The New York Yankees have been called many things. Although most of these nick-names are caused by jealousy or envy, (of their record amount of Championships, or perhaps of them playing in the greatest city in the world), there is one fact that all these Yankee-haters always seem to state to justify their opinion: they have the most money to spend, and in an uncapped sport, they have a significant advantage.
Although it is undeniably true that the Yankees have the most money to spend on free agents, there is a reason why players get paid so much to play for the Yankees.
The pressure and scrutiny that comes with playing in New York, especially a game with the nature of baseball is overwhelming. It has been proven again and again that not even the best of the best can handle the spotlight.
Randy Johnson, for example, completely choked while playing for the Yankees. Kenny Rogers did the same thing. For pitchers especially, it is very difficult to ignore the whole city of New York criticizing you for a bad inning in a game in April.
It takes a special person with a special constitution to be able to play and play well in New York, and if the Yankees come across a talent that can handle it, they will throw as much money as they can at them to keep them around.
Derek Jeter, who is a future Hall of Famer and perennial all-star, would never have been able to sign that 10-year 189 million dollar contract in 2001 with any other team. He remains one of the highest paid players in baseball, but the Yankees didn't buy him as a free agent. They paid one of their home grown talents one of the largest monetary contracts in history to keep him around.
If you combine the salaries of the four Yankees from the old dynasty: Jeter (21.6), Mo (15), Posada (13.1), and Pettitte (10), you would get 59.7 million dollars. Granted they are all great players, the Yankees overpaid these players because they were proven to ignore the lights of New York.
C.C. Sabathia received the largest contract for a pitcher in history (with the second largest going to the other New York team) because the Yankees hoped that his talent would prove stronger than the pressure.
People can say all they want about the "Evil Empire". The fact of the matter is this: these players earn their paychecks because of the immense pressure that they must ignore in order to just play a game.