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Recession-proof Yankees give their fans another Christmas gift

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Shortly after the New York Yankees signed left-hander CC Sabathia to the largest contract ever handed out to a pitcher, Florida Marlins president David Samson stated that in these economic conditions they were behaving like "drunken sailors."

Well Mr. Samson's head must have been spinning on Tuesday afternoon when he learned that the Yankees had agreed in principle with first baseman Mark Teixeira on an eight-year deal believed to be worth $180 million.

For those keeping score at home, the Yankees have now doled out approximately $423.5 million this offseason on Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and now Teixeira.

Wow.

I guess Samson has a point considering his team's payroll clocked in at around $23 million this past season, or just about $4 million less than the luxury tax bill Major League Baseball recently handed the Yankees.

But who are Samson, me, or anyone else for that matter to tell the Yankees how to spend their money. Sure they spend the most money - by a lot - but they also make the most money.

By the way what did Samson's owners do with their revenue-sharing check they received this year?

Sure it is sad that the Yankees can spend close to a half a billion dollars on three players and the Pittsburgh Pirates' big move this winter is a three- year, $11 million contract extension to catcher Ryan Doumit. But what are you going to do? Until something changes that is the way it is going to be.

As big of a problem as the Yankees outrageous salaries may be, just as big of a problem are the owners who do not re-invest in their team and pocket those revenue sharing checks that are a lot higher these days thanks to the Bronx Bombers.

Not that anyone wants to hear this, but the Yankees shed close to $90 million in payroll from last year's club, and they have still yet to match that number with these three signings. The plan is for them to still be under $200 million and they are going to add another pitcher, likely Andy Pettitte for a one- year, $10 million contract.

Plus, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Xavier Nady are all slated to hit the free agent market after this coming year, a season in which they will open a new stadium, which will make them even more money.

With a weak free agent market next year, the Yankees basically did all their spending for this year and next in the last two weeks.

Teixeira, though, is just an absolute no-brainer for Brian Cashman and the Yankees. I thought he was the guy they should have targeted all along - even more so than Sabathia. I never thought they would, though.

He is a 28-year- old switch-hitter, who in a bad season is still going to give you .300, 30 HR and 100 RBI. Not to mention he is probably the team's best defensive first baseman since Don Mattingly, Teixeira's idol while growing up in Maryland.

Forget his gaudy numbers for a second, the Yankees basically stole Teixeira from their hated division rival Boston Red Sox, who were believed to be the front-runners all along for his services.

What does Boston do next? It could probably stand pat since it was second in the AL in runs scored last season. But, usually when one of these teams makes a move like this, the other answers right back. Unfortunately though the biggest bat left on the market - Manny Ramirez - is not an option for the Red Sox. Adam Dunn or Pat Burrell could be an option.

Now does this move make the Yanks the team to beat next year? I'm not sure. We are still a long way from deciding any of that. I'd say this, though, their chances are a lot higher with the additions of the best pitcher and best all- around player on the market, considering they won 89 games a year ago with a patchwork rotation and a slew of injuries.

Anyway you spin it, whether you like the Yankees or not, this is a tremendous coup for them. Now for baseball, that's a different story.

Good luck getting that salary cap, though.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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