In a tough economic climate, the Yankees are still ready to dish out big bucks to get the most coveted free agents. Make no mistake about it. For the past few years, GM Brian Cashman has been preaching "player development" and was "reluctant to get rid of his best prospects".
But, not anymore. Not this offseason.
For the first time since 1993, New York missed the playoffs. In the Empire, that's utterly unacceptable. The Steinbrenner sons won't allow it to happen again. With a brand new stadium and plenty of money to spend, expect New York to hand out big bucks to some of the league's best free agents.
For several years, the Yanks have had a questionable rotation. Past Wang, who himself is coming off season-ending injury, the Yankees don't have a bonafide starter in their rotation. That's where CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett come in.
The lineup, as always, is stacked from top to bottom, but according to Yankee theory, the bigger the hitters in your lineup, the better. That's where Mark Teixeira comes in.
Let's just say the Yankees sign all three of those guys. You're talking $350-400 million in those contracts alone. But still, the Yankeeshave to spend that money if they want to have a chance this year.
The team, as it was this year, simply wasn't good enough to compete, with the emergence of Tampa Bay and the continued dominance of Boston. Losing Mike Mussina and adding Nick Swisher won't exactly make the grade.
New York's farm system is one of the thinnest in the Majors. The two prospects Cashman didn't want to part with, Kennedy and Hughes, did nothing to verify their GM's faith last season. The club doesn't draft extremely well and for years has dealt their best prospects away. All in all, don't look to the farm for a whole lot of help this season.
Because they don't have much young talent to offer, any trade is pretty much off the table. Because every other avenue is fruitless, free agency is the only way to go.
Sure, Sabathia could well have a Bartolo Colon-like burn out midway through his contract. Sure, Burnett could go back to being the mediocre pitcher he really is, and sure, someone else could sign Teixeira, but if you're the Yankees, you've got to face the facts.
If you want a chance to win this season, you have to $pend, $pend, $pend.