This is my 684th post of 2008, which is a new record for my site for one year. (I know, I've only been doing this site for just less than three years, but a record is still a record.) I guess I never have any shortage of things to write about.
And now we see that the New York Yankees are at it again. They reached an agreement with free agent pitcher A. J. Burnett on a five-year, $82.5 million deal yesterday. For those of you scoring at home, they have now ponied up nearly a quarter-billion dollars to two free agent starting pitchers this week. (I thought they were committed to developing pitchers from their system? So much for sticking with a plan.)
Listen, the Yankees have the money to do it, and they will be ripped in some circles for doing it. But as we know, their recent record in flinging money at mercenary ballplayers hasn't translated into any championships. And I'm very glad the Red Sox weren't serious about Burnett. While he won 18 games last year with a 4.07 ERA for Toronto, he's not at all durable, having gone on the DL 10 times in his ten-year career (as opposed to C.C. Sabathia, who has never been on the DL).
Or as my friend Eddie emailed me yesterday, "The Yankees have just signed Ed Whitson again." Or my friend Adam wrote me, "Here's the new Carl Pavano."
Whether Burnett turns out to be an able replacement for Mike Mussina or Andy Pettitte, or a bust like Whitson or Pavano, the Yankees are taking a serious risk with this guy.
And now I read today that the MFY are haggling over money with the Milwaukee Brewers over the Mike Cameron-for-Melky Cabrera deal, which has been held up. New York wants the Brewers to either take free agent bust Kei Igawa off their hands (and take his contract) or eat most of Cameron's $10 million contract for 2009.
Talk about nerve. They are spending like drunken sailors on shore leave and expect Milwaukee to give them some salary relief for Cameron. (Why do you think the Brewers are trading him?) If I'm with the Brewers I'd be more than a little offended at that.
But I'm even more offended by the Yankees asking New York City taxpayers to foot the bill for an additional $259 million in tax-exempt bonds and $111 million in taxable bonds for their new stadium. If they've got the cash to throw at Sabathia and Burnett (and I can't tell you how many times I've heard in recent days that the Yankees are "printing money" these days), THEY can pay for the rest of the new "palace" they are about to open in the Bronx next year.
If they want to spend their own money on such extravagance, fine. As long as it doesn't come out of my pocket. But you know there's some kind of sweetheart deal out there for them. I really wish Michael Bloomberg would tell them to take a walk, but I wouldn't bet on it. (The Mets also asked for a $89 million handout as well for Citi Field. Like the Yankees, they have the cash, they can pay for it.)
You'll see Carl Pavano (and probably Ed Whitson) in a Yankee uniform next year before the city stands up to the Steinbrenners and refuses them the corporate welfare they seek. Bet on it.