The New York Yankees have signed Mark Teixeira to an eight-year, $180 million deal that made Teixeira the latest addition to Brian Cashman's Christmas shopping list. Of course, the real present can't be delivered until October, but Cashman hopes this appeases the Steinbrenners' for the time being.
With the signings of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett to go along with Teixeira, it appears that the Yankees have filled the major holes with which they entered the offseason. The front office was set on shoring up their starting rotation, and after the departure of Jason Giambi, also had a hole to fill at first base.
On paper, it appears that the Yankees have filled their needs with the best possible players available, and perhaps the top three free agents overall.
You can never tell what moving to New York will do to a player, but if you go off of past results, the two new arms and one new bat will be welcome additions to the new $1.3 billion Yankee Stadium.
Sabathia has been argued by some to have been the most valuable player in the NL for the second half of the season. Winning 11 of his 17 starts, including seven complete games and three shutouts, Sabathia carried the Brewers into the postseason.
After addressing the starting rotation, the Yankees quietly looked in on the Teixeira free agency and made little noise at first. Once the Angels pulled out of negotiations and the Red Sox announced a stalemate in their talks, Cashman made a trip to visit Teixeira and his agent, Scott Boras. After upping the ante the Red Sox had laid out by $10 million, the Yankees had their first baseman.
Teixeira looks like a perfect fit for the Yankees, who were in desperate need of some offense last season. A career .290 hitter with over 100 RBI and 30 HRs in each of the last three seasons, he could be just what the new boss ordered. Projected to bat fourth behind A-Rod, the switch-hitter can provide some pop and should see some better pitches with quality hitters around him in the order.
With the short porch in right field, he may even see his home run numbers climb. The key for his development in this lineup will be the continued ability to drive the ball into the gaps, driving in runs, and putting himself in scoring position. The Yankees could welcome back the lost art of the rally.
In a rare turn of events, the Yankees appeared to swoop in and steal this signing instead of bullying others around by throwing bags of cash at free agents. Not that spending $180 million is a steal, but Teixeira is a great player and should prove to be worth the money.
Some have criticized the offseason spending spree of the Yankees as causing an unjust imbalance between the baseball "haves" and "have-nots." While a strong case can be made for that argument, it's easy to see why the Yankees do what they do.
Once, when George Steinbrenner was posed with the question of why he was against the salary cap, he simply said that he bought the Yankees because they were the Yankees. The revenue possibilities in New York were too great of an asset to consider buying any other team. If he wanted to buy a "small market" team, he could have, but he bought a team located in New York City.
It's hard to argue with that logic, as well. When someone spends more for a better product, they should expect better results (ie. championships). Why should he be penalized for owning a team that can generate more money if he puts out a great product/team?
It is worth noting that the Yankees are on pace to have a lower payroll in 2009 than 2008 after ridding themselves of some hefty contracts. The have added $48.3 million to their payroll after having $88.5 come off the books on expired contracts.
In the end, the Yankees ownership is not concerned for the well-being of the game of baseball. They are concerned about their team, their fans, and their championships.
They run their team the same way the average person runs their fantasy team or video game franchise. You play to win at all costs. You want the best team possible. You want that 27th championship!
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