We're a few weeks into the free agency season, and the most exciting thing the Yankees have done is sign Chris Young. Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox went ahead and signed arguably the two best position players on the market in Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. The Yankees checked in on the availability of 36 year-old Jimmy Rollins while the Red Sox have been linked to all potentially available starting pitchers, what with their glut of starting outfielders and much-lauded farm system. So it's been flashy deals and exciting trade thoughts in Boston and tumbleweeds in New York. Since one team can't do anything without the other being mentioned, some began to wonder if the Red Sox spree would cause the Yankees to panic and start throwing bags of money out the window.
Fortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case. Quite frankly, the Yankees basing any significant part of their offseason plans on the actions of another team would be completely asinine. The Red Sox won 71 games and have a skeleton starting staff. They had no choice but to be aggressive in free agency, and they signed two talented players to high-risk, high-reward deals. Either of those players would have significantly helped the Yankees, but it's not as though they went to Boston as bargains. The two teams have different rosters with different organizational depth and different payrolls. The Yankees need to focus on what's best for their team the same way the Red Sox must do for theirs. Putting blinders on and reacting to what one out of 29 other teams is doing would only be foolish.
The Yankees obviously have their share of roster deficiencies, so it's understandably frustrating seeing a primary rival go to great lengths to improve their team. And I'm not particularly thrilled when I hear nothing about progressions with David Robertson or that three years is the maximum for Chase Headley. But "winning" the offseason over the Red Sox is not the goal here. Otherwise, we should be asking for the Yankees to drop $200 million on Max Scherzer and trade every prospect not tied down for Troy Tulowitzki. Brian Cashman and the Yankees' brass need to improve the team in the best ways, not necessarily the flashiest ones. Losing the back page to the Red Sox is not a real issue of concern.
It's not to say it doesn't matter that the Red Sox have improved. Any team in the AL East getting better makes it harder for the Yankees in 2015. But there's no real reason to be more focused on what the Red Sox are doing than say Toronto signing Russell Martin and trading for Josh Donaldson or the Orioles' ability to re-sign Nelson Cruz. The Yankees don't get bonus points for being better than the Red Sox, as impossible as it may seem considering the incessant coverage their rivalry gets. Now if they are competing for the services of the same free agent, that's when it matters what each team is up to. Perhaps there will be some very necessary focus on "Red Sox Versus Yankees: Round 15,672" in the pursuit of Jon Lester. Or the Cubs will sign him for all the money and render the angle pointless and moot. As it often is.