In the long rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees there has been perhaps no greater period of competitiveness, especially in the offseason, than in the present.
Last year, Boston made it to the ALCS but came up short against Tampa Bay while the Yankees missed the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.
In spite of baseball being in its offseason, the rivalry between these two clubs never fails to heat up the dead of winter. This offseason has been no different.
While remarkably competitive, the two clubs have taken a different approach to the offseason. With some of the deepest pockets in all of sports, both the Sox and Yankees have the luxury of spending big money on baseball’s hottest free agent commodities.
Along with money, both New York and Boston have a tradition of winning behind them, making them attractive to any free agent. However, they have taken different approaches to molding their clubs over the winter.
After finishing third in the AL East and missing the playoffs, a down year by any Yankee fan's standards, New York went out and made three blockbuster signings on the free-agent market.
The economy may be in a recession, but don’t tell that to the Yankees who spent a combined $423.5 million on pitchers C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and first baseman Mark Teixeira.
The additions of veteran arms like Sabathia and Burnett, who combined for 35 wins last year, will stabilize the Yankees pitching staff going into next season. Along with a healthy Chien-Ming-Wang, the Yankees staff should rebound superbly next season.
Meanwhile, Teixeira who hit 33 homers and drove in 121 RBI, adds another dimension to an already potent lineup, solidifying the middle of their order.
On the other hand, Boston took a much cheaper free-agent route, signing veteran pitchers Brad Penny ($5 Million), John Smoltz ($5.5 Million), and former Dodgers bullpen standout Takashi Saito. Saito is only two years removed from a career season in which he recorded 39 saves and maintained a 1.40 ERA.
The Red Sox went bargain hunting with low-risk, high-reward types of players while the Yankees brought in the best of the best. Only time will which offseason route will be more effective.