New York Yankees: When will the sleeping bear awaken?


During most free agency periods, the New York Yankees are known to be the hunters. Their influx of revenues from the YES Network, team merchandise and robust ticket prices have made them one of the most financially spoiled teams in all of Major League Baseball. This is no secret.

Since the old days of 2004 when they were famously dubbed the “Evil Empire” by Red Sox President Larry Lucchino, the rest of the league has been catching up with the Yankees in terms of payroll and free agency. The Yanks used to be able to bully their way with their wallets if they saw a guy they wanted to play in pinstripes, but those days are slowly dwindling.

The death of tyrant owner George Steinbrenner may have more to do with this than anything. The Boss was never afraid of opening up his check book if it meant that his Yankees would be in contention for winning a championship. It was always World Series or bust in the eyes of Steinbrenner.

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Today’s Yankees are lead by the next generation of Steinbrenners — specifically Hal Steinbrenner — and they don’t seem to be nearly as fixated on the World Series as much as their father was. I’m not saying that the hunger for a championship is not still present, but the sense of urgency doesn’t feel nearly the same. Put it this way, George Steinbrenner would have never worried about ducking under any luxury tax line.

The combination of a new mindset from their owners and the way that money is streamlining through the rest of the Majors because of local TV contracts has suddenly restricted the Yankees from being the free agency behemoths they once were. This doesn’t mean that all 29 other teams still aren’t petrified of them, however.

League executives thought they were in on free agent pitcher Jon Lester:

Despite the apparent fear from rival GM’s, Brian Cashman and the Yankees never appeared to be in on the Lester sweepstakes. They have remained unusually dormant.

Their inactivity has been so shocking that super agent Scott Boras has begun poking a stick at Brian Cashman, hoping to have New York engage in the bidding for the services of free agent Max Scherzer, whom is his client.

All of the waiting and reluctance to spend on their own free agents (Brandon McCarthy and David Robertson) leads me to believe that Cashman has something big in store during the upcoming months. Just because he refrained from making noise during the most active Winter Meetings in recent memory doesn’t mean that he is going to sit on the roster as currently constructed.

Perhaps the Yankees are waiting for the market for Scherzer to climb down (he’s reportedly seeking upwards of a whopping $200 million). Maybe they are waiting to pull the trigger on a blockbuster trade for Troy Tulowitzki and thereby shift newly acquired Didi Gregorius over to second base.

There are a bunch of different directions the Yankees can go in the upcoming months, but you can always count on one thing; they will do something big.