The Texas Rangers have won the rights to negotiate with Yu Darvish, the 25-year-old Japanese pitching phenom, for a record-high $51.7 million posting fee. We know that much. We know that much. What we don't know is what, if anything, failing to get him signifies for the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. Or what the failure of the bitter rivals, baseball's two marquee franchises, means for baseball.
When reports came out that the Yankees were unlikely to win the bid I speculated that perhaps "the free-spending, win-at-all-costs days of the Yankees" were gone. Now that the reality is here, and we know that neither the Yankees nor the Red Sox came remotely close to bidding enough money gain the rights to Darvish, I have to think of that as more fuel for that particular fire.
Writing for the Chicago Tribune, Phil Rogers addresses this topic, asking "Where were the Yankees and Red Sox?"
Not so long ago, major league baseball revolved around the two beasts of the American League East. But not so much anymore. And apparently that's OK with the Yankees and Red Sox.
Rogers speculates that perhaps the massive luxury tax the Yankees have been paying due to their free spending in recent years has finally discouraged the organization.
The other reality is this. Hal Steinbrenner does not appear to have the win-at-all-costs passion his father had. He is a businessman first, which means the bottom line is generating revenue and making money, not spending it just because you can and winding up giving your hard-earned cash away to other less fortunate owners with their hands out.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman says "the Yankees are open for business." That business, though, appears to be run differently than what Yankees fans -- and fans all around baseball -- have come to expect.
Question is this: If the 'Evil Empire' no longer truly exists, if the Yankees are going to conduct business in a business-like fashion and not simply throw their money around, is that good or bad for baseball?
I guess we will find out, because things certainly seem different in the Bronx these days.