Saturday, July 10, 2010

Crisis averted as Yankees don't get Cliff Lee

Major League Baseball avoided a mini-crisis yesterday as Cliff Lee was traded to the Texas Rangers instead of the hated New York Yankees.

Imagine the uproar if the Yankees, already with one of the deepest starting rotations in baseball, actually landed Lee? The screams from some baseball experts and fans of other teams would have been relentless, some calling for a salary cap or at least increased penalties for rising payrolls. Not that the Yankees care too much.

But I care. The only benefit of those fruitless years without a championship was that they proved that money isn't everything, that having the highest payroll does not guarantee the ultimate success. So when the Yankees finally won again last year, even though they threw a lot of money at the best free agents in the offseason, it was about them having a great team with strong chemistry more than it was about the money. Trading for Lee when they already have the best record in baseball and don't really need him would have changed that perception. Even I, a die-hard Yankees fan, thought it was overkill.

The Yankees can't be faulted for trying to make the trade, even if it does seems pretty greedy to trade for one of the best pitchers in baseball when they already have three legitimate aces. They saw an opportunity and tried to take it. It didn't work out for them and they are quite unhappy about it. But it will help them to refocus on what they actually do need to improve their ballclub. And it avoids a mutiny in baseball.

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