|Yankees Spending Spree Guarantees Nothing|
Written by Zach Greenberg (Contact & Archive) on December 25, 2008
The New York Yankees exemplify a spendthrift perfectly: They recklessly spend money and sign big-name players to comparatively big contracts. And where does that get them? Well, last year they finished third place in the AL East. They were blown out by the youthful Rays, ousted by the rival Red Sox, and competitively challenged for the glamorous third-place position by the Toronto Blue Jays. So, after being left out of the postseason for the first time in over a decade, obvious changes were needed...right?
Is there any better way to explain the situation than to say that the Yankees and Mets don’t understand baseball? We all know they have infinite money stemming from impressive and big-pocketed ownerships. However, buying players does not make anyone World Series Champs. Even by looking at the Yankees’ third-place finish last year, spending big money does not guarantee them anything, even a measly playoff spot. Take a look at the 2008 Champs -- the Philadelphia Phillies. Their active roster cost them approximately $95.5 million, according to espn.com. Compare that with the Yankees, who spent a little over $207 million on their active roster alone.
No personal grudge against New York teams but the point is crystal clear -- spending loads of money for players past their prime will not bring home the Championship. The Yankees and the Mets sign their Santanas, their Sabathias, and their K-Rods and still fail to realize the old adage that ONE PLAYER DOES NOT MAKE A TEAM.
Both teams still have inconsistent lineups and pitching staffs that revolve around a star or a couple big name pitchers who are on the downside of their career. Professional sports teams in general are still following this sickening trend. A salary cap in baseball would lesson the sting and shock of seeing anybody get that much money to play a game when there is record unemployment in this country and hard times have hit almost everywhere.
The Yankees will be well improved in 2009. How could they not be? Adding Teixera and Sabathia were solid moves that were necessary, but these players will improve a Yankee team that, quite frankly, needed strengthening. As my fellow writer Adam Adkins said, I believe the AJ Burnett signing was a mistake -- but only time will tell. The Yankees will be vastly improved, but how good? Good enough to win it all?
“We demonstrated last year that payroll doesn’t necessarily decide the standings,” said Tampa Bay Rays general manager Andrew Friedman in an article for Sporting News.
One important element to a successful team is chemistry, players fusing their talents together and working as one. However, buying good players does not ensure a team of any sort of chemistry whatsoever, nor does it guarantee these superstars will play with each other to the best of their ability. The Philadelphia Phillies attained outstanding chemistry through their postseason run; for example, their infield runs arguably the most efficient double play combo in the league. This comes through practice and teamwork, both steps towards reaching the ultimate "team chemistry." The Phillies showed how important it really is and how coming together as a team essentially creates wonders. The Yankees do not have any chemistry; sure, they have great players with great individual talents, but when molded together, they do not form a team. Chemistry was a big part of the Phillies run to the World Series. I can tell you that the Yankees have missed the boat. They were active and signed three great players. But when mixed with the other 22 players, they won't form chemistry. Similiarly to the Dallas Cowboys, they are just a team packed with great individual talent.
The Yankees still have a lot of work to do. These big acquisitions will help. But will they be enough to host another parade? Doubtful.