A trade deadline The Boss would be proud of


Despite already having the best record in baseball and a budget (albeit flexible) at its limit, the Yankees owned the trade deadline in a way that would make George Steinbrenner proud.  They got big names in Lance Berkman and Kerry Wood because they were willing to take on salary and not let money get in the way of improving the team.  They also did this without sacrificing any major pieces for their future.  There was no trading Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps, just signing the checks that other franchises were unwilling to write.

In fact, the Red Sox were in on Wood as well, but wouldn’t take on as much salary.  The Sox wouldn’t take on the $1.5 million the Yankees were willing to pay to get Wood (Beware, that link is for John Tomase who’s not the most credible of writers).  So the Red Sox, who by inquiring on Wood think they are still in the race (and they are) let a few hundred thousand dollars get in the way of obtaining him.  Much like the Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira pursuits, the Red Sox had their chance and came up short when it came time to open the wallet (I guess they should have sold a few more memberships to Red Sox Nation).  Can you imagine how thrilled George would be to know this?

While the Astros did pick up a significant portion of Berkman’s salary, the Yankees still needed to commit to paying Berkman, having a down year, $3.1 million for 2 months of regular season work plus hopefully the playoffs.  Considering they have already committed $5.5 million to the DH position in Nick Johnson and we’re in a recession, this was not a tiny pill to swallow.  While upgrading the DH position in a big way was more of a want than a need, they saw an opportunity to strike with the biggest cost being money.  Again they went for it, and again, the Boss would be proud.

There were concerns after Steinbrenner’s passing that Hal would run the team more as a business and less as a fan leading the Yankees to cut back on spending going forward.  So far so good however, as the decision makers decided the increased payroll was worth the increased chances of winning it all.  Did the Yankees, as constructed on July 29th, have a chance to win the World Series?  Of course they did.  Do the Yankees, on August 1st have a better chance of winning the World Series?  Of course they do. Not only did the Yankees step up to the plate and take their shot, but for the most part their main competitors didn’t as the Red Sox and Rays didn’t wow anyone with their deadline moves.   Give credit to the guys signing the checks this year and know that what they pulled off the past few days would make the old man proud.

  • Pete

    Great article, Steve

  • Brien Jackson

    The Yankees didn’t desperately need Berkman and Wood? That’s not what BBTN told me last night.

  • Mike Nitabach

    My understanding is that the Yankees don’t even try to balance their books on the team per se, and that they basically make all their money on YES. If that’s the case, then a few million bucks salary here and a few million bucks salary there aren’t even on the fiscal radar.

  • Januz

    This article is 100% true. One of the most important business philosophies is you need to spend money to make money. The failure to sign Teixeira, has bitten Boston right in the A$$ and if the Yankees win a couple of more titles during his stay here (And Boston doesn’t win), it will fall somewhere between Bucky Dent and the Ruth sale as a low point (From a Boston perspective) in the Red Sox/Yankee History.

    • JGS

      The failure to sign Teixeira, has bitten Boston right in the A$$

      For what it’s worth, Youk and Beltre are outperforming A-rod and Tex this year by quite a bit. Having Tex would help them more in the sense that the Yankees would be that much weaker than that they would be that much stronger.

      • Brien Jackson

        Well you have to factor all of the other years of the deal in as well, including last year.

        • Scooter

          If you put Tex on the Sox in 2009, that could have tipped the scales to the Sox. You’d be replacing the bat of the Ghost of Mike Lowell (or Kotchman) with Tex’s bat – HUGE difference. And yeah – if the Sox sign Tex, they hurt the Yankees – so it’s a win all around.

          The penny-pinching is a little strange – you wonder if John Henry’s hedge fund (JWH Global Analytics) is struggling a bit again after a big year in 2008

          That Fangraphs article about Beltre looks prophetic right now:

          Still, I don’t think anyone would have predicted this kind of year from him.

          • Scooter

            OK I suck – Google is my friend:

            The hedge fund is in serious trouble

            • JohnnyC

              Also, NESN’s ratings are down 36% this season. Hopefully we are witnessing the end of an era (error).

        • Jon in CUO

          Yeah, I agree here. I think Boston would much rather have high-quality players like Youkilis and Teixeira locked up long-term, instead of the uncertainty they have now (even if Beltre is having his second-best season this year.)

      • Andrew

        If they acquired Teixeira though, they wouldn’t have been signing Beltre at all in the winter of 2009 and perhaps Epstein is using his money elsewhere, like in areas where the team is currently woefully inadequate (bullpen, outfield, etc.)

      • Januz

        If you read the entire post you will see I made this comment” “if the Yankees win a couple of more titles during his stay here (And Boston doesn’t win)”….. If that would occur, it will not matter what numbers Youk and Beltre put up, the RSN (Red Sox Nation) will regret not signing Tex. ps. You should read the Boston Globe and see what Tony Mazzarotti has written about that subject (Not exactly doing cartwheels over the Sox not signing Tex0.

  • raisin

    I read that boston is percolating right around the luxury tax level, taking on money would lose them their “small market” moaning rights…

    • theyankeewarrior

      They surpassed it. So they’re paying the tax with every additional dollar they take on.

  • Nostra-Artist

    I thought Texas was by far the biggest winner, filling multiple needs with quality players. If the season ended today, the Yankees would play either them or the Rays in the ALCS. That should scare you, facing that lineup, that bullpen, and Cliff Lee twice in a short series. Ditto for the Rays starting pitching, bullpen and defense.

    • Januz

      The Yankees cannot play the Rays in the First Round (You can’t play a team in your own division until the next round). If the Yankees win the division they will likely play Chicago or Minnesota. If they get the wild card, it is likely Texas. This is why winning the division would be huge………. You would not have to likely beat BOTH teams to get to the Series.

      • RL

        The Yankees cannot play the Rays in the First Round (You can’t play a team in your own division until the next round).

        He said in the ALCS (second round).

    • JGS

      Texas’ entire team hits .259/.320/.385/.705 on the road, and the Yankees would have home field. Lee twice in a 7 game series scares me much less than a 5 game.

      • Januz

        An ideal situation would be for Texas to beat Tampa in five games and not have to see Lee until a game three. That would really help with the pursuit of Title # 28.

        • JGS

          Agreed. Gotta win the division for that though, otherwise you have to go through Texas in a 5-game, then Tampa. Yikes

  • Patrick

    Just saw that the Red Sox are probably going to designate Mike Lowell for assignment. If he clears waivers, would the Yanks kick the tires on a guy that could play 3B and also hit better than Ramiro? I wonder if the trade market has dried up for him somewhat after the Rangers signed Cantu.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Nah, Lowell can’t play SS, so he’s worthless to us. Any Ramiro bench upgrade has to be able to handle SS.

  • Ross in Jersey

    How does Mike Lupica still have a job? His articles mentioning the Yankee payroll two hundred times and saying the deadline moves meant the Yankees were “scared” is so stupid it’s hilarious

    • Wil Nieves #1 Fan

      Yeah, I read that too. I don’t understand how Lupica comes to his conclusions. Maybe the Yankees should release CC, Tex, Mo and A-Rod to give others the perception that we’re not scared. What an asshole.

  • Poopy Pants

    I think it’s too early to determine a trade deadline ‘winner’.
    For all we know Berkman could fail like Pudge and Wood could turn into Gagne.
    Luckily, the Yanks didn’t lose much to get them, which is key.

  • forensicnucchem

    Maybe the Red Sox didn’t want to pay Wood just because he kinda sucks. I can’t blame them for that.

  • Pete C.

    Nobody can fault a team with the revenue and inclination, to always field the best team no matter what. This version of the Yankees seems a whole lot less impetuous, which makes yesterday’s new additions all the more impressive. Wood has to stay healthy, and, once Berkman gets adjusted he’ll take off.
    With some of the other teams putting profit over product, all the while taking luxury tax money and not applying it to the roster where it’s supposed to go.
    I feel bad for the fans of those teams, even the haters

    • Kiko Jones

      With some of the other teams putting profit over product, all the while taking luxury tax money and not applying it to the roster where it’s supposed to go, I feel bad for the fans of those teams, even the haters.

      Yeah, me too, but those fans—many of them, anyway—are too busy hating on the Yankees’ resources rather than opening their eyes and holding their teams’ ownership accountable, who sell them false hope while they line their pockets.