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The power of the Yankees is not what they can buy; it’s what they can eat

Oct 18, 2010, 12:27 PM EDT

As you listen to the TBS guys talk about Cliff Lee, potential free agent tonight and begin to despair over the fact that the Yankees can just buy any great player they want, remember that the true power of their financial resources is not best seen in the superstars they acquire. It’s best seen in the duds they endure:

The true muscle of the Yankees’ resources is not just outbidding the competition for Sabathia by $30 million. It is the ability to shrug off the mistakes like Jared Wright, Carl Pavano, Kei Igawa, Jeff Weaver, Kevin Brown and — soon to be added to this dubious list — A.J. Burnett.

Cashman has thrown away about $250 million on failed pitchers, and that’s a conservative estimate.

That’s from Steve Politi of the Star-Ledger, making the point that I tend to forget way more than I should.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 18, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    Also, the fact they they ALWAYS keep their players too. Case in point…Bernie Williams was all but signed by the Red Sox and the Yankers swooped in and kept him because they could afford him. That’s why there has never been a doubt that guys like Rivera and Jeter would ever go somewhere else. Even if someone offered $100 million over 3 years, the Yankers would be able to pay $105. Does anyone on the planet think someone will be outbidding the Yankers for Cano when he becomes a free agent? LOLZ. But if Cano were on the Rays, there would articles written about how he is 2 years away from free agency. There will never be that article written since he is on the Yankers.

    • yankeesfanlen - Oct 18, 2010 at 12:35 PM

      And we’re very happy that way.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 18, 2010 at 12:40 PM

        If I were a fan of the Yankers, I would love it too. As a Phillies fan, I have no reason to complain. Except that if the Phillies could spend like the Yankers, there would be no stories about Werth’s impending free agency and Cliff Lee likely would not have been traded.

  2. lukehart80 - Oct 18, 2010 at 12:35 PM

    i wish i had the time to come up with some sort of ‘smart or dumb’ contract/salary formula, and to then measure what franchises have wisely spent the highest percentage of their salary dollars. the yankees’ crappy contracts are the ones i remember most, because as a yankee-hater, they’re the ones that drive me nuts. the indians have made a couple poor salary decisions the last few years, and are nearly crippled by them. the yankees can just shrug when that happens.

    • furiousbrad - Oct 18, 2010 at 1:32 PM

      The thing is, though, that the Yankees know full well that they can shrug off mistakes like that, which makes them more amenable to taking a flyer on guys who are high risk/high reward. That’s why a “crappy contract index” calculation would be fatally flawed.

      • lukehart80 - Oct 18, 2010 at 1:50 PM

        yeah, i suppose so. it would be a flaw, but i’m not sure about the fatal part, if only for comparing the quality of spending within a single tier, like mid-market teams, etc.

  3. yankeesfanlen - Oct 18, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    So have your team do that.

    • ThatGuy - Oct 18, 2010 at 12:50 PM

      But there lies the problem with baseballs economic landscape. No other team could do that. It would simply cripple them for years. They can’t simply eat contracts like that and make money.

    • lukehart80 - Oct 18, 2010 at 1:58 PM

      i understand that there will be yankees’ fans in the world. some of them were born closer to the bronx than any other major league site, some of them have an older family-member that ‘passed down’ the team to them, some of them may have played on the yankees as a t-ball player and decided to cheer for the real team too, and some of them are just front-runners. a world without yankees’ fans sounds nice, but i know it’s not happening.

      that said, i wish more of their number held the “i’m fortunate to cheer for a team with exceptional resources. i don’t feel guilty about it, but i’m lucky to cheer for so many great players and championship caliber teams, because i have nothing to do with that success myself and if dad had gone to pitt instead of st. john’s i might be cheering for the pirates” attitude, instead of the “duh, your team should just do what mine does” attitude.

  4. Mr. Furious - Oct 18, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    Luke (sorry, it won’t let me reply directly to your reply to my reply :-) ), I guess it depends on what you want to measure. If it’s an attempt to measure the ability of larger-market teams to spend less efficiently and remain competitive, it could work, but not if it’s used in support of the old “the Yankees would not be competitive if they had to work with a smaller resource pool” chestnut.

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