There are many different prophecies of those things that will signal the end times – falling skies, boiling seas, broken seals, death riding on a pale horse, dogs and cats living together, MASS HYSTERIA!
The Yankees failing to sign any of their top free agent targets did not make the list, though, so all you fans of the Bronx Bombers can rest easy tonight. Michael Stipe will not be singing his anthem song.
It is true that the Yankees were dealt a very difficult sucker-punch in the ego region as they were turned down (or perhaps not even considered) by both Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford, but as Babe Ruthless points out in his winning argument, this should not be taken at anything more than face value.
Because of unique circumstances, the New York Yankees were not the preferred destination for two baseball players. Nothing more, nothing less.
Don’t get me wrong. Loyal Homer is absolutely correct in stating that everyone (including us) expected the Yankees to land at least one big fish. The fact that they failed to do so this year raises questions about the allure the Yankees actually possess. But I just do not believe that you can allow the admittedly surprising decisions of two athletes to serve as a generalization of shifting tides in Major League Baseball.
There are two “usual” reasons that drive a free agent toward choosing one team over another – money, or the promise of a championship. Realistically speaking, are the New York Yankees lacking in either of those arenas?
As far as money is concerned, the Yankees have proven that they are still the standard bearers. They offered Cliff Lee a far more lucrative deal than the Phillies did, but as Babe Ruthless highlights, it became evident that money was not the most important factor in Cliff Lee weighing his options. Meanwhile, in terms of championship contention the Yankees still remain a favorite every year for the post-season. They are only one year removed from a World Series championship, and last year entered the ALCS as favorites to once again represent their League in the World Series.
The reasons why Crawford and Lee chose to play elsewhere this year are certainly intriguing, and I would recommend that Brian Cashman head back to the drawing board to analyze exactly where they went wrong. The business manager in me believes that there is ALWAYS room for improvement, and this could serve as a critical learning opportunity for a team that perhaps allowed arrogance to make them lazy in their pursuit of people who they REALLY wanted. But there is absolutely no reason to believe that it signifies a shift in the free agent mindset.
For any top-tier baseball free agent with a desire to earn a RIDICULOUS salary while at the same time contending ANNUALLY for a championship, the New York Yankees will continue to play the role of the alpha male.