Do Sox and Yankees have money left to spend?

December, 27, 2009

ESPN The Magazine senior writer Buster Olney wrote this weekend about the dwindling market for big ticket free agents (Insider), namely left fielders Jason Bay and Matt Holliday.

As part of the blog entry, he touched on how much money the Red Sox and Yankees have left to spend this offseason:

The other day, I wrote here that the Red Sox had only about $5 million left to spend, according to a source. And, at the same time that Boston is going through its version of cost containment, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has reiterated that the Yankees' budget line, believed to be just under $200 million, is a hard cap. "Let's face it, they could step in and get anybody they wanted," said a general manager. "It's like a billionaire saying he couldn't afford a new vacation home in Hawaii." Granted. But for their own reasons, the Red Sox and Yankees appear to have lines they won't cross for now (check back before the trade deadline, because presumably the purse strings will be loosened for those two teams).

Later in the piece, Olney touched upon what moves the Red Sox and Yankees might have left in them this winter:

If [the Red Sox and Yankees] stick to their budgets, they would appear to at least have some moderate-sized bullets to fire off. Is this enough for the Yankees to re-sign Johnny Damon? Probably not, unless he was willing to take far, far less than what he asked for just two weeks ago. Do the Red Sox have a way to squeeze Bay onto their roster? Perhaps, but to do so, they would probably have to dump the newly signed Mike Cameron either into a trade or into a much lesser role than what was discussed.

Remember, budgets can grow or shrink according to the whims of the multimillionaires who control them. Magglio Ordonez knows this firsthand, given how Tigers owner Mike Ilitch allowed the outfielder's $18.5 million option for 2010 to vest at a time when it was not financially prudent to do so -- for the sake of winning last summer.



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