Attention MLB Shoppers: The New York Yankees are still the New York Yankees.
So you thought the Yankees were going to be on a budget, watch their paper and count their pennies in Da Bronx? Worse, you really thought that the Yankees were going to let the Boston Red Sox keep winning World Series rings – three in the last nine seasons?
No way, no how.
The Yankees sent a message loud and clear to Major League Baseball: They are back in the game and still have mad loot to make it rain.
They sent shockwaves through Baseball America with the signing of Jacoby Ellsbury to an eye-popping seven-year, $153 million contract on Tuesday night. The Yankees not only upgraded their centerfielder spot with Ellsbury, but also stole a major contributor to the Red Sox's 2013 championship team.
Yes, they got stronger and made the team they must defeated in the American League East weaker at the same time. For Yankees fans, it doesn't get sweeter than that.
The Yankees have been busy, shopping this offseason like Christmas is tomorrow. They have both a huge shopping cart and apparently, a black Amex card, too.
The first move was to land catcher Brian McCann from the Atlanta Braves. McCann got a five-year, $85-million deal. Hello, right field. McCann might hit 30 homers for the Yankees.
The Yankees claim they aren't done, they have more money and players to get. The Ellsbury signing, according to the Yanks, doesn't mean they don't have room for their All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano.
The two sides are still far apart on a new contract. Cano's people want $300 million for 10 years. The Yankees are looking to spend more like $180 million for six years.
Deep down, the Yankees know there aren't many clubs that can meet Cano's demands, although Seattle is making noise. Despite the Mariners, they are still hopeful Cano will eventually sign and return home to Yankee Stadium.
But in recent years, the Yankees made a habit of stealing talent from their division rival. They landed Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens and Johnny Damon. All came to Da Bronx and won at least one championship.
And don't forget the deal that started it all. In 1919, the Red Sox sold the Yankees Babe Ruth for $100,000.
Hence, the Yankees have no reason to be against getting a Red Sox to wear Yankee pinstripes. Almost all of these deals worked out for them.
The Yankees, with all their winning traditions, have won the World Series just once in the last 13 seasons. That was back in 2009, which isn’t that long ago unless you're a Yankee fan. Though they make the playoffs almost every year, missing it just twice since 1995, the Yankees don't want to just make the postseason. They want to win it all.
The last time the Yankees went on a shopping spree, they spent $400 million to land CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett. It turned into the franchise's 27th World Series title in '09.
So far, the Yankees have shelled out more than $200 million, and Cano hasn't even been signed.
Most thought it would be impossible for the Yankees to reload again, given their own self-imposed budget. For years now, we've heard that magic number of $189 million, the mark New York didn't want their payroll to exceed. The Yankees have no interest in paying a hefty luxury tax for exceeding MLB's payroll limit without penalty. But there was plenty of room when the offseason started. The Yankees' payroll stood at just $115 million, not close to the danger zone.
So it should come as no surprise where the Yankees are right now. The Yankees are a business, a winning organization. They always make the moves necessary to get their team a chance to compete for a title. That's the Yankees' way.
The Yankees, derailed by a rash of injuries this past season, didn't make the playoffs. They could have justified it by basically standing pat and figuring they will compete again when everybody is healthy.
Nope. The Yankees knew they had to reload, add major pieces to the roster. Enter Ellsbury.
Yankees' fans should be excited. The rest of the league should be afraid, very afraid – especially the Red Sox.