I got this week's Sports Illustrated in the mail today, and it predictably had a feature on the Yankees. Normally I would skip it, but I know from experience that for the next few months there will be very little baseball in the news, and I'd best read it while I can.
It was pretty typical: extolling the virtues of each and every Yankees player and proclaiming them to be the best team. Is it true that the Bronx had the best team in MLB this year? Yes. But What the article glossed over was that this wasn't the team of destiny, it was simply the best team money could buy:
CC Sabathia: drafted by the Indians in 1998, and bought by New York (who, lest we forget, actually had to bid against themselves to convince him to sign) in December of 2008 for seven years and $161 million.
AJ Burnett: drafted by the Mets in 1995, and bought by the Yankees in 2008 for five years and $82.5 million.
Mark Teixeira: drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2001, and bought by New York in 2008 for eight years and $180 million.
Alex Rodriguez: drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 1993, and bought by New York for 10+ years and $275 million.
Johnny Damon: drafted by Kansas City in 1992, and purchased by New York in 2006 for four years and $52 million.
Hideki Matsui: drafted by the Yomiuri Giants in 1993, and bought by the Yankees in 2002 for eight years and $73 million.
Many of their other players were signed as "amateur free agents" (Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera, Andy Pettitte, Chien-Ming Wang, and Mariano Rivera, to name a few), meaning that the players often go to the highest bidder. In any type of free agency, the Yankees will get exactly what they want, because they'll go on spending sprees like last winter's, which brings me to the point of this post.
Tom Verducci's World Domination piece in this week's SI includes this infuriating snippet:
"There was one hitch. The Yankees, after doling out $423.5 million in free-agent contracts for Sabathia, Burnett, and first baseman Mark Teixeira, were not sure if they had any room left in the budget for Pettitte. 'It wasn't about Andy Pettitte,' the team's managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner says. 'We had a payroll in mind. I'm a financial guy, what can I say?'"
Uhm. WHAT? Correct me if I'm wrong, but Pettitte was asking for $10 million (he ended up with $5.5 million), which is less than 5% of the payroll... $10 million dollars is way out of the budget for many teams (Kansas City, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Baltimore...), but it is in no way too rich for New York's blood.
Honestly, I'm shocked that Steinbrenner even knew what a budget was, seeing as he was raised by the "See it, want it, buy it" George Steinbrenner, and is the most perfect example of a spoiled brat since Angelica Pickles. The fact that he wanted to cop out on Andy Pettitte - ANDY PETTITTE! - by pleading poverty is absolutely disgusting. Get a clue, Hal: if you don't want him, don't sign him, but don't insult every other franchise in baseball on the way.