If you Googled the phrase “buy a championship,” I suspect that the words “New York Yankees” would appear in approximately 92% of the results that came back. For non-Yankees fans it’s simply part of the brand now. The assumption, held for years, that money is no object in the Bronx.
Except money is an object. At least relatively speaking. Sure, the Yankees spend more than anyone else, but they do have a budget and an increasing reluctance to break that budget. If you don’t believe me, go read Marc Carig’s story about that in the Star-Ledger this morning.
These Yankees work with budgets — yes, still the largest war chest in the game — but limits nonetheless … according to people with knowledge of the team’s thinking who requested anonymity to speak candidly, the Yankees came away from the GM meetings Thursday skeptical of their willingness to meet the asking price of top free agents such as pitcher C.J. Wilson or Japanese star pitcher Yu Darvish.
Indeed, it’s so bad that Brian Cashman is actually sleeping on the streets like a homeless person!
I guess there’s a philosophical discussion to be had about the nature of the Yankees budget. I mean, Bill Gates could have a budget. May in fact have one. As a point of principle he doesn’t want to be wasteful and he wants to set a good example for his kids, so he makes it clear that, say, the family can’t eat out at restaurants more than X times a month or something. Say what you want about that, but it is, technically speaking, a budget. It’s just not the same kind of thing as one that the family with the unemployed parents and the big medical bills have.
And it seems to me that the key thing about a budget is that, if you can simply choose to break it and the breaking of it brings no real negative financial consequences, it was really only a budget in the most narrow, technical sense of that term.