Thursday, October 1, 2009

The "Buying Championships" Argument That Never Dies - The Matt Holliday Edition

On a Yankees off day during a week of meaningless games, what better topic to tackle than next year's free agents? Sadly, in a chain of otherwise innocent emails with occasional NSI Blogger Bobby, today's intended topic of conversation devolved into the tired old salary cap/payroll debate. You know it is serious when I ditch the "royal we" and get personal.

At some point recently, I decided that the Yankees need to at least make a run at signing Matt Holliday during the offseason. Sharing my opinion solicited the following responde (emphasis mine):
I LOVE this year's team because Swish is doing so well, Jeter (my favorite guy) is having a great year, and Tex is just such a good hitter. Plus like we were saying yesterday, A-Rod has seemingly learned more about hitting this year. With that said, at what point do you say enough is enough with the money? Assuming we win it all this year, maybe the next new challenge should be winning without outspending the next closest team by like $50 mi?
Bobby is usually a pretty smart guy, so I can only assume that there are other Yankees fans out there who share this opinion. I hope this doesn't at all get political, but I get really annoyed by this communist shit. This is a society built on capitalism. The Yankees are one of the biggest brands in the world, and they subsidize the rest of baseball to the tune of $100 million per year in revenue sharing. There is no salary cap in Major League Baseball, and until there is, I won’t even entertain the idea of a "challenge to not outspend the other teams by $50 million."

Put it this way - If the Yankees don’t flex their financial muscles (within the system), someone else will. Prime example(that Buster Olney pointed out earlier this week) – Magglio Ordonez had a HUGE hit the other day for the Tigers – a hit that might punch their ticket to the postseason. If he was on most other teams in baseball, he wouldn’t have had the chance to even be playing in the game. For most other teams, he would have been riding the bench, or possibly even sent home. Why? Because Ordonez has an option of $18 million for next year that vests if he reached a certain number of ABs in 2009. Sometime this month, the Tigers' owner decided that even though it was a HORRIBLY overpriced contract for 2009, he had the money to spend and decided to just let him accumulate the ABs and pay the piper next year.

My point is, the Yankees are doing everyone a disservice if they don't put the revenue they earn from being one of the biggest brands on the planet back into the team. For the Yankees to all of a sudden “challenge themselves’ because they won one World Series in 8 years is an asinine thought.

Matt Holliday is a plus defender, one of the best hitters in the game and 2009 will be his age 30 season. I haven't crunched the payroll numbers, I don't know Brian Cashman's 2010 budget, I haven't considered the draft picks that the Yankees would have to give up to land Holliday. All I know is that Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui are in their late 30’s and without contracts for 2010. The Yankees are failing as an organization if they don’t at least kick the tires on what it will take to suit Holliday up in pinstripes.

I can see the frustration from smaller market fans when the Yankees go out and sign the top free agents every year. I really can. However, I’ll never fall into the trap of feeling guilty about the Yankees advantages. They have earned them.
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