These were the questionable free agents over which the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox renewed their rivalry in classic offseason style.
After missing the playoffs for the first time in 13 seasons, the Yankees' front office put their farm system retooling program on hold to pursue many high-priced free agents, and that Sabathia followed the money and signed a highly lucrative contract in New York came as no surprise to Red Sox Nation. The Red Sox showed no interest in acquiring Burnett, as the asking price for the oft-injured starter was far too high.
Sabathia and Burnett were not surprises, but it was the signing of Teixeira that really drew the ire of Red Sox fans at owner John Henry and other members of the front office. Big Tex was supposed to be the Sox's man, the one free agent that the Red Sox not only had a genuine interest in, but also a legitimate chance of signing.
But as is the case for many of the Scott Boras-represented players, the Sox decided to play hardball and were beaten out by a few million dollars.
But secretly, Red Sox fans are smiling. Why? Because now almost a decade's worth of seasons have come and gone when the Yankees have tried to buy their way into the postseason by throwing exorbitant amounts of money at talented free agents.
The Yankees went through an incredible run in the late '90s, but did so with a perfect mix of homegrown talent and free agents, much like the way the Red Sox have won two World Series this decade. Yankees GM Brian Cashman tried to stand up to the reign of Steinbrenners and prevent them from continuing to ship prospects to other teams for the superstar caliber players, or sacrifice future draft picks for major free agent signings.
Red Sox fans are in a win-win situation. While they missed out on Teixeira and lost Manny Ramirez, they are still very much contenders for the AL pennant, and they have done so with farm-raised players. If the Red Sox win, then all is well in the Nation, and who cares how many free agents the Yankees signed?
If the Yankees win the division, then Red Sox fans will remain the leaders of a countrywide riot about the Yankees' ridiculous spending habits.
So smile, Red Sox Nation.
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