Well That Makes Sense...

Money had long ago become an object for the Northernmost teams along I-95 -- the off season is all about strategy right now: What pitcher on our team counterbalances a batter on their team? What ballpark improvements can counterbalance their new ballpark? And on and on.

Last night the Yankees most definitely outmaneuvered the Red Sox to the point where it's almost a joke. Signing Mark Teixeira not only gives them the most coveted free agent hitter of 2009, it also puts the Red Sox in an extremely awkward corner. Who is the second-most coveted free agent hitter of 2009? Old friend Manuel "Manny" Aristides Ramirez -- that's who. How convenient that the Red Sox and Manny Ramirez had a messier breakup than Brad and Jen this past summer.

The Yankees outspent the Red Sox yet again, and can afford to keep doing so -- revenues from their brand new stadium can almost guarantee this. I can't wait to sit behind a pole in Fenway's right field grandstand next year, directly facing center field and thinking to myself "I really appreciate the ownership throwing the idea of a new stadium away in order to maintain the historical integrity of this place. I don't miss the amenities or financial benefits of something new. More restaurants under the stands, please!"

Still, not all is lost -- the Red Sox were a healthy Josh Beckett away from going to the World Series in 2008, so they certainly won't be a quiet team this year. They still have the 2008 MVP and a 2008 MVP candidate in Pedroia and Youklis, respectively. They have an amazing, young hitter in Jason Bay. Jonathan Papelbon is one of the best closers in the game.

Things do need to happen if they want to get over that hump: the rotation as a whole needs to pick it up a level -- Tim Wakefield needs to retire or move to the pen and the team needs a 4th and 5th starter; Don Corleone needs to grab Jacoby Ellsbury by the face and yell at him to "act like a man!" Shortstop and Catcher positions are still big question marks.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, the Yankees have fewer question marks. Really, just two -- the back end of their rotation and the bullpen. If the Yankees knew what was good for them, they'd return Joba Chamberlain to the pen and groom him to be the closer of the future, leaving the 4th and 5th starter spots open and introducing the question of who takes over the 7th inning.

Even if The Yankees need more help in their bullpen, they figure to just outscore opponents enough to make up for any shortcomings.

It's going to be an interesting 2009.


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