Yankees and their wallet…November 17, 2008
In the world of professional sports, no team has the financial resources of the New York Yankees nor the financial freedom to sign as many players for as much as they would like to pay them. Other sports teams are bound by salary caps or in small-market cities that generate little revenue.
After seeing the unofficial reports that the Yankees have offered C.C. Sabathia a six year contract for $140 million, which averages out to $23.3 million dollars a year, it just blew my mind how much the Yankees are willing to spend. Not that I didn’t think they would offer C.C. a king’s ransom, but the fact that they continue to spend so much money in an effort to sign the best players out there (Alex Rodriguez, Bobby Abreu, Johnny Damon, Carl Pavano, Roger Clemens, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi, Randy Johnson) to name a few. Their thinking is that if they can buy the best players out there, they should be winning World Championships every year. No one has proved that thinking to be so wrong better than the Yankees since 2000. They have spent over 1.2 BILLION DOLLARS since 2000 in an effort to become World Champs once again, only to be ousted in the playoffs every year until 2008, when they didn’t EVEN MAKE the playoffs.
It amazes me how they can continue to think that this strategy works in the ultra-parity world of Major League Baseball. Since the Yankees lost in the 2001 World Series to the Arizona Diamondbacks, there have been 7 different Champions; Diamondbacks, Angels, Marlins, Red Sox, White Sox, Cardinals, and Phillies. Baseball today is full of stat-head General Managers such as Billy Beane of the Oakland Athletics who understand that winning baseball is about key statistics, generating runs, rock-solid pitching, and most of all… Team Chemistry.
The Yankees are a team of high-salaried stars who only care about the statisics or personal fame they generate. None of them have a sense of urgency except for their Captain, Derek Jeter. But even the legendary captain has not been able to escape criticism for not being able to light a fire under the other players. Baseball insiders say that the Yankees clubhouse is very detached, none of that buddy-buddy, brotherhood of hard-nosed players who just want to win. The players don’t hang out together after games, go out for a steak and beer, take in a music show. They all go their own separate ways. So how is a team who is that distanced expected to win year in, year out?
As shown by previous World Series winners, they key to winning is to create a team that has a bond, common struggles, common goals, and a burning desire to prove to everyone that they want to be the best. The Yankees have too many over-paid players who take their days and paychecks for granted.
If the Yankees brass wants to win, they should take a real long hard look at the original dynasty of the 1996-2000 Yankees and see that this was a team of chemistry, a team who wanted to win so badly they would play for free, who won relying on each other and creating that bond. It’s safe to say that they got their hands in the cookie bowl and wanted more, thinking that they could recreate those glory days by buying the best players available.
So, my advice to Brian Cashman (Yankees General Manager) and Hank Steinbrenner (the owner), they should not sign C.C. Sabathia and instead spend that $140 million in search for a few hard-nosed players who would teach the Yankees the value of playing hard nonetheless of their paychecks. If they do that, then they just might win a World Series before their core of stars gets too old.
And it’s not the end of the world if you don’t win a World Series every year… just ask the Chicago Cubs who have an immensely loyal fan base, and they haven’t won a World Series since… 1908. Over a hundred years ago…
And you think life is unfair for Yankee fans who are upset they haven’t seen a parade down Broadway Street since 2000…