The Yankees started off as the Baltimore Orioles in 1901. Now this team is in no way affiliated with the Orioles of today. Back then, the Orioles franchise was called the St. Louis Browns. The Yanks finished their first season slightly above .500 thanks to legendary manager John McGraw. They started off with stars like Roger Bresnahan, Jimmy Williams, Cy Seymour, Bill Keister, Joe McGinnity, and Harry Howell. They made smart draft moves that would build the greatest professional sports team in America.
The Yankees won seven World Series titles after the year 1974 which means that they won 20 titles before 1974. This year is significant, because that was the year that free agency was first implemented. The only way to exercise spending power is to sign players. When you trade, you can acquire prospects that will do incredible in the future while shaving off payroll so using trading as a way of exercising spending power does not work. In 1973, the New York Yankees had many high level players. These players are Thurman Munson, Horace Clarke, Graig Nettles, Bobby Murcer, Roy White, Matty Alou, Jim Ray Hart, Ron Blomberg, Sparky Lyle, and Mel Stottlemyre. None of those ten players were signed as free agents.
The Steinbrenner family made New York a spending powerhouse. They did this by being unselfish. Teams today have the opportunity to spend more money as long as the owners are willing to pump money into the team. Steinbrenner invested much of his pocket money into the Yankees. Earlier this year, the Florida Marlins franchise came under fire for not spending enough. To some this sounds like an outrageous thing to get in trouble for, but the owners of the Marlins were keeping most of the money for themselves and not spending anything. They even kept the revenue sharing money that is split evenly between all 30 teams.
There is also another thing to keep in mind here. There is a luxury tax for teams that spend. The Yankees are always hit the hardest by the luxury tax, but they still manage. Every team has the opportunity to have a payroll of 100 million dollars. For instance, the Rays could do that but their owner is not willing to give up the money. That is the reason why there will be no effort made to re-sign fan favorite and team star Carl Crawford this off season. Crawford will surely sign, it is just that Tampa does not want to make the effort to pay the money.
A team can have all the money in the world, but if they do not know what to do with it; it does them no good. This past offseason, the Boston Red Sox spent 18.7 million dollars per year on starting pitcher John Lackey. That insane amount of money produced terrible numbers. He had a bloated .277 opponents batting average, a 1.42 WHIP, and a terrible 4.40 ERA. On the offensive side, the Yankees rivals the New York Mets spent 16.5 million dollars per year on outfielder Jason Bay this past free agency too. Bay finished the season injured and let’s just say that he hit .259 with 6 homers and less than 50 RBIs and less than 50 runs scored in 401 plate appearances. He also struck out 91 times.
By contrast, the Yankees signed CC Sabathia in the 2009 off season. It is true they paid him 24 million dollars a year, but he has certainly produced to that amount. That year he had a 3.37 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP, 19 Wins, 2 complete games, and 197 strikeouts in a workhorse of 230 innings over 34 games started. Yeah, Sabathia was healthy. They spent the money, but they have gotten the bang out of the buck in both of CC’s seasons. This year he won 21 games. In terms of WAR, he has justified his contract. Sabathia also pushed them to a World Series title. Boston and the Mets both missed the playoffs this year.
In conclusion, the Yankees are an amazing team and built their spending power strategically and through will of their own even as other owners kept their own money. They won the majority of their titles after the free agent period. The Bronx Bombers also use their money wisely, unlike other teams.