A-Rod, Zito, Posada, Tejada, Johan, Manny, Maddux, Mussina
… C.C., A.J., Teixeira, … who’s got three syllables? Not Cashie…
had a late afternoon-into-evening meeting Tuesday, after a holiday
lunch at Game On, right at Fenway, under tens of TVs all telling me
that the Red Sox and Nationals were favorites for Teixeira. I returned
to my office that night to find that not only did he sign with the
Yankees, but I’d missed the first wave of reaction. It seemed easier
at that point just to stay on shore!
But as a Red Sox fan, one
can scarcely stay silent. My take is very simple: eight years at that
kind of money, with a no-trade (which the Sox don’t do anyway), would
not have been worth it.
The situation may have been more akin
to the Yankees’ first signing of A-Rod, but the timing made me think of
Johnny Damon. In both situations it seems clear that as a fan one can
get too wrapped up in a certain player. Championships seem to come
down to the players one might not have named in the top five at the
start of the year, whether it’s Mark Bellhorn or Curtis Leskanic or
Hideki Okajima (or even a salary dump named Mike Lowell). The
individuals with huge contracts? Well, you can start with A-Rod… but
don’t forget that Jeter doesn’t seem to have added any rings since he
signed his megadeal, either.
I’m well aware that I have to speak
carefully about money given my allegiance, but it’s silly to suggest
that the Yankees don’t constitute their own financial tier at the top,
with teams like the Red Sox, Mets and Dodgers in the next tier. The
Yankees can afford some ridiculous financial commitments. But I
confess that this makes me hope for a season for them either like last
year’s Tigers or even like the Mariners of 2001. I do suspect that the
Yankees have bought themselves a playoff berth in 2009. But if they
make it that far, I’ll have my fingers crossed for a collapse, even
more than I usually do!
And it’s funny… in the way that a
holiday party can make you never want to see rich food again, this
financial excess is making me feel rather distant with regard to Mr.
Boras’s client Jason Varitek. There’s a part of me that really thinks
if he wants the money, he should go find it. Don’t let the door hit
In the meantime, I’m glad that my boys Justin Masterson, Mike Bowden and Clay Buchholz are all still in the fold so far.
be doing a year-end photo retrospective, starting tomorrow; might have
to give the alarmingly photogenic Jacoby Ellsbury his own post!
(Title from “Gratitude (For Curt Flood)” from Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails by the Baseball Project. If you don’t have it, and didn’t get it for the holidays, go get it yourself NOW. It’s that good!)