Sunday, December 28, 2008

Will All of the Yankees' Spending Buy Them a Playoff Spot?

The New York Yankees are back to their old ways again. A Steinbrenner is once again at the helm as the team attempts to buy every impact player they lay their sights on, throwing out millions of dollars more than any other team can match. So much for Brian Cashman letting the kids learn on the fly.
Just look at their most recent spending spree: CC Sabathia $161M, A.J. Burnett $82.5M, and Mark Teixeira $180M. Add it all up, and the Yanks have spent roughly $423.5M, in an economic recession, on just three players. Granted, they had a lot of bad contracts coming off the book after this past season, but that still does not diminish the "wow factor" that comes with spending almost half-a-billion dollars on just three players.
This George-like spending reminices back to the early 2000's, when the Yankee dynasty came to an end thanks to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Florida Marlins. Since the Yanks stopped winning, George told Cashman to do what ever is necessary to get the Yankees back to winning. What followed was one of the great George Steinbrenner spending sprees that would ultimately not help out the Yankees one bit.
They gave Carl Pavano his $39.95M over four years, during which he went and promptly pitched a grand total of 26 times for the Yanks. They gave Jason Giambi $120M over seven years, and while he put up pretty consistent numbers in the regular season, he along with the rest of the Yankees seemed to get the "October flu" and disappear. Bobby Abreu's contract was taken on after he was traded by my Philadelphia Phillies, all $64M plus a $16M club option for the '08 season.
So sure, they saw Pavano, Giambi, and Abreu's contracts expire and breathed a sigh of relief, because they can now go spend boatloads of money on three other players in a vain effort to get back to the promise land of October Championships.
But, once again the Yankees are not buying the right people if they want October success. Gone are the winning ways of Bernie Williams, Paul O'Neill, and the young Mariano Rivera. Just like they did in the early 2000's, the Yankees have gone out and spent an insane amount on players who have not won in October, when everything matters the most.
Mark Teixeira has not been on the winning side of any October Postseason Series in his Major League career. A.J. Burnett is a guy who, before the '08 season, has started 30+ games just once in his career: his previous contract year of 2005 with the Florida Marlins. CC Sabathia has made a grand total of five Postseason starts, with a cumulative ERA of 7.92 in just 25.0 total innings pitched, and a strikeout : walk ratio of just 12:11.
The Yankees' spending of late has completely gone back on Brain Cashman's idea of building from within, and it's not like the Yanks are bringing in proven winners either. They are bringing in the big names, with the big dollar signs, all of whom lack any good signs of October success.
Though for $423M, I think they could at least try SOMETHING else rather than go out and outbid everyone by at least $20M (ex. CC Sabathia), such as bringing in proven Postseason winners, instead of adding more of the likes of A-Rod to their team.

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