Mortimus's picture

    Are the Yankees' Free Agent Signings...

    The Scariest Economic Indicator of all?!?!

    Wall Street is a barren stretch of gloom and tumbleweed, unemployment could sniff double digits in '09, yet the Yankees are spending money as if its 'the day after tomorrow.'

    $423.5 million in total salary
    Mark Teixiera - 8 years, $180 million
    C.C. Sabathia - 7 years, $161 million
    A.J. Burnett - 5 years, $82.5 million

    In less than 10 days the Pinstripes poured through enough money to make even Dennis Kozlowski blush.

    Contrary to popular belief the Yankees until recently had tightened the reins on their free-spending ways. In an effort to mimic the Red Sox roster model they opted to grow their team via the farm system (Joba Chamberlain, Melky Cabrera, Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes, Jose Tabata) while snuffing high-ticketed FA's not snuggling late night with Madonna.

    So why I ask during the worst economic crisis in 70 years are Steinbrenner and Co. engaging in a Roman orgy while drinking Stolichynaya Vodka spewing from Ice-Sculpted Michelangelo's penis?

    Sure, you could throw out several decent arguments: over $80 million coming off the books with expiring contracts to Giambi, Pavano, Abreu and Mussina. Potential for massive revenue if all the seats in "Yankee Stadium The Sequel" manage to suck all the currency from the hot-dog fed asses of its inhabitants.

    Yes, all valid.

    But I'm going to throw out a third - One that foolishly transforms the Yanks into financial savants rather than short-sighted cash burning arsonists.

    With the dollar the strongest in years, and the Fed recycling the Amazon into trillions over night, I'm postulating that the Yankees might be locking in long term deals knowing that the inherent values of these contracts will be halved or thirded??? in the next few years.

    I know this is a crazy conspiracy theory - thinking that anyone in New York has any idea how to invest wisely. But is it that crazy? Nobody else in the league can offer this much money now, the 2009 free-agent market is notably dry, and when the economy picks up sometime in early 2010 hyper-inflation could wipe the faces off our dollars and make these contracts look as though they are valued in yen.

    Sure, I'll have no way of knowing whether I'm right for a little while (though don't worry - I promise I'll pound this digital code over and over if we're back to bartering in 24 months) but be warned: If Manny in a week or so asks for the 3rd and 4th years of his contracts to be paid out in scoops of gold dust I suggest you start finding a hedge for your dollar based bank account.



    not a bad theory, mort. but i think you can just chalk it up to boiling steinbrenner impatience. and if this doesnt work, ill be shocked. its one thing to spend a lot of money on aging, steroid-enhanced hitting stars and expect to win, but they've addressed the most important key to victory.

    ive always said if i were a GM, id spend almost my entire budget on starting pitching, and i guarantee you Id win the pennant unless the injury bug hit in a big way. the difference between a .250 hitter and a .300 hitter is about a hit every four or five games, and even if you replace a lineup of average hitters and stack it with five or six .300-plus hitters, you're talking about about maybe adding an additional run per game to your lineup, which will win you a fair number of ballgames but not as much as a shutdown starting pitcher.

    i'd just fill out my lineup with .250 sluggers and other average batters with above-average on-base percentages, and spend my wad on pitching. almost all teams nowadays have a strong no. 1, decent no. 2 pitcher, and then some weak shit filling out the rest of the rotation. those weak pitchers are starting about 60% of the games! What if you had four or five aces (the Rays were close last year, and you saw what happened) and at least an average bullpen ... again, avoid a major injury run and i guarantee a pennant, or at least a division title

    a major weakness to the theory, and its a big one, is that in a seven- and particularly five-game playoff series, the five aces wouldnt matter as much since three is really all you need.

    Agree about the pitching. I still have no idea why Johan Santana wasn't fetching $30 mill a year last season, and why the Yankees were largely absent in his pursuit. 

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