Last week winter meetings resembled more of a thrift bargain store than Black Friday at Macy's, well for every team not named the Yankees. While most teams were being fiscally responsible and keeping an eye on the possible drop in attendance, the Yankees were flexing their large market muscles and kicking sand on the mid and small market teams. Don't get me wrong the Red Sox, Angels, and Dodgers all made trips to the Scott Boras Bizarre, were if you have to ask you can't afford, but ended up as window shoppers and not buyers.
The Yankees signed CC Sabathia to the largest contract ever given to a pitcher and then promptly went out and signed A.J. Burnett for the paltry sum of 82.5 million. If the MLB hot stove rumors are true the Yankees are about to make a run at signing Derek Lowe too. Whats next? Mark Texeira? Manny Ramirez?
While the only teams that appear to be bidding for big ticket items this offseason are large market teams, the only one not making an attempt at keeping a budget are the Yankees. I understand that people will point to the Mets signing of Francisco Rodriguez and trading for J.J Putz as not being fiscally responsible, but I say that it is a New York thing. When teams play free agent poker, it is a huge advantage to be able to go all in and not worry about drawing a Carl Pavano.
If the current economic times does not signal a need for a salary cap then nothing does. The competitive balance is no longer a balance but a slope that mid and small market teams can't climb. So Tampa should cheer for E. Longoria while they have him and Detroit for Justin Verlander before they become Yankees.