After a season riddled with pesky injuries, circus like distractions, (ala the Arod scandal) and production that fell way below what the payroll dished out, 2013 was a season to forget. With Yankee legends Marino Rivera and Andy Petite saying farewell, and a 189 million dollar luxury tax handcuff hanging over them it seemed an inevitable rebuilding process was soon to come. To top it all off before the Yankee fans and organization could get the bad taste out of their mouths from missing the playoffs they got to watch their archrival Boston Red Sox hoist up the championship trophy. The era of excellence that was started by the late boss, George Steinbrenner seemed all but ready to turn the page, but then the offseason came and, hold it, not so fast…
With all the talk about being conservative the Steinbrenner boys counteracted a disappointing season by going to battle with their father’s favorite weapon of choice, the check book. The Yankees overwhelmed the front office competitors and swooped international star pitcher Masairo Tanaka off the market, revamped their outfield with big names Jocoby Ellsberry and Carlos Beltran, and filled a glaring weakness at catcher with a perianal star in Brian McCann. It turns out that talk is cheap and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The Steinbrenner’s constantly preached the value of spending wisely and the importance of keeping under the luxury tax, but in the end the money was tossed around as cavalier as one would expect from someone playing a make believe game of monopoly.
Will the Yankees be back in the playoff race, or even be strong enough to compete or win a title? That remains to be seen. The reality is the Yankees used their economic advantage and on paper they have made themselves a better team. They were even smart enough not to overpay second baseman Robinson Cano, who at the age of 31 can easily start declining at the start of next year, let alone at the back end of a ten year deal they would have had to cough up. The Yankees in my opinion were careful but were also willing to take risks and up the ante in order to make this team championship caliber again.
Regardless of whether they win the championship, or even bounce back and make the playoffs which I fully expect them to do, the Steinbrenner boys did their old man proud. They tried to get under the luxury tax but knew that ultimately whether or not they could do it, building a championship contender was priority number one. At the cost of their bottom line they emptied they’re pockets and did what they felt was needed to get this team back on the map. People will naysay and ridicule in retrospect if things don’t work out this season, that's what people do. They'll talk about how the Yankees over play and look to bye championships and so on. However, the Yankee fan should be very satisfied with their organization’s willingness to win. With moves still there to be made, Hank and Hal have had an offseason worthy of carrying their father’s Steinbrenner name. The Yankee fan should be excited not just for this year, but for many years to come. The boss may no longer be with us, but his championship organization has and will continue to run just as he left it. The fears of the heirs being cheap and less motivated to win then their old man should be taken about as seriously as the infamous 189 million dollar cap limit for this off season, as well as the Tooth fairy and the Boogie man.