Thursday, December 9, 2010

Baseball Hot Stove: The Rich Get Richer

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The off-season wheelin' and dealin' in Major League Baseball is smokin'.

But as usual, it's a 2 horse race in a field of 30 horses. As the old saying goes, the rich get richer, the mighty get mightier.

In the battle of the empires, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox are at it again. Here are some of their power moves so far--

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1. The Red Sox acquired All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the San Diego Padres in exchange for, ahem, 3 minor leaguers. It was a forgone conclusion that Gonzalez was going to leave cash-strapped San Diego and go to a team with deep pockets. So it didn't surprise me when the mighty Red Sox snatched him. I guess that's the 21st century reality for expansion-era teams. Back in the days when small markets were able to compete it was ok, but in today's game-- fugetaboudit! The sad reality is, there's no loot in puny San Diego, so why would a superstar like Gonzalez dwell there?

2. The Red Sox have also signed superstar Carl Crawford of the Tampa Bay Rays to a monster contract (7 years, $142 million). Again, another expansion team with no loot, who has to let it's star players go to the lands of gold.

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3. The New York Yankees resigned "The Captain" Derek Jeter to a 3-year, $51 million deal with a 4th-year player option. No surprise there 'cause Jeter wasn't going anywhere. What was surprising was all the drama surrounding the negotiations. Even an angry Jeter never imagined the soap opera which unfolded the last two months. In his mind he was a Yankee for life and negotiating a new contract would be as easy as 1-2-3. Well my friend, not with the cocky New York Yankees and the "take no prisoners" New York media. Even you ain't above the law.

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4. As for Cliff Lee-- the Yankees have made him an offer he can't refuse. Their offer was originally for 6 years and nearly $140 million but once they heard the news that Crawford had signed with the Red Sox, they upped it to a harder-to-reject seven-year deal. If Lee stays with the Texas Rangers (another expansion team with no loot) it's because he likes it there and money isn't his number one priority.

But there is no doubt that the Yankees and Red Sox with their deep pockets are running the show this winter. Again.

And last but not least--

As for the "once upon a time juggernauts" in the AL East, the Baltimore Orioles, well, they acquired Mark "I'll guarantee you 200 strikeouts a year" Reynolds from the Arizona Diamondbacks and some J.J. dude from the Minnesota Twins.

And no, not old-school J.J. from Good Times. This is some J.J. Hardy dude. I don't think the Orioles can afford "Kid Dynamite".

Speaking of "Kid Dynamite"-- I wonder what he's up to?

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