Yankees Free Agent History Tells the Story

Chris ValContributor INovember 25, 2008

Once again, the Yankees wind up bidding historically high on a player that may not be the best fit for them. CC Sabathia is a great player, but his desire to pitch for the Yankees is questionable, as well as his desire to live on the East Coast; his heart just may be to pitch in his home state of California.

Yet the Yankees obviously never fail to get what they want; money is power and we all know that the Yankees have plenty of the former and therefore the latter. With that money and power, the Yankees in the past have failed to make wise decisions with where, how, and when to spend their money. 

Let's be honest: Over the past eight years, acquisitions such as Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Carl Pavano, Kevin Brown, Randy Johnson, and others have not panned out in ways that the Yankees have hoped.

Rodriguez, a huge performer in which the Yanks made him the highest paid ball player alive...not to say that Rodriguez hasn't been successful, but is he worth the money that he is receiving? Great regular season numbers, but when he gets to play in October, we can all agree he is already on a beach somewhere sipping on a margarita with Madonna.

Giambi, had a stellar few seasons with the Yankees (when he was on steroids).  His play then declined as well as his playing time. He did have a coming out season last year with 32 home runs 96 RBI and a .247 batting avg, but are those stats really worth the 120 million over seven years that the Yankees were paying Giambi? Needless to say his glove is atrocious at first base leaving the Yankees with a huge whole at the right side of their infield.

Pavano, who only pitched a handful of games, due to injury was also awarded a huge paycheck. Randy Johnson was seemingly washed up, Sheffield shined for maybe a season and more of the same from Kevin Brown.

Lots of money wasted on underperforming free agents.

So what makes the Yankees think that throwing $140 million for six years at Sabathia will make the difference? Haven't the Yankees learned their lesson from the past eight years? Obviously not!

So what are their alternatives in the 2009 free agency you ask? Well, the pitching free agent pool is filled with possibilities. The best fit for the Yankees may be Ben Sheets, the 30-year-old hard-throwing right-hander from the Brewers. Sheets, for the past four years has put up solid numbers; his wins are down, but only due to a lack of run support.

With Wang, Chamberlin, and Sheets at the top of the rotation makes room for young studs at the bottom of the rotation, such as Phil Hughes and up and comer Alfredo Aceves, who are both pitching well for the Yankees fall team. It is important to have youth at the bottom of the rotation; Phil Hughes is a great prospect even though he struggled last season to stay healthy, but his success as a rookie didn't go unnoticed. 

Let's also not forget about Andy Pettitte, the Yanks need a lefty in the rotation and who better than Pettitte?  This may not be the most popular choice, but Pettitte can pitch in New York, his performance wasn't promising last season but why not let the man retire a Yankee and help bring the first World Series to the new Yankee Stadium.      

An acquisition that could be the most beneficial to the Yankees would be acquiring first baseman Mark Teixeira. If there is one player that the Yankees should throw money at, it would be Teixeira. Let's face it, there is almost no downside to this guy, a two-time Silver Slugger award winner and a two-time Gold Glove winner.

Its a win-win situation for the Yankees. If he doesn't hit, his infield play will be solid at least, giving the Yankees possibly one of the strongest infields in the entire MLB. From what the baseball nation saw from the Tampa Bay Rays last season, no one can argue that a strong infield isn't crucial to success.  

A big fix isn't crucial to the Yankees pitching rotation, just a couple of tune ups and their pitching will once again be among the top of the American League. On the other hand, the bat of Teixeira and his defense is a Yankee necessity! 

He fills a void defensively at first base and replaces Bobby Abreu's bat in the lineup. With a couple of smart business decisions plus, baseball decisions equals, promise for years to come for the New York Yankees.