• NESN Clinchy: To Win, You Have To Spend Like Yankees

    Posted by on January 12th, 2010 · Comments (25)

    Via Evans Clinchy of NESN.com today -

    If you want to be a champion, you’d better be prepared to spend like one. That’s the sad truth about baseball today.

    Years from now, when baseball historians look back on the 2009 Yankees, they’ll remember them for the exorbitant amount of money they spent and the historic dividends it paid. By investing $423 million last winter in CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira, the Bronx Bombers all but assured themselves of World Series glory — not just now, but in the years ahead as well.

    The Red Sox went into this offseason knowing that if they want to compete on that level, they have to spend the big bucks too. And while it may not be a cool $423 mil, the Red Sox have spent handsomely on their 2010 championship quest.

    The signings of John Lackey, Mike Cameron, Adrian Beltre and Marco Scutaro add up to just over $120 million in new contracts added in the last month and a half. And while that might not be even in the same universe with the cash the Yankees doled out, it gets the job done just fine in Boston.

    The Red Sox were a competitive team in 2009 — they won 95 games and the American League wild card. They weren’t in the market for a complete overhaul this winter — they just needed a few minor tweaks to make their team even better for 2010. It wasn’t about big contracts for huge superstars — the Red Sox just needed deeper pitching, better defense and a complete lineup from one through nine.

    You know, everyone is talking about the Yankees and the Red Sox in the A.L. East like it’s a two-team race.

    What about the Rays rotation of James Shields, Matt Garza, Jeff Niemann, David Price and Wade Davis? What about Tampa Bay scoring 800 runs last year with Pat Burrell and B.J. Upton not having good years?

    If the Rays sign Johnny Damon to be their D.H. this season, and if the Rays can get some decent performances out of their bullpen, they should give the Sox and Yankees a run for their “money” this season – and both Boston and New York, and their fans, should not forget about Tampa Bay.

    Comments on NESN Clinchy: To Win, You Have To Spend Like Yankees

    1. MJ
      January 12th, 2010 | 10:43 am

      I don’t see it from Tampa. Ben Zobrist had an MVP season last year. What if he falls off? BJ Upton’s injuries and attitude have stunted what was once a no-doubt career. James Shields rergressed in ’09. The team has absolutely no financial margin for error. I’m not convinced that Tampa will be much more than a little better than .500 again next year.

      I’m not saying they’re bad, I’m just not convinced their playoff material either. At least not in the AL East. They’d potentially be the best team in the AL Central or AL West.

    2. YankCrank
      January 12th, 2010 | 11:07 am

      I certainly recognize that the Rays can be a force and have the potential to overtake a Yanks or Sox, but literally everything needs to go their way for it to happen.

      Like MJ says, no financial margin for error and I don’t see how this team has gotten any better than last year.

    3. MJ
      January 12th, 2010 | 11:11 am

      YankCrank wrote:

      I don’t see how this team has gotten any better than last year.

      That’s really the key for me here. Everything went their way in 2008 in terms of the performance of the rotation and the bullpen. In 2009, they had an MVP season from Ben Zobrist of all people. How does 2010 get better when they haven’t added any talent to the team at the major league level?

    4. butchie22
      January 12th, 2010 | 11:24 am

      Brilliant minds think alike, MJ and Crank. The Rays were under a financial crunch last year, there is no way they are signing Damon unless they get rid of Burrell AND get Damonic for a song. They need the stars to be aligned perfectly to have things work for them. The Yanks would have to collapse and/ or the Red Sox for them to have a fighting chance at the division. I admire what Friedman and Sternberg have done with the club BUT they simply don’t have the deep pockets to add pieces they need to compete with the Yankee$ and the Evil Empire Part Deux, the Red Pox. The Os have gotten better ( MacPhail has done a nice job of rebuilding the farm and Milwood and Gonzalez are nice additions) BUT their rebuilding program isn’t ready to come to fruition yet. And the Jays have some good young pitching and made some interesting trades for Morrow, Drabek,and Wallace but they are rebuilding as well. Unfortunately for the concept of baseball parity, that leaves the NYYs and Boston as the two ton gorillas of this division.

    5. clintfsu813
      January 12th, 2010 | 11:29 am

      I dont feel they have much depth..a few injuries like in 2009 can set them back. I hope they are never competitive again, BTW.

    6. butchie22
      January 12th, 2010 | 11:40 am

      clintfsu813 wrote:

      I dont feel they have much depth..a few injuries like in 2009 can set them back. I hope they are never competitive again, BTW.

      Clint, they’ll be a good team but the weakness inherent to their team is their lint laden pockets. They can’t afford to just procure people so your wish will be granted.

    7. clintfsu813
      January 12th, 2010 | 11:44 am

      Clint, they’ll be a good team but the weakness inherent to their team is their lint laden pockets. They can’t afford to just procure people so your wish will be granted.

      Which they remind me of constantly when they start drinking the Yankee haterade, lol. They’re like little kids getting bullied on the playground. Alot of crying and moaning about the parity. I tell them, they’re lucky they got 2008..now sod off!

    8. clintfsu813
      January 12th, 2010 | 11:45 am

      Watched a bunch of British Office eps last night..hence the sod off ;)

    9. YankCrank
      January 12th, 2010 | 12:02 pm

      butchie22 wrote:

      The Yanks would have to collapse and/ or the Red Sox for them to have a fighting chance at the division.

      2008, anyone? :)

    10. clintfsu813
      January 12th, 2010 | 12:13 pm

      From now on..nobody can discuss 2008. ;)

    11. January 12th, 2010 | 1:05 pm

      [...] NESN Clinchy: To Win, You Have To Spend Like Yankees Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Yankees announce 2009 Spring Training ScheduleWow, it’s only springSpring Training Game #25Spring Training Mid-Point Evaluation [...]

    12. Evan3457
      January 12th, 2010 | 1:06 pm

      I agree with Steve and disagree with most here.

      The Rays are very dangerous. The Plexiglass Principle says that although both Zobrist and Barnett should drop off noticeably, Upton, Pena and Navarro should bounce back up. Longoria and Price can sizable major steps forward. Their bullpen has to be getting better, because, as the Beatles rightly pointed out, it can’t get no worse. In addition, you might see Desmond Jennings present his impressive credentials this year.

      I think the Rays win at least 92-94 games this year, and if they can take a couple of the extra wins from the Yanks and/or Sox, that puts them squarely in the race.

    13. clintfsu813
      January 12th, 2010 | 1:16 pm

      Oh, I know they CAN..just hopin they DONT

    14. January 12th, 2010 | 1:20 pm

      O.K, here’s my logic.

      The Yankees and Red Sox should be good for about 95 wins, each – they usually are. (Yes, I know the Yankees won more than that last year, but, a lot of that was luck. They were really much closer to a 96 win team than a 103 win team – as I detailed yesterday.)

      Tampa Bay won 84 games last season giving 38 starts to Scott Kazmir and Andy Sonnanstine who pitched like crap for them. Jeff Niemann, David Price and Wade Davis should be better now that they have their feat wet. That’s an upgrade for them.

      Yes, they had some hitters play over their head last year. But, they had some underperform too. That all balances out.

      Can the Rays, in 2010, be closer to a 90 win team? Yes, it would only require a 6 game improvement. And, 90 wins puts them in the race with the 95 win Red Sox and Yankees.

      Sure, the Rays need a lot of things to go right for them, and they don’t have a net, but, you can say the same thing about the Yankees – if you believe their budget cries. If A-Rod’s hip blows or if Burnett lands on the D.L., the Yankees are not going to go out and get another $20 million 3B or $16 million SP. Hey, they can’t even buy a $6 million LF – if you believe what they say…

      Bottom line, the Yankees, Red Sox AND Rays all need things to go right for them to win it all.

      You know, in a way, the Yankees and Rays are in the same boat – they’re going with what they got, etc. – because of $.

      But, don’t forget that the Rays have position prospects in the minors – close to ready. And, the Yankees do not. So, in a way, the Rays have an advantage. They can trade a Carl Crawford for some part that they need and call up their minor league power/speed prospect who will be in AAA this year.

      As far as Damon, could he go to the Rays? Why not? If he’s going to have to eat it and play for $5 million this season – like Abreu did last year – why not go to Tampa? It’s Florida – which Damon likes. It’s the AL – a league he knows. And, it’s a winning team with a hip MGR. And, also, he can stick it to the Yankees and Red Sox, with the Rays, if he wants too.

    15. January 12th, 2010 | 1:31 pm

      @ Evan3457: Thanks, Desmond Jennings was the guy I was thinking of…in AAA this year.

    16. clintfsu813
      January 12th, 2010 | 1:35 pm

      I’m thankful for possiblity of a more competitive AL East in 2010..it’ll make winning it that much more gratifying.

    17. MJ
      January 12th, 2010 | 1:37 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Navarro should bounce back up

      Navarro has been worth less than a full win over his career. He really doesn’t look like he has the tools to be anything but a slightly below average player at his position. He certainly doesn’t hit enough for us to even notice his existence behind the plate. Therefore, I hardly see what Navarro’s bounceback will result in.

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      Funny how the Niemann/Davis feet-wetting demonstrates upside in your eyes but the Chamberlain-Hughes feet-wetting is nothing but cause for worry.

      Further, funny how the Rays can trade Crawford for usable, helpful parts in 2010 but no mention of Montero being arguably the most valuable trade chip in the entire division, given his age, his profile and the fact that his MLB service-time clock hasn’t begun.

      Beyond that, funny how the Yanks are now suddenly cash-strapped and can’t add payroll? They may or may not be able to add long-term payroll but they can clearly add players during the year when their contracts are prorated.

      The Yanks are in a FAR better position to contend than the Rays are. You’re calling the Rays a 90 win team and the Yanks a 95 win team. I’m not a Princeton mathematics PhD but that looks like a five game cushion to me. I’d be willing to even take the over on that.

    18. January 12th, 2010 | 1:46 pm

      Isn’t Kelly Shoppach now the Rays catcher?

    19. January 12th, 2010 | 1:49 pm

      @ MJ: Haven’t you heard? Jeff Niemann, David Price and Wade Davis are the Big Three! Generation Trey! The Three Amigos! And, all that other crap.

      Seriously, Jeff Niemann, David Price and Wade Davis have a much better future, as a group, then Joba, Hughes and Kennedy ever did…

    20. January 12th, 2010 | 1:50 pm

      *than, not “then”

    21. butchie22
      January 12th, 2010 | 2:12 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      You know, in a way, the Yankees and Rays are in the same boat – they’re going with what they got, etc. – because of $.
      But, don’t forget that the Rays have position prospects in the minors – close to ready. And, the Yankees do not. So, in a way, the Rays have an advantage. They can trade a Carl Crawford for some part that they need and call up their minor league power/speed prospect who will be in AAA this year.
      As far as Damon, could he go to the Rays? Why not? If he’s going to have to eat it and play for $5 million this season – like Abreu did last year – why not go to Tampa? It’s Florida – which Damon likes. It’s the AL – a league he knows. And, it’s a winning team with a hip MGR. And, also, he can stick it to the Yankees and Red Sox, with the Rays, if he wants too.

      SL, I diasgree with your point on the Rays and Yankees going with what they have because of money. The Yankee payroll will be 200 million dollars and Rays probably 140 million less than that! The Rays don’t have the wiggle room to spend money or add considerably to payroll and the Yanks did. In addition, the signing of Damon seems very unlikely unless they unload Burrell who is making 8 mill next year. 5 million might seem like a drop in the bucket to a Yankee fan BUT to Sternberg and Rays they overspent last year as it was and they got rid of Kazmir to free up some payroll space. The Rays literally have to watch every penny whereas the Yanks are printing money left and right. Monetraily ,they are two teams that ultimately differ in revenues AND what they can spend in a most emphatic sense.

      clintfsu813 wrote:

      I’m thankful for possiblity of a more competitive AL East in 2010..it’ll make winning it that much more gratifying.

      Clint the Jays will suck and the Os will suck just a little less more, it won’t be that gratifying,mate no matter how the situation is sliced. and as latent as the potential is on the Sunrays of St Pete, I don’t see them as a demonstrably improved squad this year quite frankly.

    22. MJ
      January 12th, 2010 | 2:32 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Isn’t Kelly Shoppach now the Rays catcher?

      Yes. Shoppach’s the better hitter and will probably cut into Navarro’s time a fair bit this year. Seriously, I don’t get the fascination with Navarro at this point. He’s 26 — still young — but he’s been around long enough for us to have a pretty good idea of what he is.

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Seriously, Jeff Niemann, David Price and Wade Davis have a much better future, as a group, then Joba, Hughes and Kennedy ever did…

      How do you figure that? Hughes (’04), Chamberlain (’06), Kennedy (’06), Niemann (’04) and Price (’07) were all first rounders, while Davis was a third rounder (’04). All six did well in the minors. Where do you get the sense that Tampa’s 3 have a better future than the kids the Yanks brought up a few years ago?

      Frankly, it’s debatable that Neimann and/or Davis are anything more than back-end starters which is exactly what Kennedy is.

      It cracks me up that it’s all doom-and-gloom, no pollyanna fanboy stuff for NYY prospects but you see the sunshine on everyone else’s prospects.

    23. Pat F
      January 12th, 2010 | 3:22 pm

      MJ wrote:

      It cracks me up that it’s all doom-and-gloom, no pollyanna fanboy stuff for NYY prospects but you see the sunshine on everyone else’s prospects.

      that’s one of the most amusing aspects of this site. it prides itself on not being a “rose colored glasses” blog, but yet is as overly negative as a rose colored glasses site would be positive. neither is really proper. i would think the idea is to provide a fair, objective view. if someone just read the opinions here, and had no other knowledge about the yankees at all (even factually), would they have any idea the yankees are coming off a 103 win, world series season? highly unlikely. and that’s because we get presented with off the cuff opinions as fact (such as niemann/price/david having a much better future than chamberlain/hughes/kennedy ever did) that typically paint the yankees on the negative.

      i also love the idea that the yankees weren’t actually a 103 win team, but more something in the 96 win range because of their pythag, despite them actually winning 103 games. it can only be luck, it can’t be doing things to win baseball games. anyone who understands athletic competition knows this is not the case, as baseball is not played in math class, it’s played on a field.

    24. Raf
      January 12th, 2010 | 3:36 pm

      NESN Clinchy: To Win, You Have To Spend Like Yankees

      What Clinchy fails to mention is that this isn’t the first time that they’ve had a $200M payroll. And 2009 was the first time they won it all since the 2000 season. There have been teams that have won with less.

      So, what is his point?

    25. revdrw
      January 13th, 2010 | 1:31 pm

      Gotta’ tell ya’ I get irritated when people say you have to spend like the Yankees to win. That is simply not true.
      Since the strike, lower feeders (I’m counting the Braves) have made it to the Word Series 13 times, and depending on how you want to slice the bread, they have won 5 times. Since 1998, the Yankees have had the highest payroll, but have only won 4 times and in three of those four wins their highest salary was only marginally higher than the rest. If highest payroll guaranteed WS victories, you would assume the rate would be much higher.
      I think Steinbrenner and his crew have made their money fair and square for the Yankees, and often everybody else wants to punish them for being a successful money making franchise.

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