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Yankees Randy Levine, Red Sox Larry Lucchino trade barbs

Feb 21, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

red sox and yankees logos

No games until next week, so we get team presidents trading insults. First, Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, talking about the Yankees’ big offseason free agent signings:

“We’re very different animals. I’m proud of that difference. I always cringe when people lump us together. Other baseball teams sometimes do that. They are still, this year at least, relying heavily on their inimitable old-fashioned Yankees style of high-priced, long-term free agents. And, uh, I can’t say that I wish them well, but I think that we’ve taken a different approach. … If you compare what we did last year in the offseason to what they did this year, there’s quite a contrast there.”

Then Yankees President Randy Levine fired back:

“I feel bad for Larry; he constantly sees ghosts and is spooked by the Yankees. But I can understand why, because under his and Bobby Valentine’s plan two years ago, the Red Sox were in last place. Ben Cherington and the Red Sox did a great job last year winning the World Series, but I’m confident Cash and Joe and our players will compete with a great Red Sox team to win a world championship this year.”

Meanwhile, the rest of the baseball universe makes the wanking motion, noting that the Red Sox and Yankees have for more in common with each other than they have differences when you compare them with how most of the rest of baseball operates. In terms of finances, in terms of expectations, in terms of domination of the local conversation, everything.

Indeed, listening to the two of them try to contrast themselves with one another is like this:

Both of their buns have seeds, man. Both of their buns have seeds.

  1. cackalackyank - Feb 21, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    Can’t we all just get along?

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:27 PM

      Hockey anyone?

      • Old Gator - Feb 21, 2014 at 7:22 PM

        Heh heh heh…and we both know why I’m really laughing, right?

        Your guys played a hell of a game. So did the beaver squad, by the way. Nothing like a bunch of high sticking beavers. Go have a smoked meat sandwich at Caplansky’s on me, and tell Zane to send me the bill.

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 21, 2014 at 7:27 PM

        Actually, I went out and had sushi. The owner gives me a 50% discount. Planning something similar on Sunday.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:36 AM

        Hey congrats on that hockey nonsense pc, ive been telling you for years this is what you should stick with. It gets zero ratings on this great country so nobody here will ever really give a sh!t about it.

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 22, 2014 at 11:37 AM

        Your team is trying to blow the Bronze medal game.

      • jimeejohnson - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:22 PM

        Archetypal pea brain American: DirtyHarry.

    • mmeyer3387 - Feb 22, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      They will not get along any time soon, which is good.This is clearly a heated rivalry that seems to be the strongest in baseball.Furthermore, as a baseball fan that has no dog in the race, the rivalry is good for all of baseball’s fan base. I think that all of us fans in general enjoy watching both teams after each other.

  2. unclemosesgreen - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    Let me start by saying, as always, they should both just shut up.

    But since that will never happen, I have to score this. Levine on points, kudos for the little twist of the knife over Lucchino’s failed power struggle with Cherington. 10-8 round for bringing up Bobby V. & the fact that Cherington wanted no part of those grease-pencil moustache shenanigans.

    No knockouts, one knockdown, unanimous victory on points for Levine.

    • Old Gator - Feb 21, 2014 at 7:29 PM

      Well analyzed as to this particular exchange of volleys. We will have to agree to disagree, though, on whether they should shut up or not. By all means, I say, stoke the fires from the git-go and let’s have a great baseball rivalry in the AL East marked by envy, spite, acrimony and regional chauvinism.

      Er, I mean, showvinism.

      You might also want to consider a rating system by which we can evaluate this season’s upper-echelon exchanges as an ongoing project. Kinda like the “OJ-o-Meter” the New York Pestilence used to run at the bottom of page three to show guilt-innocence levels during his trial.

      • unclemosesgreen - Feb 21, 2014 at 9:35 PM

        Baseball front office types aside from the GM should be infrequently seen & never heard. Levine & Lucchino are always embarrassing to their respective organizations when they pop off. Just a couple of unscrupulous gasbag attorneys.

        They only cause harm when their feedback is valued. Levine’s problem is that new New Yankee Stadium is finished & there is virtually no further purpose for his pinstriped existence save for bloviating & cashing checks. Lucchino’s problem is that he’s Larry F’in Lucchino.

        Your point system feedback is well taken. It should be on a 10 point must system with the +/- per round pictorially represented by Vader heads or Chowdah-heads.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 21, 2014 at 10:56 PM

        Levine & Lucchino are always embarrassing to their respective organizations when they pop off. Just a couple of unscrupulous gasbag attorneys.

        I can’t speak for Lucchino, but Levine is like the drunk uncle you hope controls himself around the family gatherings, or else he starts breaking out the racial slurs and making everyone uncomfortable. How he was involved in the Tanaka negotiations and the Yanks still signed him is beyond me.

  3. sanclementejedi - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    Jeter wears lipstick.

    • ptfu - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:04 PM

      …from last night’s date?

      • sanclementejedi - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:08 PM

        with arod?

  4. uyf1950 - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:08 PM

    As a Yankees fans I can honestly say I don’t care what either one has to say. They should keep quiet and let their GM’s do the talking for their respective teams.

    • nymets4ever - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:10 PM

      Or better yet let the players do the talking.

      • 18thstreet - Feb 21, 2014 at 7:44 PM

        Bor-ring. I like rivalries.

  5. mikhelb - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:13 PM

    Lucchino is forgetting that the redsox won the WS with the second highest payroll ever for a winner (Yankees are in 1st with a bit over 20 millions of what the sox spent last year). Larry is always critic of the yankees free agents AND YET redsox last season relied heavily on free agents, with just 7 or 8 of their players being drafted and developed by them, the rest were free agents, one of the lowest amounts of homegrown players in a ws champ (yankees in their last championship 4 seasons ago had about 65% of homegrown players)… besides the sox are sitting again about 20-25 millions below the yankees in payroll…

    • nolasoxfan2012 - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:45 PM

      Thought I’d try bringing some facts that weren’t totally cherry-picked. Here’s how much higher the Yankees’ salary has been than the Red Sox for the last ten years:
      2004: +57M
      2005: +84M
      2006: +75M
      2007: +47M
      2008: +76M
      2009: +79M
      2010: +45M
      2011: +44M
      2012: +35M
      2013: +73M
      That’s an average difference of roughly $62M per season.

      • 18thstreet - Feb 21, 2014 at 7:49 PM

        Average, scmaverage. That’s $620 million.

        That’s enough to afford Robinson Cano for those 10 years and still have $380 million left over.

        That’s enough to afford Robinson Cano and Joey Votto for those team years and still have $155 million left over.

        That’s enough to afford Robinson Cano and Joey Votto and Masahiro Tanaka.

    • therooneyskilledwebster - Feb 21, 2014 at 10:46 PM

      In addition to you being a mile off ($73M) in the difference in the team’s payrolls, the Sox actually had 10 homegrown players see action during the W.S. Pedroia, Bogaerts, Middlebrooks (albeit only 2AB’s), Nava, Ellsbury, Lester, Buchholz, Doubront, Tazawa and Workman. The best case scenario aka Fantasy Land lineup for the bombers this year only projects a 40 year old short stop with no range and a soon to be F.A. Gardner as homegrown every day regulars in their lineup as well as Nova and Phelps as starters and a first time closer.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:38 AM

        Keep going you are missing more names junior, I will tell you when to stop. Typical idiot sox fan

      • therooneyskilledwebster - Feb 22, 2014 at 1:21 PM

        I will defer to your frequent display of expertise on idiocy. Typical fan of a once proud franchise slowly but surely circling the toilet drain that doubles for you as a punch bowl.

      • jimeejohnson - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:23 PM

        There’s nobody as stupid as PeaBrainHarry…NOBODY!

  6. sanclementejedi - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:15 PM
  7. chip56 - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    Clearly Lil Larry suffered a recent blow to the head that has caused him to forget the names Crawford, Beckett and Gonzalez as well as the chunk of change spent to talk to Dice K.

  8. thebadguyswon - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    Yeah, that statement by Lucchino is just BS. They did the exact same thing in 2012. Tried to buy the pennant.

    • 18thstreet - Feb 21, 2014 at 7:52 PM

      And yet they still spent $26 million less than the Yankees did. I wonder if CC Sabathia would have helped the 2012 Red Sox.

      The difference between the Yankees’ payroll and the Red Sox’ payroll is significant no matter how you slice it.

      • thebadguyswon - Feb 21, 2014 at 8:26 PM

        Right. But it’s disingenious to even insinuate that the Sox are some kind of model of fiscal restraint, which is EXACTLY what Lucchino is doing.

      • 18thstreet - Feb 22, 2014 at 9:26 AM

        I think it’s safe to say that the Red Sox are a wealthy team that spends a lot of money and spends it differently than the Yankees do.

        For the past decade, there’s been the Yankees, and then a yawning gap between them and whoever is in second. And then the top two through (say) eight teams are all in the same neighborhood when it comes to payroll. You can now add the Dodgers into that top tier. I’d expect the Red Sox would occasionally be in the third spot, but still close to the Phillies, Tigers and a handful of others.

        But the philosophy — for however long it lasts — is to spend money differently. The Red Sox are preferring to overpay on short-term contracts (Victorino being the clearest example) while hoarding draft picks and developing a strong minor league. So when Ellsbury became a free agent, the Sox could afford to lose him because they believe they have a replacement in Bradley. When Saltalamacchia became a free agent, they went with a low-cost short-term replacement because they believe the next crop of catchers will be ready by 2015. They can certainly afford McCann, but I can’t recall a single rumor where the Sox were supposed to be considering him. They don’t have to re-sign Drew because Xander Bogaerts is going to be the shortstop. The Yankees do things differently.

  9. jolink653 - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:32 PM

    Does Lucchino ever do anything besides complain about the Yankees? Every time he says something, it’s always some shot at the Yankees. I can’t believe he has the balls to complain about the Yankees spending money after his A-Gon/Crawford fiasco. And Randy Levine really needs to stop talking too. I’m getting sick of hearing his opinion on everything, and that’s coming from a Yankees fan.

    • nolasoxfan2012 - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:47 PM

      You should call it the Crawford fiasco. Everybody was happy with A-Gon. He just had to be traded in order to get rid of Crawford.

      • 18thstreet - Feb 22, 2014 at 9:37 AM

        But A-Gon did seem to be a different player than the Sox expected him to be. The power evaporated. I don’t think the initial deal to get him is one the Sox would make again, though they have to be happy that they only paid him for two+ years (one of which was on his modest San Diego contract, I believe) at the beginning of the contract, not at the end. Now he’s the Dodgers’ problem.

        I honestly have no idea what the Dodgers were thinking. Taking Beckett as part of the deal was so strange. Taking on almost all of the contracts made almost no sense, given how overpaid Crawford, Beckett and (to a lesser extent) Gonzales were. And that they gave up actual prospects, too? I mean, Webster and De La Rosa (like all pitching prospects) are gambles that will probably not pan out. But at the moment of the trade, I still would have rather had Webster than Beckett even BEFORE considering their salaries.

        Thank you, Magic. Thank you, thank you. Thank you.

    • rje49 - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:59 PM

      Yes, after Theo left, 3 mistakes were unloaded, and that started a change of direction as to signing free agents. The difference should be obvious. the Sox may have signed some free agents, but they weren’t the “big ones”. Compare that to this year; the Yankees have signed 3 of the top 5 free agents on the market. 3 of the top 5!
      The 2013 Sox, along with several other teams show you don’t have to spend big on the most expensive free agents to win the World Series.

      • 18thstreet - Feb 22, 2014 at 9:40 AM

        Well, you also have to get crazy lucky. If anyone in baseball believed Koji was going to be that good, he might have had a couple more suitors.

  10. bigharold - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    LL taking shots at the Yankees spending big money on free Gents. Pot meet kettle. Considering the last big money free agent RS signing was Carl Crawford perhaps he should just STFU.

    • 18thstreet - Feb 21, 2014 at 7:54 PM

      December 11, 2010, is the date the Crawford contract was finalized.

      He made a mistake in 2010. He really can never criticize anyone ever again.

    • rc33 - Feb 23, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      LL just won a ring. He most assuredly doesn’t have to shut up this offseason. Those are the rules.

  11. tfbuckfutter - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:52 PM

    Levine: “Haha, we stole Ellsbury from you, bitch!”
    Lucchino: “Haha, here’s your new group health insurance premiums.”
    Leving: “FFFFFfffuuuuuu…..”

    • banksatdixie - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:58 PM

      Maybe they will spend an extra 5 minutes printing money in the basement at YS3. Good one.

  12. Josh Brown - Feb 21, 2014 at 7:26 PM

    Two presidents that know little about actual baseball. Congrats, you both have a ton of money to spend. The fact is, it doesn’t make Lucchino better than Levine for not spending to the ceiling of Boston’s budget, it actually makes Larry a prick that pockets the leftover money that fans spend.

    As for the Yankees, they build through free agency and though throwing money around so much is annoying (not to mention unfair for teams in lower markets that don’t have that kind of money, Red Sox excluded) all is fair in the MLB until they institute a salary cap, which they should.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 21, 2014 at 7:35 PM

      all is fair in the MLB until they institute a salary cap, which they should.

      [For the 1000th time] why does MLB need a salary cap? Why should we artificially restrict the amount of money a player can make so that owners can get a larger slice of the pie?

      • Josh Brown - Feb 21, 2014 at 7:59 PM

        I would agree with that statement, but it’s the only way to maintain equality in the league.. You know, competitiveness?. A team with a payroll of $80 million cant compete with one with a $160 million.

      • tadthebad - Feb 21, 2014 at 8:21 PM

        What was the Rays’ payroll last season?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 21, 2014 at 11:05 PM

        I would agree with that statement, but it’s the only way to maintain equality in the league..

        the NFL/NBA/NHL all have salary caps, and yet it’s usually the same suspects in the conference finals/championships every year. I think the NBA has had like 8 different champions total in the last 25 years.

        A team with a payroll of $80 million cant compete with one with a $160 million.

        The A’s and Rays seem to be doing a bang up job fighting off those spending Mets and Cubs. And let’s not forget that the Yanks missed the playoffs last year, and the Sox had missed the playoffs the three prior seasons.

        Spending money != success in MLB. If only someone wrote a book about how you can spend Money wisely in base Ball…

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 21, 2014 at 11:10 PM

        I think the NBA has had like 8 different champions total in the last 25 years.

        Haha it’s even worse, 9 champions total in the last 34 years. It would have been 8 if the Heat beat the Mavericks.

    • chill1184 - Feb 21, 2014 at 8:38 PM

      You do realize that MLB free agency isn’t going to be as plentiful as years past right? Superstars aren’t reaching free agency anymore like they did five years ago, teams have wised up and try to get their stars locked down before they become super expensive.

      Most recent examples would be; Votto, McCutchen and Felix Hernandez. The Angels are also following that principal by trying to get Trout locked up

      Look at this offseason’s FA class the big star was Cano and that was pretty much it. All the other good free agents this year has one flaw or another to them (age, PED taint, etc) and thats hows its going to be. Teams want to build heavily through free agency are basically going to shell out a lot for flawed players. It’s no longer a viable route to rely on anymore.

      Getting the great players now a days requires you to have a good farm system. Either produce that great player or have the pieces to trade for one.

      As for a salary cap I honestly see no proof that it creates a competitive balance. Lets use the Buffalo Bills for example. Buffalo which is considered a small market competes with three big markets in NY, Boston and Miami. In theory a salary cap should make these four all on a level playing field right? Buffalo hasn’t made the playoffs since 1999 while the other three teams basically beat each other up with Boston usually being on top after all is said and done. In a sport in which rebuilding takes significantly less time.

      As church points out, all it does is restrict the market and allow owners and ownership groups to be bigger tools than most of them already are.

      • Josh Brown - Feb 22, 2014 at 12:37 PM

        The Buffalo Bills is just a poor example because they have spent money, it’s just been in the wrong places. My point is free agents go where the money is and I hear you about team’s locking up players early, BUT they don’t always have that option. If a player has a good agent, he’ll wait until he hits the market to maximize his contract. The fact is, the Bills have had the opportunity to compete with the Patriots, they just make poor decisions like guaranteeing Mario Williams $50 million. That’s just dumb lol.

        The Astros ($196 million), unless the situation is ideal, don’t have as much of a chance to compete with a team like Texas ($239 million) in their division because Texas can spend more dough.

        The only way to do it in a small market is to draft great. The Yankees far system sucks right now, but they just dropped 465 million on five big names in one offseason and will probably win the division. If you don’t see how the Yankees have an advantage there then I don’t know how else to say it.

        Owners don’t deserve more money, but each team’s budget should be relatively close.

    • louhudson23 - Feb 22, 2014 at 4:38 AM

      Yankees have spent money for the last 40+ years. They suffered mediocre to bad teams for many years in that period of time….It’s not what you spend,it’s how you spend it….If no one spends like the Yankees,then how does anyone besides the Yanks win the WS? Bad and inept management are far larger factors in a teams lack of success. The Yanks(and Sox) have the money to employ their respective strategies…other teams with less money use a different strategy and mindset to win….and some have no strategy and no idea WTF they are doing…….It is not the strategy that wins,but the execution of that strategy that makes winners…….

      • Josh Brown - Feb 22, 2014 at 12:24 PM

        Free agent players take the money. A team like the Houston Astros that has a revenue of about 196 million can’t grab a free agent over the Yankees, a team with 471 million in revenue. Push comes to shove, the Yankees will add an extra million to an offer.

        As for dumb GM’s, you’re absolutely right. There is a way to be successful with a smaller budget (see the Rays), BUT it’s far easier to be a GM in a big money area because if you can’t draft talent, you can buy it. Small markets have to draft perfectly to compete and that is the difference.

        I don’t like the idea of owners gaining more money, but if one team can spend 100 million in an offseason on 5 players and one team’s entire budget is less than that, there’s a disadvantage. I don’t get what is so hard to get about that.

  13. jt2663 - Feb 21, 2014 at 8:20 PM

    Yanks can wait for Jeter to retire so they take Tulowitzki away from the Rockies via a gigantic deal.

    • nymets4ever - Feb 21, 2014 at 8:38 PM

      Pretty sure Tulowitzki is signed for like the next decade, so “taking him away” would require prospects that the Yankees don’t have, not money…

      • 18thstreet - Feb 22, 2014 at 9:29 AM

        Agreed. And given the next MLB TV contract, one assumes that the Rockies will be able to afford Tulo just fine.

  14. rjostewart - Feb 21, 2014 at 9:22 PM

    Doesn’t the luxury tax function as a salary cap, essentially?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 21, 2014 at 11:12 PM

      Not really, as most leagues with a salary cap have far more punitive measures than just paying a tax. The NFL will dock you draft picks, and the NBA has a two tiered system with a MLB-esc luxury tax payment that escalates and then a hard cap.

  15. j0esixpack - Feb 21, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    Bravo to the powers that be here that allowed the phrase “wanking motion” to be used. Sure it’s crude compared to old style sports reporting. Yet it’s also accurate.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      You know, I don’t know that I’ve ever made the “wanking motion.”

  16. patpatriot7 - Feb 22, 2014 at 8:27 AM

    Certainly Levine knows “animals,” as he brings his animal rescue expertise to the “Feeble Empire!”
    Bobby Valentine is old history, only Yankee fans can talk about history. The Red Sox are all about today and the 21st century.

    If the new ways don’t work, the Yankees can always go back to their days of trying to buy a championship. So, what’s new here????????

  17. Bob - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    Just what we need: more Yankees-Red Sox talk. They’re both equally obnoxious. And I’m kinda tired of hearing from both of their presidents, who should do what good leaders do publicly and STFU.

  18. jimeejohnson - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall were great in that movie.

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