Success certainly raises the bar, as the Boston Red Sox have learned.
Two World Series titles in the first decade of the new millennium made the Red Sox more like the New York Yankees than they probably care to be. As the payroll increased, so did expectations. When those expectations weren't met, the ax fell. First on manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Epstein, and now on the core of the team expected to contend this season.
Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford are headed to Dodger town with their silly money contracts in one of the biggest trades in baseball history, according to the Associated Press via ESPN.
The Red Sox get James Loney and some prized Dodger prospects as they rebuild in the image of first-year general manager Ben Cherington. And the third-highest payroll in the major leagues behind the Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies just nose-dived like the stock market in the crash of 2008.
But should Yankee fans rejoice as the Red Sox raise the white flag and begin to rebuild?
Or are the Bronx Bombers facing a similar fate in 2013 or 2014?
The Red Sox aren't finished cutting ties with the glory days of the early 2000s. David Ortiz is probably spending his final months in a Boston uniform. John Lester may be on the trading block, and perhaps Dustin Pedroia too, even though he is a fan favorite.
No one knows whether Bobby Valentine will be back as manager.
The Yankees do not have the toxic clubhouse problems that initiated the dismantling of the Red Sox. Like their rivals, however, they are an aging team saddled with contracts that are weighing them down. They are also adhering to a philosophy that the free-spending days of George Steinbrenner are over and that the Yankees will have a payroll of $185 million going forward to avoid a luxury tax.
Most teams would salivate having that kind of money to spend, but in New york this represents belt-tightening.
Nick Swisher will be a free agent as will catcher Russell Martin. Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano will be entering their walk year in 2013.
And A-Rod and Mark Teixeira are being paid for production they don't deliver anymore.
The progress of the young arms in the farm system has been delayed by injuries, and there aren't any position players that appear to be ready to step into the lineup in 2013.
The Yankees have managed to keep winning, however, but the question is whether or not this will allow them to avoid the Red Sox's fate. Or is it simply delaying the inevitable?
Let's look at a few Yankees who may not be wearing pinstripes in the future: