only been starting full-time for a few years, and since that time, he has become a much different (i.e. better) pitcher. However, I do think he would have been a better investment over the course of a long-term deal, and Pettitte still makes sense too.

    • andrew says:

      and all of atlanta was happy that the yankees outbid the braves because they felt 80million was overpaying…

  22. Ben,

    You’re playing journalist a bit too much here. Every time I brought up the idea of a cost-controlled club with a more reasonable payroll, you shot me down with the fact that the Yanks have a lot of money to spend, and would be a wasted resource if they didn’t. Now you seem to be playing for the other side. What gives?

    • Ben K. says:

      Not quite. I don’t think the Yanks should pursue a cost-controlled club with a reasonable (to you) payroll for some moral reason. If they can spend the money, they should (although whether or not A.J. is money well spent is up for debate). I’m happy to embrace the Yanks’ spending ways because, after all, it is the easiest way to improve the team.

      But I can see why the teams like the Marlins that don’t have access to unlimited revenue streams and have to deal with the realities of a bad economy may not like it. It’s a systematic problem with baseball if the powers-that-be care about keeping something of a level playing field. But for now, as with the Red Sox and the Mets and any other team that can, if they have the money to spend, they should do so.

      • leo says:

        However it’s easy to dismiss the whines of the Marlins out of hand when you consider their ownership purposefully spends as little as possible. This guy works directly for Jeffrey Loria, who is a renown scum and overall cheap owner. Even if the Yankees weren’t spending money Florida wouldn’t be out there doing signing anyone.

        In fact Samson has whined before and will always whine about big contracts. If you don’t like working within Jeffrey Loria’s boundaries go find a new job–it’s been his MO forever to not spend money.

        • Brad says:

          Samson is Loria’s son-in-law. He’s not going anywhere. He’s nothing but a spoiled little brat who gets upset when other owners spend money because it’ll cut into his inheritance.

          Loria is by far the worst owner in baseball. He’s already ruined one franchise, and, thanks to Selig’s overwhelming desire to get John Henry the Red Sox, he’s working on #2.

      • I wouldn’t say they are ‘overwhelming’ anybody either, the fact that the rotation had two FAs and a ton of question marks is enough to justify these two signings. Adding Lowe would be overkill, though.

        Offensively, they should be above-average, but once again, this organization is proof that money doesn’t buy championships, so why not let them do whatever is ethical and practical in their minds? I know you reverted back to that thinking towards the end of the post, but I don’t really understand why you conceded anything towards the balanced-market philosophy. If the Marlins can’t get people to show up to the ballpark, that’s their own problem, not the Yankees’. They deserve no right to call this club an empirical monster; this is not a communist country last time I checked.

  23. 65hughes says:

    pop you must love burnett up the ass if your betting me that peavy will end up in the dl before him

  24. Mike A. says:

    What is the solution though? A salary cap would just put more money in the owner’s pockets, that’s it. And you know the owner’s aren’t going to use that money to do anything constructive, they’re not going to build parks or fix potholes or develop a clean and efficient energy source, they’ll stick it in a trust fund for the their kid’s kid’s kid.

    The solution will not be an easy one, maybe jack up the luxury tax percentage (to say 60%) and lower the threshold (to say $100M)? If you create a cap, then you need to have a floor as well.

    • Exactly, the luxury tax as it is is effectively useless. Teams like the Red Sox and Yankees can do their business regardless, and the low-market teams still don’t stand a chance on the big free agents. I really don’t want MLB to turn into the NFL, where every team has roughly equal amounts of cash at its disposal. It’s closer to the NBA in the present.

      • leo says:

        Baseball has a ton of parity, and it’s really only the worst organizations that continually stay bad. It looks different because of the lack of playoff teams but think about all the different teams that have made them and gone to/won the World Series lately. Even the Marlins with their awful ownership remain competitive and won that WS recently because of their very good front office work.

        Teams like KC, Baltimore and Pittsburgh are stuck where they are because they had very badly run organizations for a long time. Baltimore is getting its act together now though, and Pittsburgh firing Littlefield has already made a huge difference.

        • Ever since baseball has distanced itself from the Steroids Era, the number of small-market teams getting into the postseason has increased dramatically. I mean, it used to be Atlanta/NY/Cleveland in the deep postseason, and now, even the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels and perhaps the Mets and Cubs haven’t shown sustainability from year to year. I think it is much better than it was say ten years back.

          I don’t know what kind of tone that came out to be, but just wanted to say that you made some good points Leo.

      • Ivan says:

        Well if their was a cap in MLB, it would be the one similar in the NBA or the NHL. NFL is sorta unique in it’s own way to have a cap construtive like they have.

        Luxury Taxes really are overrated anyway.

    • 65hughes says:

      soccer is starting to turn like mlb in regards of money everybody is mad because teams like madrid chelsea and barca are jacking up the prices for the players

  25. The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

    Ben – Totally respect your opinion and I get the point of your post. A question for you though: Do you think your feeling (that the system is broken and that the Yankees are able to throw money at problems and it’s unfortunate) is affected by your lack of enthusiasm for AJ Burnett and the deal the Yankees are giving him? Just seems curious that this post comes up a few hours after we found out about the Yankees making a deal you didn’t support. If this was a player you liked more and a deal you were more excited about, do you think you’d have the same feelings about the state of baseball?

    Do you think there should be a salary cap? If the system is “broken,” how do you think it could be fixed?

    Ok so it was more than one question. My bad. Moo Moo.

    • Ben K. says:

      I’d like to think my opinion isn’t informed by A.J., but it could be. It’s just not good for the game overall when the Yanks are outbidding everyone by $61 million for Sabathia and can then throw over $16 million a year at a 32-year-old with a history of injury. Money doesn’t buy championships and smart teams should be able to develop from within, but that’s not a very equitable system.

      As a side note though, in every instance since 2004 — except for 2005 when the difference was about $1 million — the team with the higher payroll has won the World Series. Spending the most money might not get you there, but spending a lot of money seems to work.

      I have no fix. I punted that one in the last line of the post.

      • leo says:

        Regarding Burnett the Braves did offer up a contract that was only a few million less so I don’t know if he’s a good example. In fact, this whole offseason might not be a good example as owners everywhere are telling their GMs to slash payroll. Ty Wigginton was non-tendered because Drayton McLane wants the payroll cut by $20 million or more, so in this case it’s more of a situation where the Yankees are simply not going to be affected by the economy (or don’t think they will be) as much as other teams expect to be.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

        Meh. I just had a bunch of stuff written about how Sabathia’s contract is similar to Santana’s and how there was a competitive bid for Burnett and yadda yadda zzzzzzzz. In the end, I agree that it sucks for fans of small market teams that their teams can’t (or “won’t”… let’s go with “don’t”) compete financially with the Yankees. But hey, it sucks for the Yankees that they have to convince some players to come to NYC because of NYC’s reputation and the media and all that (so they overpay to cover that stuff up), and it sucks for the Jays that they have to convince players to come to Canada, and it sucks for the rest of baseball that the FL teams have an advantage because there’s no income tax in FL, and it sucks that the Twins and Royals have INSANELY rich owners yet we still have to pity them like they’re the red-headed stepchildren because those owners pocket revenue sharing and luxury tax funds and don’t invest in their teams. Say lah vee.

  26. Phil McCracken says:

    And how again is this is different from when Boston overpaid 103M on DiceK, 36M on Julio Lugo, and 70M on JD Drew all in 1 year?

    • Ben K. says:

      It’s definitely not. The Red Sox have the second highest payroll in the game. That doesn’t exempt them from the same criticism. Although the same conditions apply. If they have the money and the system doesn’t prevent them from spending it, they should spend it.

    • 65hughes says:

      because its boston everyone has the yankees as the big spenders just becasue the have the most money and a hated owner

  27. If anyone cares, Ty Wigginton was just non-tendered by Houston, perhaps Baltimore will add him.

  28. Anyone who went to bed at the wee hour of 2:50, @#$@#^$^ YOU!!!!!

    Discussion lives on!

  29. Infamous says:

    I extremely disagree on that post. So because our ownership puts pretty much everything back into our team it makes it harder to be a fan??? I am thankful for the steinbrenners and they are doing nothing wrong.

  30. carlo says:

    for me it’s not about throwing money around. It’s all about winning… It’s about giving back what the fans payed for… What do you guys want the Yankees brass do? Pocket all these money? The small markets will always have their own take but let’s face it, New York is different and Yankees are different… So to all the other team owners and GMs that are bitching about this… put people in your seats… do better in marketing your teams… build your own EMPIRES so you have the money to spend like the Yankees do… that is… if you won’t pocket it and ran away…..

    • whozat says:

      You have only to look at last season to know that he’s wrong. They had guys who’ve been durable, guys who are young…and they wound up having to go outside the organization for a 10th and 11th starter.

      Given Joba’s innings limit, AJ’s expected DL stint, the fact that Wang is coming back from missing most of a season, and even CC’s workload over the last two years, I would be very, very surprised if there were not significant opportunities for one or more of Hughes, Kennedy and co even WITH Pettitte on board.

      And, besides…it’s not like they both don’t have legit things they need to work on. Kennedy’s FB command and his secondary offspeed stuff need work against hitters more advanced than winter ball guys, and Hughes could certainly benefit from more time building confidence in his cutter.

  31. Rory says:

    The idea of a sports mercenary. This is an odd concept to me. People frequently bash players for signing large contracts with teams in free agents, saying that the only reason that they went to that team was because of the money. Well, yeah, players frequently go to the team that’s willing to pay the most. What I don’t understand, is why this standard is held only to free agents. They are giving up other parts of life and are prioritizing money. Going to a new place means you can’t be sure of how you will like it. Every player likes the idea of playing close to home, and so it is a regular topic as to whether a free agent would give a hometown discount to play closer to home. Usually, the case is no. We actually had a situation recently that this came into play, however, with CC Sabathia. It was widely noted that he had a strong desire to pitch in his home state of California, and that the Yankees only pulled him away with the largest pitcher contract in history. What I would like to call into question, is the double standard that keeps other players from being held to this scrutiny. Players have several chances to dictate their destination. Before they are drafted, especially those that are particularly well regarded, have discussions with teams that are interested in them. At that point, they have the option of telling teams that they are only interested in signing with X team, and will otherwise go to college. They can do this a couple of times before they run out of college eligibility.
    Players have the ability to forego signing an extension that buys out their first few years of free agency. Players also have the ability to not sign an extension with the team that they have just been traded to. These are three ways that players can manipulate their career paths besides free agency, and whose decisions don’t get scrutinized nearly to the same degree. The reason is because the money is so much more extravagant in free agency, and there is more direct control.
    Let’s look at some examples. A free agent takes several things into account, and weighs the factors according to his priorities; money, length(stability), family, winning, and location. Going into a deal with a new team, a free agent can only KNOW a couple of these, the money, and the length. Because they have not previously played/lived in that environment, they cannot know how they will like living there. They are educated guesses, at best.
    All of these factors are somewhat true of draftees. They likely have not lived in any of the cities that they will call home in their move through the minors and then in the majors, however, because they want to do what is best for their career, they typically sign with the team that drafts them, unless they have a strong commitment to a school.
    A player that has just been traded to a new team, also does not know how he will like his new location, but he will often sign an extension with the new team right away. They do it for the money, and the security. Knowing that they will be paid even if they get injured.
    Josh Beckett signed and extension with the Red Sox just a couple of months after they traded for him, giving up the first couple of years of free agency. Johan Santana signed a massive extension with the Mets before he would allow them to trade for him. Evan Longoria signed an extension buying out past his arbitration years before he had completed half a month with the Rays. None of these guys could really know what it would be like in the next several years with their teams, but they were happy to take that risk for the money that they were being guaranteed.
    Really, we talk about loyalty of a free agent to his previous team, but we don’t talk about the loyalty of a traded player. If a player is truly loyal to a team before he gets traded, then why isn’t he more upset? Why is he immediately signing a long term contract with the new team? It’s probably because the traded player didn’t really care about where he was playing more than the free agent player does. He’s more concerned about how much he is guaranteed to be paid. Really, unless a player is exactly where he would like to be playing, then should he not be considered a mercenary? The term is both too easily used and too restricted in its use. Because if a free agent looking out for his bank account signs with the highest bidder, while foregoing the possible comfort of another place is considered a mercenary, then so too shouldn’t a player who is under team control for another year or two, but decides that he would prefer the security of having guaranteed money over the freedom to choose exactly where he would like to play. Both of these moves are valuing money over other parts of the situation. If a free agent is a mercenary, then so too, are these other players.
    I, however, would lean more to the side that the word mercenary is thrown around too often. These people are making advantageous business decisions concerning something that is their job. In the real world, this is called a promotion. You’ve been working for company A for five years. You’ve improved drastically while with company A, and you’re happy there. However, you’ve just realized that company B has an opening for somebody with your skill set, and is willing to pay substantially more. How could you possibly be blamed for taking more money to do the same job. It’s called capitalism, and that’s an ideal that this country has literally sent men off to die in order to protect/enforce. I guess it just stems from the hope of fans that baseball players are still fans, too, with irrational emotions deeply involved. That just isn’t usually the case, though. The majority of players don’t get to play for the team they grew up idolizing, and especially not their first team. Once they’re there, it’s a job. If a free agent is a mercenary, then they all are. We’re only kidding ourselves.

    • Old Ranger says:

      Damn long commentary, damn good commentary, very well thought out. Every action produces a reaction. Every trade produces a ripple effect throughout a team and sometimes the league. Right on about the mercenary tendencies of most players also the capitalistic way of doing business…the two mesh well…what a country, the best in the world!!?!! 27/09.

  32. pat says:

    Ben u should have waited until AFTER we sign teixeira to post this.

  33. Teaman says:

    Sure, it is unseemly for the Yankees to be throwing around so many millions while the country is in a recession, 700 billion dollars are printed and ‘invested’ (given) to various financial institutions and the U.S. auto makers, with many people having already or about to lose their jobs. I get it.

    But, did you see where Warren Buffett sold a Berkshire Hathaway insurance subsidiary to Met Life where the top 5 execs’ total compensation for 2008 were Mr. Giambi ($28.5m), Mr. Abreu ($16m), Mr. Mussina ($12m), Mr. Pavano ($11m), and Mr. Cabrera ($1m)? Then Buffett got Mr. Pettitte in Corporate HR to take a pay cut from $16m to $10m. Thus, Buffett engineered a total payroll reduction of $74.5 million for the 5 management types, plus the HR guy.

    The Sage of Omaha thereupon bought a different company from IBM where the 5 top execs’ comp for 2009 will be Mr. Sabathia ($23m), Mr. Burnett ($16.5m), Mr. Cameron ($10m), Mr. Swisher ($5.3m), and Mr. Nady ($4.5m), for a total of $59.3 million. The two transactions resulted in a net savings as to the 5 top execs and the personnel guy of $15.2m.

    I’m told that Berkshire Hathaway (Buffett) also just built a new facility that was expected to generate significantly more revenue in 2009 than the old facility generated in 2008, So they plan on hiring either Mr. Teixeira or Mr. Mannybeingmanny for $25m in 2009, expecting the 2009 comp plus perquisites for either of those two corporate execs to be fully offset by the increase in ’09 revenues as compared to ’08. Further, Berkshire’s contribution to the membership organization to which it belongs will be significantly less in ’09 than it was in ’08, due to some strange provision in the organization’s by-laws concerning assessments in the year a member builds a new facility.

    Gee, that Buffett is one heck of a good businessman.

  34. VOIII says:

    Great Post…However, one must remember that it is rare that the Yankees set the market. It was the Whitesox thet broke barriers with Albert Belle, Then the Dodgers with Kevin Brown and the Rangers with A-Rod…How about the Redsox with Matzusaka? Yes they overpaid for CC but they had to in order to coax him away from his beloved west coast and the NL where he didn’t have to face the DH etc…

    As for Burnett…The opt-out clauses that other organizations foolishly add to contracts has given these guys more opertunity for greed…The Yankees just capitalized on the situation and were only 2.5 million over the next bidder.

    Every one of the Major sports even with salary caps has a big spender/evil doer…

    In MLB it’s the Yankees of course, in the NFL it’s the Cowboys who seem to find ways to lure every major F/A while somehow staying under the cap. HMMM…The NBA it’s the Lakers, although some may argue it’s the Knicks…NHL it’s the Rangers throwing suit cases full of money around…

    The Yankees have dominated the sport for almost 90 years and have always had the advantage of playing in the center of the universe…Their geography and history give them advantages that others do not have, that is a fact that will not change even with a salary cap. I would not ever condemn an owner who gives so much back to the team and their fans…One who realizes that they are in the entertainment business and in order to thrive you need to sell a product that everyone wants to see regardless of whether one roots for, or against them.

    Having a Goliath that the Davids of the world can slay is good for the sport. It’s good for all of the sports…

  35. Steve says:

    Its funny, people complain when the Yanks outbid everyone on free agents, but nobody seems to mind when they take some overpaid vet off another team’s roster, allowing that GM to get rid of a mistake that would tie his hands otherwise. If you were the GM who got rid of Kevin Brown, Bobby Abreu, Nick Swisher then you love the Yanks ability to spend money. They’re like the pawn shop of baseball.

    A salary cap would make salary dump deals impossible, and then fans of those cities would have to live with their GM’s mistakes. The Texas Rangers would still be hamstrung with A-Rod’s contract and wouldn’t be poised to compete as they are today. The Florida Marlins and Padres would either be out of business or had to move by now.

    This stuff goes both ways, people.

  36. Steve S says:

    The stadium issue aside baseball economics are fine and this system that everyone is complaining about is the one that all these teams agreed to. And none of them will have an issue with it if AJ or CC completely flop. In 2002 when they revamped the collective bargaining agreement, it was clear that the goal of that CB was to stop the Yankees from spending. They included a threshold payroll amount that only the Yankees had surpassed at that point. They allow for excessive revenue sharing, whereby the Yankees, regardless of what they spend, will have t subsidize all of lower market teams.

  37. Ace says:

    This is the root of the problem…

    The Revenue Sharing Rules Need a Change

    Baseball doesn’t force revenue sharing recipients to use the money on payroll. All that is required is that the team use the money to “improve the product on the field.” No one has even tried to define the meaning of “improve the product on the field.” Moreover, there are not any substantial reporting requirements or other measures of accountability in the system. Teams get the money and simply use it as they please. Some spend it on payroll and watch their teams improve while others pocket the cash and watch their teams continue to perform poorly.

    So long as the rules remain lax and enforcement non-existent, teams will be able to take advantage of the system.

  38. dkidd says:

    this is a fantastic post! i love how many people immediately go to the “why should i feel guilty” place, which of course means they’re fighting back feelings of guilt.

    on the playing field, the “bigness” of the yankees is a major reason i love them so much. i love that we play in the biggest market and face the greatest pressure year after year. i love that red sox fans hate us more than they love their own team. i love that many players can’t hack it here. i’ll take the downside to this, which is the slightly icky feeling that occurs when we spend 80 millions dollars on a guy i just don’t like that much.

    however, being a thinking human being means allowing as much as possible into your emotional equation. the yankees didn’t invent capitalism, but they’ve played the system to screw over the south bronx (where something like 1 in 3 kids has asthma) and that makes me, someone who can’t help but personally identify with my team, feel really sad.

  39. Hawkins44 says:

    I agree with everything said (for the most part) the things that we Yankee fans have to keep in mind:

    1) when the Yankees are relevant, baseball is relevant, the Red Sox are “more” relevant….when the Yankees are terrible…. baseballs overall appeal decreases. Billy Beane has always praised the Yankees for driving a brand that allows them to financially succeed, and that in turn, pulls more money through for the rest of the teams out there. MLB is NOT the NFL so their financial model, in my opinion, would lower the financial value and appeal of the sport. That in turn equals “NFL hockey” niche RAB, no leading story on sportscenter, no Buster Olney…..
    2) The team with the highest payroll doesn’t equate to World Championships. The Rays kicked our ass last year…. and unless they plan on lowering the price of the seat in the new Yankee Stadium to 25 bucks, I WANT to see great talent, I’m paying to see great Talent…the world comes to the “big ballpark”. The real crime would be if they weren’t investing in the product because that would mean their balance sheet would be egregiously soaked in black.
    3) Our dads get upset about these signings because they grew up in a different era (right or wrong). They grew up in a era when the owners basically had carte blanche over the financial system and used that power to screw the players. Make sure you remind them that the playing field back then was just as corrupt… the Yankees would fleece the Royals EVERY YEAR to bring great, young talent to NY by giving the OWNER cash (not the great player). Nothing has changed, it’s just more in your face now when you watch sports TV…people care now, they didn’t in the 50′s….

    This has been a great week… we now have a chance to compete with the Rays and Sox…because don’t kid yourself, with Tex the Red Sox are every bit as good as our beloved, and the Rays might still be better…. the games is afoot.

    Having said all that..bring Pettitte back, put Joba in the 8th inning, and make Hughes #5….

    • Whitey14 says:

      It was the Kansas City A’s, not the Royals. Not trying to be a jerk, just making sure the younger fans don’t get the wrong idea about whom it was the Yankees fleeced in the 50′s and 60′s. I believe the St. Louis Browns were a frequent target as well….

      That being said, the Yankees were not the only team that fleeced others, it was a fairly common practice. The Yankees were just better at it.

  40. Neil H says:

    Like Ben I do have qualms about what this means for the game of baseball.

    The team now has in excess of half a billion dollars (and by law, you have to read that number in the style of Dr. Evil) committed to three players. Whether it is because they won’t or cant, there will be teams that do not spend that amount of money on their 25 man roster combined over a 10 year period – and that does have implications for the quality of the competition we pay to watch.

    But, and this is a huge but, the 30 teams agreed to the rules, they set the parameters for what would happen to a team which chose to behave in this way (luxury tax, loss of draft picks), and presumably they believed those rules were ‘fair’ at the time, so to complain now because the Yankees have signed 2 players just lacks credibility.

    I guess the bigger question is why the Yankees seem to believe they are immune to the pressures that every other team seems to be facing? Living in the city and hearing the City and State governments shout pretty loud about budget shortfalls, hearing day after day about job cuts in the financial services industry, hearing about blue chip sponsors end deals with blue chip clients, about the Yankees inability to sell all of the luxury boxes at the desired price…

    And then dealing with the Yankees about season-ticket renewals and being told early that if I didn’t agree to the proposed deal they had thousands of unsolicited offers to take my tickets, to being told they may be able to hold tickets, to then offering me better seats because of renewal fall offs…

    This is definitely a buyers market, and if all the Yankees are doing is using their market power in that market then good for them, and can I have a 1B on top please.

    But part of me genuinely worries that the future is being mortgaged here because they missed the playoffs for one year. It sounds dumb, but what if the Yankees revenues don’t hold up? Even as I typed that, my brain was saying that looks dumb… but if you had told me a year ago that Bear Stearns, Lehmans, Merrill, Citi etc, etc would look the way they do today, I would have laughed louder.

  41. cj says:

    until the ‘system’ routinely produces world series titles to the teams with the highest payrolls and excludes the teams with the lowest payroll from the playoffs the ‘system’ is not broken, it may not be perfect , but its not broken.

  42. dkidd says:

    not to worry. bernie madoff says he purchased all of the unclaimed luxury boxes

  43. Jake H says:

    The problem isn’t the Yankees. It’s the Marlins. Team gets more in revenue sharing then they spend most years. If your going to put a cap you also have to have a floor. 50 million should be the floor.

  44. SpiritofCapnJackSparrow says:

    This is a frustrating subject one that makes me as a NYY fan angry that we are treated like the Sheriff of Nottinghamn by the rest of the country who play the role of the Merry Men. Not counting this season please somebody pray tell what was the big NYY FA pickup last season who switched teams and became a Yankee. What about 2006, 2005 the last one I remember is Damon. One has to go back to 2001 to Giambi and Moose. We skipped on Carlos Beltran, we skipped on Pedro I am sure there are others I forget.
    What the NYY do is not let their players leave Posada, Jeter, Rivera, Pettite to an extent, Don M, Bernie Williams etc.. that is a bit different.

  45. Steve says:

    I wonder.

    Do the Marlins and Rays feel guilty about getting the top picks in the draft every year? The Yanks really can’t get the top talent, high probability of success guys drafting at the bottom each year. Its just not fair.

    Or how about taking money that they didn’t earn from another team? Think they feel guilty about taking Baseball ‘welfare’? Its not enough that they get half the gate whenever they play these teams, which draw huge crowds. They need more money to make up for their own inability to run a successful sports franchise.

    They don’t feel guilty, so neither do I.

  46. Steve says:

    “Jake Peavy Rumors: Saturday
    By Tim Dierkes [December 13 at 1:44am CST]

    Jake Peavy’s agent Barry Axelrod explains his client’s preferences:

    “Jake has a strong preference to stay in the National League. If Jake’s ever going to accept anything to the American League – and I don’t want this to be taken wrong – I can safely say that it’s going to be the Yankees or Red Sox or maybe the Angels. Those teams are going to be in contention and are going to spend money. If there were circumstances where he would be asked to go to the AL, kicking and screaming, those are the three places.”

    Also, Padres GM Kevin Towers revealed in a radio interview that the Angels asked about a Peavy-Adrian Gonzalez package deal, but the Padres don’t want to trade Gonzalez.”

  47. Ace says:

    “kicking and screaming”

  48. LeftyLarry says:

    I don’t get the argument.
    Yankees have had their butts kicked last few years and had the highest payroll in baseball every year, so throwing money is only part of the equation.
    Some teams are beating Yankees with the extra #1 draft picks they get and the better draft positions they have every year to acquire better talent.
    Yankees have 2 choices.
    Finish in the back a few years and load up on the best H.S. and college talent and wait for them to be ready, or go after free agents at the expense of the draft.
    Should I feel bad for Milwaukee because they lost Sabathia?
    The only reason they got him in the first place is because CLeveland couldn’t afford to keep him and so on and so on.
    System seems to be working.
    Baseball makes money, the players make money and Yankees don’t win every year.
    If the economy keeps crashing and yes, it will, fans won’t go to the games as much, teams will make less money and salaries will come down.
    That’s AKA the “Free Enterprise System.”
    I’ve done well with it, in the end it works.

    • Joey H says:

      It was a matter of aging contracts and money not invested in the right area. We went to the likes of Shawn Chacon, Aaron Small and all those guys for the past few years. Now we have a top notch rotation. Money well spent.

    • Old Ranger says:

      That’s AKA the “Free Enterprise System.”
      I’ve done well with it, in the end it works.

      Welcome to the club, Capitalism and Free Enterprise has worked well for over 250 years in this country. Not all people (like a lot of politicians) are crooks, now days the owners and players make a lot of money. One hand washes the other. Without the risk of the owners putting up the big bucks (which they can lose), the players would have no one to pay them when they are unable to play or when they are able to play but outlived their contracts worth $$$$mmm. The owners wouldn’t make a profit without the talent of his players. 27/09.

  49. Joey H says:

    Isn’t being a Yankee fan being born into original sin? I love the Yankees, Although i wont disclose my age on this website I’m a fairly young critter and wasn’t around for the likes of Mantle, Gator and what have you, All the other greats that i don’t need to list. But I love this team because they are on of the few organizations out there that CARE about their teams and aren’t willing to disassemble for a year. So if that makes me an impure fan then So be it. But I won’t stop being a Yankee fan. So people who think that we are bandwagoners because we have the highest payroll, What do you expect? We are in the financial center of the entire world. Otherwise SUPERB post Ben. Thanks.

  50. SpiritofCapnJackSparrow says:

    I also believe this level of hate & resentment from the rest of the country combined with 24 hour sport channels & the advent of the internet makes us NYY fans somewhat gun shy of FA and it also effected Cashman until this year. I fully believe that Cashman wanted to win with the youth to prove & show the rest of baseball that we can do it this way to. While at the same time taking away our biggest weapon money!!!!!

  51. Steve H says:

    It’s America, plain and simple. The Yankees spend money to make money. If these small market teams took the revenue sharing dollars and put them back into the team, they would get better, draw more fans, and make more money? Who is the richest owner in baseball?

    Carl Pohlad of the Twins. Who also happens to be one of the cheapest. Not going to cry a river for a guy like that.

  52. nick blasioli says:

    im glad we signed burnette,,if he gets be it…i dont see andy p. walking away from ten million plus…signing players is a big gamble…the yankees are always willing to take that gamble…unlike other teams…go yankees………..

  53. Matt says:

    What would be so wrong of having joba and hughes at the back end of the rotation, instead of signing another pitcher

  54. Shamus says:

    I love how its the Yankees that overspend. Accoridng to the media, especially yellow-tooth Gammons, the Yankees and only the Yankees.

    What about when the Sox dropped over $200M two winters ago, for three players (Dice-K, JD Drew and Julio Lugo)?

    Now they are about to spend close to $200M on Mark Teixeira…. But thats Theo Epstein being a shrewd businessman, right? While the NYY spending $161 on an ace pitcher is ‘overspending’.

    So much media bias bullshit. And it all starts at ESPN.

    • Mike says:

      I think it’s because Cashman decided to top his already massive offer to CC by 20 million and we’re probably going to maintain at least a 50 million dollar payroll advantage against the second highest team that other fans rag on us. Boston wasn’t even number two last year. They were fourth behind Detriot and the Mets on opening day payroll. Nobody even came close our albatross 200 mil.

  55. huuz says:

    if this type of spending is the difference between winning the WS and missing the playoffs, then i have no qualms about it, whatsoever.

  56. Zack says:

    So does that mean you want the Sox to sign Tex? Would them signing him make it easier? Or would it therefore make being a Red Sox fan just as difficult?

    There is a fine line it seems.

    Me, I think its a hell of a lot harder to be a fan of a team that refuses to pony up and put a winning team on the field.

    Is this the “best” way to win? Probably not. Ideally the Yankees could do what, I don’t know, the Rays did and rebuild from within. But they sort of are. In two years, they have a chance to have three homegrown dominant starters in their rotation. Not many teams can claim that, can they?

    As I have always said, there is no such thing as a “lovable loser.” You’re either a loser with excuses, or you’re trying to win. Period.

    Until there is a salary cap, you’re damn right I want the Yankees using their money, the money WE GIVE THEM, to win at all costs.

  57. Tom Gaffney says:

    Not sure I understand, Ben. How is it overpaying when the Braves had the same offer on the table? John Schuerholz is not exactly a chump when it comes to evaluating pitchers. If that’s what Schuerholz thinks his market value is, how is it overpaying?

    • Ben K. says:

      Technically, Schuerholz isn’t the GM in Atlanta, and even if were, just because another team desperately in need of pitching was willing to match the Braves’ offer doesn’t mean they weren’t overpaying. It’s his value as a pitcher relative to the contract combined with the Yanks’ need for starting pitcher that led me to believe they overpaid a bit for Burnett. That’s tangential to the overall point though.

  58. ortforshort says:

    Its a business. The Yankee business model is spend to maintain a contender and they’ll be richly rewarded with full stadiums at home and on the road and a successful TV Network plus ancillaries. As a fan, I’ve rooted for them since I’ve been a kid and am the beneficiary of all of this. So what’s the big deal? They’re not the brightest organization or they may have been able to manage this success by other means. They draft at the bottom of the pile each year so they won’t be able to build thru the draft and thru a farm system – so their only option is to spend. Its also good for baseball when the Yankees are successful -everybody gets to wet their beak.

  59. Macphisto says:

    This may sound crazy but I think the Yanks are actually showing some restraint. The fact that they have an obvious long term need at 1b and are not actively pursuing Tex while the rival Sox are is surprising to me. Now, I might be proven wrong and they might swoop in with a 10 year $210mm offer, which I think they should do. The Yanks are ideally set up with this group (especially Mo, Posada, and Jete) to win the WS in the next couple of years. But, the future has guys like Montero, DeLeon, Jackson, Joba, Hughes, Brackman, etc. For that group (along with whatever FA’s the Yanks sign from the Rays) to have people like CC, ARod, and Tex passing the torch on to I think is important for the organization. The Yanks are completely unique to any team really in all of sports. Since they have such a storied franchise any time they win it brings back the victories of the past and transcends so many generations. Because of this winning make the business profit more than say if the Rays win. The young fan buys a Munson or Mantle jersey to feel connected to the past and the older fan buys the Jete or Mo jersey to feel grounded in the present. And the stadium is packed with all of them, young and old. That is not solely because of CC or ARod but because of the potential players like that bring to live up to the story of this great franchise so we can all share in it again and again.

  60. Tom Gaffney says:

    We’ll have to agree to disagree, but I don’t think it’s tangential at all. “Too much” is a relative term dictated by the market. If an organization that has the repuatation of being extremely wise with the money they spend on starting pitchers is willing to spend the same amount on our guy, then that lends a lot of credence to the idea that this is an “at market value” signing. Over the last 15 years, no organization other than possibly the A’s has been more on target with their pitching acquisitions than the Braves.

    • Ben K. says:

      Just because the Braves had some good pitchers once doesn’t mean they weren’t willing to overpay. Right now, they’ve got Jair Jurrgens, Javy Vazquez and a whole lotta nothing. Since A.J. was the best option out there, they had to be willing to overpay a bit.

  61. nick blasioli says:

    even if the yanks sign tex at eight years and 165 million,,their payroll will be less than it was last year and all holes will be filled….

  62. Mike says:

    I don’t think having an opening day payroll of over $ 200 million last year was too bad. It was only about 60 million more than Detriot’s. Plus Cashman needs that kinda payroll. He isn’t as adept with payroll management as his other GM peers. Add that to our lack of patience with developing young talent and this is what you get.

  63. David says:

    What we’ve done doesn’t bother me at all. If we stopped right now, our payroll would still be significantly less than it was last year. The only problem with the media is that the Yankees signed a couple of players. If Boston did it, you wouldn’t hear a peep about it on ESPN.

  64. TONY says:

    Ben, you make me sick. The fun of being a Yankee fan is that we have resources & that we use them. As an organization they have should use their resources – if they didn’t we would all be crying why they aren’t.

    I want the Yankees to be best that they can be. And by hiring CC & AJ we are. That is what makes me happy – knowing that every day their is a game I will enjoy watching our starting pitcher.

    • VOIII says:

      That was a little harsh, no?

    • Ben K. says:

      If this is making you sick, then clearly you don’t get it. For the tenth time, at no ptoin did I say the Yanks shouldn’t use their resources. I’m not criticizing them for spending money they have and should be spending. In fact, time and again, I’ve said the opposite. Critical reading is a good skill to acquire.

      • tony says:

        Ben, I do understand your point & that is why it makes me sick. You say that it is the system that is the problem – not the yankees. I do not agree I think the system is perfect. It favors the strong. If you have a strong fan base that supports you financially (statdium-cable etc) I feel you should have an advantage to add premier players over say a region where the fans are indifferent & not as passionatte. These type of regions do not support their teams in the same way thus to me are not entitled to enjoy to as strong a team.

        As Yankee fan we should feel proud that our team has the resources to go out & hire the best talent that money can buy. To me that is something to be proud of & no fan should feel that we did not do it the rght way. We are Yanjee fans & we demand greatness from our team & our front office.

        So Mr. Cashman in the unlikely shot that you are reading this I salute you o salute you.

        Finally Ben, your premise (that we fix the system) threatens the upper hand the yankees posses – An upper hand that I do not & will not give up. I am not ashamed that the yankees have the most money – I am actually proud that they . If they “fix” the system & make it an even playing field – all they will do is gremove the incentive other towns & teams need – that is emulate the yankees. Build your resources & use them to your advantage. If your in FL you can bid lower because you have no state tax. Find outwhat your strenths are & use them. Just dont penalize the yankees for effectively maximizing their resources.

        I beleive you should reward sucess – Have teams maximize their own resources & lets go to war. If we are all the same what fun would it be if the small towns did not have the yankees to pick on or use as an excuse for theirineptbess.


  65. LiveFromNewYork says:

    When we win we are told we bought the championship. When we lose we are told, “With all that money you still don’t know what you’re doing (managing, players).”

    You cannot ever win against Yankee haters and can’t really lose against Yankee lovers.

    So screw it. Spend the money and win while also growing the farm. The Yanks are going to be criticized NO MATTER WHAT THEY DO. Win or lose, spend or not spend. They were criticized for NOT signing Santana and criticized for not topping the Sox for Dice K. They had the money both times and deferred and were roundly criticized as fools. So now we have the money and we spend the money and we’re criticized. GEEZ!

    We also give big frigging dollars to other teams via revenue sharing and we pay big bucks in luxury taxes. And don’t complain about it. People like the Twins’ owners pocket the money instead of putting it into the team. That’s not our problem.

    We don’t dismantle our team so that they’re just a bunch of scrubs after a fire sales and dis our fans or have owners who don’t care about investing in the team. If others don’t like it, too bad.

  66. ortforshort says:

    The Yankees will be taking in about $600 million this year -despite the economy. They can afford to go well over $200 million in payroll, if they have to. There is no financial deterent to getting Teixeira for the Yankees.

  67. Wayne's World says:

    Random thoughts:

    Great post. Your dad is a very wise man.

    Tony says: “Ben, you make me sick.” Wayne’s World says “Tony,get a life.”

    Paul says: “Tell your dad to get a clue.” Wayne’s World says: “Paul, get a life.”

    DKidd says: “not to worry. bernie madoff says he purchased all of the unclaimed luxury boxes.” Wayne’s World says that since I don’t have money with that crook, that’s the funniest comment of the day. The Wilpons will be selling the Mets so they can pay their electric bill.

  68. E says:

    Posts like this make me sick too. The guilt BS is ridiculous. You would rather theteam pocket all revenue? Be happy they put it back into the team.

  69. LiveFromNY says:

    And I have to wonder what is the alternative? Watching a 21 year old pitcher get boo’d by playoff hungry fans? What is the alternative?

  70. nick blasioli says:

    sign tex and to hell with what the media or those stupid redsox fans think or anyone else…for that matter…we are at the finish line,,lets cross it…

  71. Whitey14 says:

    Ben, this was an excellent post. You are right that the system is broken. Teams like those in New York, Boston, Chicago, and LA are playing by the rules and there is NOTHING wrong with that. I hate seeing the Yankees go out and get the two best Free Agent pitchers available, but they have done nothing wrong. Boston had their shot, as did the other clubs, and they didn’t rise to the challenge, for whatever reason. I firmly believe that the best organizations are those that have good scouting and Front Office personnel, solid minor league systems and a good core of solid major leaguers in place. Those teams then go out and supplement with Free Agents and trades to round out their clubs. Sometimes a team feels it just doesn’t have enough in it’s system to be confident that it can compete at the highest level and it dives in to the deeper end of the Free Agent pool. This is what is seemingly going on in New York this offseason. They may have overestimated their pitching talent in the high minors in 2007-2008 and the system allows them to go out and use their resources to compensate with Free Agents/Trades. Every team has this opportunity it’s just that some are better at using it than others. Whereas I’m skeptical that Sabathia and Burnett make the Yankees World Series favorites, I do believe that if healthy, Sabathia, Burnett, Wang and Chamberlain do make them the Favorites. Now, if they go out and sign Teixiera, well, that’s a post for a different day ;-)

  72. [...] hard to disagree with that. While I recently questioned baseball’s economic system, if the sport doesn’t need a salary cap, I won’t agitate for one. As Yankee fans, we [...]

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