New York Yankees to The World: Don't Hate Me Because I'm Rich

Jeff DickinsonCorrespondent IDecember 11, 2008

The Yankees just committed $161 million to a guy who will only play once every five days. Even if CC Sabathia wins 20 games next season, that's a lot of dough for each win. Is Sabathia worth that kind of money? Only time will tell, but whether he is or isn't, the Yankees have the money to spend on him.

It also looks like they are going to lock up A.J. Burnett for five years and $80 million. That's also a lot of money to throw at a guy who has never won 20 games in a season and who has only won 11 more games than he has lost over his 10-year career.

Everyone knows the Yankees operate in a different stratosphere than everyone else in Major League Baseball. Last season, the Yanks had a payroll almost double the size of the next closest team.

But guess what?

Money doesn't always buy happiness, it often can't buy health, and it didn't buy the Yankees a World Series title last season. In fact, it didn't even buy the Yanks a playoff spot last year. How about the team with the second-highest payroll? Nope. The Mets also stayed home and watched the postseason on television.

What about the team with the third-highest team payroll? Try again. The Detroit Tigers were also on the outside looking in during the playoffs. In fact, the Philadelphia Phillies, who won the World Series last season, only had the 13th-highest payroll in all of baseball.

So, all those small market baseball teams who are crying foul while the Yankees are throwing money at free agents like Santa throws candy at a Christmas parade should pipe down.

Is it fair? No.

But does it guarantee the Yankees a World Series crown next season? Definitely not.

Sabathia has to prove he can pitch under the media microscope that is New York without blowing his stack like Randy Johnson did years ago. Burnett is also going to be watched much more closely than he ever was in Toronto.

A bad outing in Toronto might have cost Burnett a broken water cooler and a sleepless night. With the Yankees, a bad outing might cost Burnett a headline in the New York Post that reads: "$80 million loser."

Are the Yankees better now than they were before they signed Sabathia and after they sign Burnett? They sure are. But they still have to put everything together on the field, stay healthy and learn to co-exist with each other in the clubhouse.

I doubt managers of other teams are going to mail in their chances next season just because the mighty Yankees have spent mightily this winter on free agent shopping. Big payrolls don't necessarily equate to championships; just ask the Phillies.