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What if the Yankees are done shopping?

With the Red Sox essentially signing two third basemen last week, the Yankees are already prepping us for another roll of the dice on 2015.

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I keep coming back to one essential fact about the 2014 Yankees: over 162 games, they were outscored by 30 runs. All things being equal, the Yankees should have lost many more games than they won last season, just like 2013. They were kept afloat by a powerful bullpen and a few lucky breaks in close games. So the question for every fan is simple: How far away is this team from a turn-around?

I think far. Truthfully, I think the Yankees are closer to the bottom of the division than the top, but that's in large part because I don't share the ownership's newfound caution. "I shouldn’t have to spend $230 million in payroll to win a world championship," Hal insists. "No one else has."

No one has spent like the Yankees in the last twenty years, but no one has won like they have either. If Steinbrenner is willing to endure losing seasons, to express confidence in veterans, and to suffer the failure of some prospects at the big league level in order to reap the rewards of the occasional success, then it means the fans have to do the same. He wants to pocket the $40M difference between a $230M payroll and a $189M payroll; it's his money. In order for the team to spend like every other team, the fans have to brace themselves to lose like any other team.

With the Yankees having let the best third base options go to the Red Sox without much of a fight, they're already making noise about backing away from Chase Headley. Let the Giants give his bad back a fourth or fifth year; the Yankees are going to be too smart for that. They've got too many long term commitments anyways. They're going to trust the team they have.

So, at this point, I predict they'll let Alex Rodriguez play third until he can't. Maybe he'll break down in spring training, or maybe he'll make it into May before one hip or the other goes out. Then the Yankees will slide Martin Prado from second to third and call up Robert Refsnyder. They'll roll the dice, and we'll admit that no matter how poorly he hits, he's an improvement over Stephen Drew.

They'll make a strong bid for David Robertson, but the Astros or the Cubs (whose first round pick is protected) are going to swoop in with an extra year or an extra couple million dollars of annual salary. They'll move everyone up in the pecking order, pushing a David Phelps or a Bryan Mitchell into middle inning work until they push Jacob Lindgren onto the 25-man roster. And all the talking heads, myself included, will admire the Yankees' tough decision making.

The offense will sputter along, with Refsnyder and Brendan Ryan and the ghost of Carlos Beltran rounding out the bottom third. The pitching will be sharp, and take a lot of frustrating losses. If we're lucky, at the end of the year, perhaps the Yankees will win 86 or 87 games, and maybe it'll be the Yankees' turn to charge into the playoffs. Maybe it'll be Jacoby Ellsbury sliding into the left center field gap to steal hits away from Albert Pujols and Mike Trout. Maybe it'll be Masahiro Tanaka pitching inning after inning of Game 7 relief.

The Steinbrenners want the Yankees to live like any other team. And as fans, we'll get used to it. The Yankees have remained near the top in attendance for over a decade now, even throughout Plan 189 and A-Rod's steroid suspension and the quiet Octobers. I'll still make a trip or two to the Bronx every year, I'll pad the Orioles' or Nationals' attendance when the Yankees come to town, and the Bombers will remain the top road draw in baseball and play more night getaway games than any other team. I'm only rooting for the laundry anyways.