Friday, March 7, 2014
In Suday's column, we looked at the Yankees signing Japanese pitcher Mashiro Tanaka at a cost of $175-million. Coincidentally, the announcement of the colossal contract came at the same time that Boston signed free agent outfielder Grady Sizemore to a $750,000 deal (which can be worth more with incentives).
While the headline indicated that the Tanaka signing hinted at desperation, the story used a different word: Necessity.
Some of the reaction to the column, mostly via email, said it was the same old complaining from Red Sox followers that the Yankees are spending too much, even though Boston's payroll is not exactly thrifty.
But the column was not a complaint, simply a stating of history and the facts - something most New York writers have already articulated. Just as they did in 2008, the Yankees have reacted to not making the playoffs the year before by spending lavishly on the free agent market.
No doubt, Boston can spend with the big boys. The Red Sox have chosen to over-spend on short contracts for good (not great) players. Remember the criticism Boston received for the 3-year, $39-million deal for Shane Victorino. And then there was the 2-year, $26.5-million contract to Ryan Dempster, a pitcher who could not crack the post-season rotation.
Most of the Yankees signings make sense, but the $153-million spent on Jacoby Ellsbury seemed to be excessive, when New York's dire need is pitching.
The column pointed out that New York's farm system is thin, so the Yankees had to spend on the free agents. It is a strategy that provides an instant boost - but without guarantees (see Red Sox, 2011), but can make things difficult in the long haul.
New York's payroll is headed to $200-million. And don't forget that A-Rod's salary comes back on the books in 2015 ($21-million).
Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Celtics and Maine Red Claws on Holding Court
Subscribe to the
Holding Court RSS