Recently, the New York Yankees and Mark Teixeira agreed on an 8-year contract that could be worth up to $180 million.
The Boston Red Sox reportedly offered the slugging 1st baseman a contract in the range of $170 million.
The situation is reminiscent of the thwarted Alex Rodriquez trade to the Red Sox in the winter of 2003 (although Teixeira was a free agent and Rodriquez was under contract).
Last week, it looked like the Red Sox had a deal in place to land Teixeira. Then on Thursday, the Red Sox announced they were out of the Teixeira sweepstakes.
In December of 2003, Commissioner Bud Selig had actually approved the trade that would have sent Rodriquez to Boston for Manny Ramirez but the players union did not (the deal called for Ramirez to return $28 million in salary).
In both the Rodriquez trade and Teixeira deal, the Yankees quietly hung around while deals were being thrown about and then pounced when the opportunity finally arose. In both cases, the Yankees got their man and the Red Sox didn’t.
In 2009 off season, the Red Sox have done little to counter the onslaught of Yankee roster moves.
Of course the Yankees have made such seismic free agent signings that the rest of the league combined has yet to counter.
Don’t fault the Yankees for their nearly half-a-billion dollar spending spree this winter. They are using their chief resource—money—to field a competitive team.
Don’t fault the Red Sox for staying pat. They too are using their chief resource—general manager Theo Epstein’s leadership and organization skills.
There was a time when the Red Sox would have countered the Yankees transaction for transaction. Thanks to Epstein and his staff, that time has passed—the Red Sox won’t make a roster move just to make a roster move.
Besides, the Red Sox don’t have to.
Yankees finished third in the AL East and failed to win 90 games. A battered and bruised Red Sox team was one game away from returning to the World Series.
The Yankees desperately needed to obtain starting pitching. Their staff finished last season ranked eighth in the American League in pitching with a 4.28 ERA. The Red Sox already have their five-man rotation set.
Yes, the Red Sox could use a first baseman, but they do have a highly touted prospect in Lars Anderson. The Red Sox need a young catcher and will probably acquire one via a quiet, uneventful trade.
The aforementioned roster moves don’t sound sexy, especially compared to the Yankees off-season roster moves, but then again the Red Sox don’t have far to go to catch the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees do.
The Red Sox’s Offseason:
- Red Sox exercised their 2009 option on pitcher Tim Wakefield.
- 1st Baseman Mark Kotsay filed for free agency and likely won’t return to the Red Sox.
- Red Sox part ways with pitcher Mike Timlin.
- Centerfielder Coco Crisp traded to the Kansas City Royals for righthanded relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez.
- Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox agreed to a contract extension.
- Red Sox sign 22-year-old Japanese pitcher Junichi Tazawa to a three year contract.
- Catcher Jason Varitek declines Red Sox’s “offer” of arbitration making him a free agent. Varitek has yet to receive a contract offer from a MLB team.
- Kevin Youkilis’s agent announces his client and the Red Sox will not reach a long-term contract agreement this offseason. The Gold Glove winning first basemen will now decide between arbitration and signing a one-year contract.