Smootha than butta…
Via Newsday this week:
While some have described the Toronto Blue Jays as an instant contender after Tuesday’s mind-blowing trade with the Marlins, the New York Yankees aren’t ready to concede the American League East crown just yet.
“We’ve won a lot of winters and not won the World Series,” Yankees president Randy Levine said Wednesday in between sessions at the Major League Baseball owners’ meetings.
Look at the Miami Marlins. They supposedly bought themselves a guaranteed spot in the Fall Classic a year ago with a free-agent spending spree that netted Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell.
Miami proceeded to finish last in the National League East, and then traded all three, with Reyes and Buehrle joining Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck in the mega-swap that also sent nearly $166 million in salary to Toronto. It’s hardly a unique story, especially for the Marlins, but a cautionary tale nonetheless.
Not that Miami owner Jeffrey Loria was interested in retelling it after arriving for these meetings. Loria has been vilified for dismantling the Marlins — again — and his intention of filling the team’s $1 billion retractable-roof ballpark with mostly cheap, unproven talent.
When confronted by reporters, Loria never broke stride, and barely turned around in offering his response. “Not today, boys,” Loria snapped. “If you guys haven’t figured it out yet, I’m not going to figure it out for you.”
Later attempts to corral Loria in the hotel corridors were unsuccessful, and the trade itself had yet to be finalized, with physicals scheduled and the package still under review by the commissioner’s office. There was little doubt, however, that the swap would be official in a day or two, and the rest of the American League East would be playing catch up with the Blue Jays.
It’s an unusual place to be for the Yankees, who are more accustomed to reloading during the winter rather than watching their neighbors — other than the Boston Red Sox — beat them to the punch. One reason for that is the Yankees’ desire to get below the $189-million luxury tax threshold for the 2014 season, a mandate Levine repeated Wednesday.
That’s influencing the front office’s measure of prospective contracts, and how they can limit them in length. As for how quickly all of that gets accomplished, Levine laughed at the idea the Yankees were lagging, despite Torii Hunter signing a two-year, $26 million contract with the Detroit Tigers earlier that same day.
“I think we feel good,” Levine said. “The tortoise usually wins the race. We have a plan. We’re going to try and execute it. We’ll react as it happens. We have a pretty good idea of where we want to be and we’re working on it. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet.”