Red Sox need to match the Yankees dollar for dollar and more
The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have long engaged in a baseball dollar war. Is that temporary “truce” now broken with New York’s plunge into free agency pitching?
A recent BSI article by Tim Starr made a very constructed point on the Red Sox essentially going into a rebuild mode with the possibility of New York Yankee fiscal aggression this offseason. I will take (half-heartedly) a different approach.
The big news south of Boston is the Yankees’ latest maneuver to enhance those so genetically blessed with a strong and productive arm. The prize in this year’s clown show that is known as free agency is Gerrit Cole whose contract is expected to set a new bar that even Olympic pole vault champion Thiago Braz could not challenge.
The Yankees have long enjoyed statistical accomplishments and one-upmanship on their rivals in the Athens of America, and that will be achieved when and if the sign Cole whose AAV (Annual Average Value) is expected to surprise that of David Price and even Zack Greinke. A big cheer to those who have to ride the D or B train to cavernous Yankee Stadium and fork over the month’s rent for a ticket.
The Yankees have displayed the ability long mastered by politicians of every ilk and that is talking out of both sides of their mouth. From the executive Star Chamber, a directive had (supposedly) been issued to maintain fiscal sanity and wiggle under the luxury tax threshold. That – to keep on a political theme – has gone the way all political promises do.
The professed desire to stay the course with financial accountability and stability that is now dented. Both sides had public pronouncements for fiscal sobriety but New York is off the wagon. Will Boston follow? They have to. The gauntlet has been thrown down.
This is ultimately good news for Boston, Mookie Betts, and any free agent in waiting now or next year – especially those capable of rudimentary skill at tossing the white sphere. Boston cannot sit by with the engine on idle, but use countermeasures – this is War, folks! And this war is fought with money that translates to the real munitions – the players.
Traditionally, both parties tend to pilfer from each other. We’ll grab a Mike Torrez and you can grab a Johnny Damon or better yet a Jacoby Ellsbury. We rarely trade bodies, but certainly, enjoy the pointed name-calling. Just the idea of burying a David Ortiz jersey at the sacred temple in the Bronx! Beautiful! Almost as good as the “Evil Empire.” Thankfully a massive Yankee choke that would challenge a Heimlich expert was forever erased as “1918″ has gone the way of fiscal sense.
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Boston has not been reluctant to spend, but far too often spend and spend wisely have been mutually exclusive terms. The Red Sox have now put the proverbial kibosh of free-spending and have suddenly become Ebenezer Scrooge before he became a sweetheart. But, alas, they do have “flexibility.” What does that mean? Can they now go into the luxury tax stratosphere?
Fans are an emotional lot and when it comes to the Yankees that emotion runs into blood sports territory. Management knows this. They (management) are also fully aware that countermeasures are expected as the most natural response to Yankee fiscal aggressiveness. The ownership certainly has the green and the fan base has the plastic and equity line for the tickets. We’ll pay. We’ll grouse. But we’ll show up. The corporate term is “flexibility.”
The Red Sox and Betts are at loggerheads regarding his contract. The team is certainly wary of his pending arbitration that could net Mr. Five-Tool a near $30 Million for 2020. Beyond that, the sky or Bryce Harper is the limit. Boston management is now in a bind. A trade will signify surrender.
That bind is funneled right down the fiscal highway to hell since the Red Sox need pitching. But pitching comes in categories such as do you want a staff composed of Hector Velazquez’s? Or do you wish to do the full monty and go for the crème de la crème such as a Stephen Strasburg type, when available? Do you build up your bullpen with castoffs or go premium?
The Yankee move has the potential to take the latest corporate missives regarding cost control and simply bury them as a bad idea. This is not the Royals, but the Red Sox! We may not beat you on the field but we will bury you in expenditures. Open up the wallet, Mr. Henry, and give Bloom the scratch.