If this team didn't already get enough attention, they just set themselves up for a lot more. A recent spate of free-agent signings -- including a seven-year $161 million contract to CC Sabathia, a five-year $82 million contract to A.J. Burnett, and an eight-year $180 million contract to Mark Teixeira -- will essentially have the team baking under the spotlight this year.
Threads are being posted all over the place, by Yanks fans, Yanks haters, baseball fans in general, to different ends. Yanks fans are lauding the moves and sticking their tongues out at Red Sox fans. Yanks haters are wishing a pox on the team and its management. Baseball fans in general are wondering what such deals will do to the overall economics of the game.
I can tell you that I normally don't follow the Yankees all that closely. I hold nothing for or against the team. I am a Reds fan, and I have had trouble enough the last few years keeping my stomach up for watching them on a regular basis (good news is they are poised to improve in 2009). But I will also tell you that I will be watching the Yanks a little more closely this year, as will a lot of other fans, Yanks lovers, haters and everyone in between.
I admit I would laugh myself silly if the Yanks don't make it to the playoffs. The derision that would rain down upon the team, especially from their own fans, would be nothing short of spectacular. Their new stadium could go up in flames before the first season in it ends if the Yanks don't live up to the expectations they have created with this outrageous free spending.
It will be interesting to see what happens as the season progresses. Money can buy the best players, but it can't force those players to work well together. We are talking about highly-paid players with strong personalities. Hopefully, the management will be ready to forge a close-knit group coming out of spring training, or I would anticipate the possibility of a meltdown of monumental proportions.
Thanks, Yanks, for making the upcoming 2009 season that much more interesting!