Don't hand that World Series trophy to the Yankees just yet
Perhaps you have a friend, as I do, who upon hearing the news that the Yankees had on Tuesday signed
That sort of reaction, while somewhat rash, is also understandable. After this latest stroke of the
In the process, they've proven -- as if there was any doubt -- that baseball is now more economically imbalanced than ever before. They've proven there really is no such thing as "hometown loyalty" or "a hometown discount" in professional baseball (Teixeira, a Maryland native, spurned both the Nationals and the Orioles for the Yanks' dollars, and in retrospect there was never really much of a chance that the California-bred Sabathia would end up in Los Angeles, Anaheim or San Francisco).
And they've also invited intense public scrutiny upon themselves: just how is it that a team that required public funding to build its new headquarters, and constantly grovels for more of it during a time of recession, can somehow guarantee $423.5 million to three players in a single offseason? (That's a story that deserves far more space, and demands more time to investigate, than I can commit here).
I suspect that the largest gripe among all but the most faithful of Yankees supporters stems from the notion that the 2009 World Series, after the Teixeira signing, will now inevitably run through that
Teixeira is clearly one of the finest young hitters in the game, but last season, which he spent with the Braves and then the Angels, he hit just one more home run than did the creaky incumbent whom the Yankees jettisoned after the season,
The Yankees' rotation should (make that, had better) be improved from 2008, with Sabathia and Burnett atop it, but can we say with any certainty that it's now pound-for-pound superior to the Rays' or the Red Sox'? I don't think so. And then there's the bullpen, which performed well as a group last season (its 3.79 ERA was seventh in baseball) but still doesn't contain any sure things besides
The Yankees are now a position in which sports fans'
The odds are that they'll fall short, and that will prove once again that there are some things that money can't buy. Even in baseball.