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- Add Astros’ owner Drayton McLane to those who see what the Yankees are doing, and then voices an interest in a salary cap:
“We would love to have a salary cap, but the (players’) union has been very resistant to that,” McLane said last week. …
“The Yankees are the Yankees and are always going to be in a
position that is unique to the game from the standpoint of the revenues and what they’re capable of doing,” Astros general manager Ed Wade said. …
“Our revenues jumped going into a new park (in 2000), but nowhere in the league of the Yankees,” McLane said. “They will certainly generate more revenue in their new stadium. We still have tough, tough economic times, and I hope they allot for that.” …
… the club is bracing to be hit hard as corporate sponsors rethink how to spend their advertising dollars in a troubled economy. The Astros lost one of their major sponsors earlier this year when Landmark Chevrolet went bankrupt.
“These are challenging times for banks and car dealerships,” McLane said. “None of us have knowledge of what the economy is going to do, and that’s a concern for everyone.”
- SI.com’s Frank Deford rails against the Yankees spending, and will henceforth refer to them as the “Antoinettes”:
Now, let us give the devil its due. The Bronx Bombers play by the rules. They pay their luxury tax on time, without whining. One of their executives even says that the team’s fans view the Antoinettes as a “sacred trust,” and that part of the attendant liturgy is that the club will pour profits back into inventory —- even if it means bidding against itself.
But still, there is a point, whether the economy is boom or bust, when one team’s extravagance is so gross that it tarnishes the sense of competition. New York’s dominance a half-century ago severely diminished the whole American League. It was the Yankees and the seven dwarfs. The financial spectacle that the Antoinettes have put on display this off-season really does come close to trampling on the spirit of the game. In sport, the prime idea should be to root for our team —- not against the other fellows. The Antoinettes, by their excess, imperil that emotional equation and risk doing damage to the very thing they seek to dominate.
- Also at SI.com, Ben Reiter has a brief analysis that seems to stress that even with the three major additions, the Yanks may not be as good as some people think.
- ReelSportsFan.com offers this video clip of an interview with Andy Pettitte, conducted prior to the signings.
- The Boston Globe’s Tony Massarotti suggests the Sox only have themselves to blame for not nabbing Teixeira:
…. let’s make something clear here: The Red Sox had a chance. Any suggestion that the Sox could not (and can not) compete for free agents with New York is utter nonsense because the Sox have signed high-profile free agents in the past.
For a moment, let’s look at the cases of Daisuke Matsuzaka and J.D. Drew, the former of whom, admittedly, was not a true free agent. Still, when the Sox bid for Matsuzaka’s rights, they blew away the field with a bid of $51.11 million that was 30-40 percent higher than any other offer. Why is this relevant? Because the Sox did the same for Drew, flattening him with a $70 million offer that left him with little choice but to sign.
With Teixeira, the Sox were not nearly as aggressive. The bottom line is that other teams (excluding the Yankees) were in the same neighborhood, which allowed Teixeira to drag out the process. Had the Sox come out of the gate with, say, an eight-year offer for $184 million, maybe they could have gotten the deal done. Maybe it would have taken $192 million. But if the Sox came out strong — very strong — and gave Teixeira a short window to accept, their chances might have been better.
If Teixeira then had balked, the Sox would have had their answer: Teixeira never wanted to come here.
Instead, the Sox left the door open for the Yankees to swoop in, which created an array of issues. Most notably, by the time Teixeira made his decision, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett both had signed with New York, making the Yankees a more attractive destination; earlier on, that was not the case. By allowing the process to drag, the Sox enhanced New York’s position.
When you want a free agent, you knock him over. You give more than anyone else to eliminate all doubt. If he doesn’t accept, he doesn’t want to play for you.
[My take: It could also be that the Sox never really had a chance, given the noise we heard after the signing that Teixeira felt the Sox had misled other teams about his intentions during the 1998 amateur draft.]
- The Red Sox have fought back against the Yankees free-wheeling spending by signing FAs Brad Penny and Josh Bard each to one-year deals.
[My take: Having signed Bard and Penny, will any game involving this particular battery be advertised as a discount offering of "Shakespeare in the (Fenway) Park? (aka .... 'The Bard for a Penny')" Will games in Papelbon takes over for Brad be known as "Pennysavers"? Will 'Simpsons' TV series and PIXAR movie director Brad Bird get confused by the Red Sox now having acquired Brad and a Bard, but no longer having a Byrd? Will Penny be upset at the Yankees for messing up what could have been the best-named battery ever (Penny-Cash)? Will I ever get back to giving Banter readers the news?]
- At MLBTradeRumors.com, Tim Dierkes takes an early look at the 2010 options.
[My take: There are no current Yanks on the list to worry about, and no players of those likely not to be picked up would seemingly appeal to the Bombers.]
- The Hot Stove Blog over at MLB.com reports that the Dodgers have some interest in ex-Yankee Bobby Abreu.
- For those of you thinking of seeing the 2009 Yanks at Spring Training, Pete Abe has his annual travel guide.
- MLB.com has announced that its new network will be available to New York City-based customers on the following channels: DirecTV (213), RCN (391), Time Warner (174).
- He never was a Yankee, but we must offer a happy 73rd birthday to Brooklyn’s own Sandy Koufax. Similarly, a happy 77th birthday to Brooklynite Frank Torre.
- On this date in 1995, FA pitcher Kenny Rogers is signed by the Yankees to a four-year contract.
- On this date in 2002, 40-year old Roger Clemens agrees to a $10.1 million, one-year deal with the New York Yankees.