Are the Yankees Using the Red Sox Formula to Win?

August 21, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

The Boston Globe‘s Tony Massarotti wrote an article today about how the Yankees have changed their ways. 

Now, Mazz has been on my you-know-what list since writing a whole article earlier this week about how the Sox benefited in 2004 and 2007 from accepting the wild card and resting up for the playoffs. 

Mazz even had quotes from Terry Francona that he said were from 2007 that he used to prove his point. Main problem—Sox won the division in 2007. I don’t know how that mistake is made and doesn’t get caught.


So today, Mazz writes that the Yankees aren’t just spending money to win, but rather, they are trying to develop their own players. And it is the contributions of these home grown players that are making the difference this year. 

The Sox have really focused on player development under Theo Epstein, and it has paid off. After producing very little from their own system, the Sox have paraded talent to the big league club from their minor league teams the last four seasons. 

Now the Yankees are doing the same, and Tony thinks this is what has helped propel the Yankees to the great season they are having now.

But is he right?

First, quickly, let me say—I have no problem with the Yankees or anyone spending all the money they can if it helps them win. I’d like some sort of real salary cap in baseball, but if there isn’t one, why shouldn’t the Yankees or anyone else spend what they can? 

I think the Sox sometimes try to pretend they don’t have all this money, and attempt to nickle-and-dime free agents, when they could be a little more generous in the pocket when it comes to getting what they need (the Mark Teixeira negotiations come to mind).

Back to Massarotti—he writes that the Red Sox have Dustin Pedroia; the Yankees have Robinson Cano. For Jon Lester, there is Joba Chamberlain. For Daniel Bard, Phil Hughes. For Jacoby Ellsbury, there is Melky Cabrera.

He then stops, because if he kept comparing home-grown talent, he’d have to acknowledge that the Sox also have Jonathan Papelbon, Kevin Youkilis, and Clay Buchholz on the team now.

Not to mention that of those home-grown players for the Sox, Pedroia, Ellsbury, Lester, Papelbon and Youkilis all were key ingredients in the ’07 World Series team.

But what about his argument that the Yankees aren’t spending money to try to win. Let’s look at some facts:

  • Of MLB’s top four highest paid players, three are Yankees—Alex Rodriguez, Teixeira, and Derek Jeter. Two of those contracts were signed since the end of the ’07 season.
  • Of the top 25 highest paid players, six are Yankees and none are Red Sox. Of the six Yankees, five have contracts signed since the end of 2007.
  • For their starting rotation to start the season plus closer, Yankees will pay $57 million; Sox under $35 million.
  • For their opening day lineups, Yankees will pay over $125 million this season; Sox under $70 million.
  • Yankees outspend the Red Sox at every single position, except right field.
  • As far as building from the farm system, the Yankees pay $85 million this year to four players signed as free agents the last two offseasons (A-Rod, Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett).
  • The highest paid Red Sox player is J.D. Drew at $14 million per season. Yankees have six guys who make more than that.
  • Yankees have nine players making over $10 million. Sox have four.

So while yes, the Yankees have had a few players chip in from their farm system, let’s no go crazy here, Tony. They are still about spending money to win.

The past two years they have spent money on the top players, and those players have performed very well. This is instead of wasting it on the Carl Pavanos of the world, like they did for a few seasons. 

The Sox on the other hand, when they have opened up the checkbook, have not spent wisely of late—J.D. Drew, Julio Lugo, John Smoltz, Dice-K, and then not landing Teixeira. 

Like I wrote earlier, I don’t think there is anything wrong with the Yankees spending money under the current rules. But there is no need to try to pretend the Yankees are anything other than what they are.

The Steinbrenners certainly wouldn’t apologize for it; I don’t think anyone else should either.

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