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.
OXON HILL, MD — Edwin Encarnacion began the offseason as, arguably, the second most desirable free agent on the market. As the Winter Meetings approach their end, however, he is a man without a team. And may not have a team any time soon.
Many teams have been rumored to be checking in on Encarnacion, but the defining trait of his free agency thus far has been clubs taking a pass. The most recent one being the Rangers, who are reported to simply not have the money to sign him, despite him filling a clear offensive need in Texas. Maybe the Rangers would be more competitive on the free agent market if they had a new stadium. Who knows?
The Blue Jays, for whom he most recently played, offered him a four-year, $80 million deal that most figured was a lowball, and when he rejected it, they moved on to Kendrys Morales. The Red Sox acquired Mitch Moreland. The Yankees are reported to be passing. The most recent team linked to Encarnacion is the Indians, who are reported to have an offer out to him, but at this point it’s likely far lower than what most free agent watchers thought he might get a few weeks ago. A four-year, $90 million deal did not seem crazy for him in October. In December, there is speculation that he could be had for $60 million over that same term which, frankly, would be a bargain. That’s less than Mark Melancon, the third best closer on the market, got from the Giants.
There have been a lot of remarkable things that have happened in the past few weeks, but one of the most unexpected things would be one of the top bats in the game getting second-tier closer money.
OXON HILL, MD — Bill King has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
King, one of the iconic voices of Bay Area sports, was known for his handlebar mustache and his signature “Holy Toledo!” exclamation. King broadcast A’s games for 25 seasons, from 1981 through 2005. He likewise broadcast Oakland Raiders and Golden State Warriors games and got his start as an announcer for the Giants in the late 1950s after they moved to San Francisco.
King passed away in October 2005. With the Frick Award, however, he has now been immortalized among baseball broadcasters.