I hate to pick on the New York Yankees when they’re down. Oh, no I don’t. Who am I kidding?
I hate the Yankees, now more than ever. I hate everything they stand for. And when their fans tell me their $206,738,389 payroll is a result of the team’s success and market, I hate them, too.
Watching Texas, with its $55,168,114 payroll, dismantle the Yankees in the American League Championship Series was the best entertainment of the week. Not until it was happening did I realize how much enjoyment it would provide me.
I thought, after the Rangers blew a lead in Game 1, that the series was over. But then the resolve of the Rangers started to become apparent. And the more of the Rangers I watched, the more I liked.
But it was just as much about watching the Yankees go down.
One problem: New York has an endless supply of money and will be throwing it around during the winter. The Yankees, motivated by their postseason failure, will go all in. They won’t blink an eye at the prospect of a $240 million payroll, perhaps beyond.
And the player they’ll most want, left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee, will be trying to lead the Texas Rangers to a world championship.
Lee, who makes just less than $10 million per season, will be the free-agent prize of the offseason. He’ll command perhaps twice as much as he’s now making and there are only a handful of teams with the need and the deep pockets to make a pitch like that.
Hopefully, the Rangers will pursue Lee, too. Isn’t it more fun to beat the Yankees than it is to help them beat someone else? Texas owner Nolan Ryan will certainly increase payroll and the Rangers will have some hefty salaries coming off the books. Lee, surely, loved his time in Texas. But I’m not naive; I know it’s all about the money with major league players, whose career longevity is never guaranteed. If the Yankees offer the 31-year-old Lee five years and $110 million, he’ll be hard-pressed to turn it down.CrawfordThe Yankees also need help in the outfield and will probably be major players for Carl Crawford, a free-agent-to-be from the Tampa Bay Rays. Crawford is the best position player on the free-agent market.
New York has to deal with a couple of big free agents of its own, shortstop Derek Jeter and closer Mariano Rivera. Other teams might have to let players like that go because of economics. Not the Yankees. Of course, not the Yankees. Whatever it takes.
The Yankees’ best player now is second baseman Robinson Cano, who is signed to a four-year deal that runs through 2011, with team options in 2012 and ‘13. He’s a relative bargain; signed for $10 million next season and to $14.5 million and $15 million in his option years.
Left-hander C.C. Sabathia is signed through 2015. First baseman Mark Teixeira is signed through 2016. Alex Rodriguez is signed through 2017. They were of the four highest-paid players in baseball this season. The other: Jeter, of course.
Ten Yankees made more than $10 million in 2010:
A.J. Burnett $16,500,000
Lance Berkman $14,500,000 (most of this salary was paid by Houston)
Jorge Posada $13,100,000
Andy Pettitte $11,750,000 (the Brett Favre of baseball might retire, but he might not)
Kerry Wood $10,500,00
* I have to admit, it’s kind of fun wondering what to expect from the Kansas Jayhawks today in their 6 p.m. game against Texas A&M at Memorial Stadium.
KU is a 13 1/2-point underdog. At home. To a really questionable team. That speaks volumes.
I can’t imagine the Kansas team I’ve seen in its past two games can beat even a sub-par A&M team. So while the betting line seems exorbitant, it’s probably pretty close.
* I see where the Miami Heat has lost small forward Mike Miller, a threat with his outside shooting, for three months. It’s not going to be as easy as everybody thinks for the Heat. Miller’s loss is key because with three superstars, role players are a necessity. Miami will have one fewer until after the new year.
* Some NFL picks for the Sunday and Monday games:
Atlanta 24, Cincinnati 21
Chicago 21, Washington 17
Kansas City 30, Jacksonville 14
Pittsburgh 24, Miami 20
Tennessee 20, Philadelphia 17
St. Louis 24, Tampa Bay 17
New England 27, San Diego 21
Green Bay 27, Minnesota 21
New York Giants 20, Dallas 17
My Facebook Friend
Kenny MossmanMossmanI first came across Kenny when he was a basketball player at Winfield High in 1977. The Vikings were playing Wichita Heights in Winfield and I was there to cover the game. I don’t remember Kenny, per se, but I remember the game. Heights, as usual, dominated. Kenny, I came to learn later, had been matched up against Darnell Valentine and he didn’t get the better of that situation. Anyway, later in life, Kenny became a friend. He is a former sports information director at Kansas State and . . . well, I’ll just let Kenny explain.
“I’m the Senior Associate AD for Communications at Oklahoma. Also did stints at Kansas State and Illinois State in athletics media relations before coming here. I’m originally from Winfield and proud of my degree from Southwestern and my roots in South Central Kansas. First got to know you by reading the Eagle as an avid sports fans and have always loved the irony of the fact that you covered some of my HS games (Heights at Winfield for one). But we’re FB friends because of our work association and friendship through the years. I have always looked forward to the times we can chat and just hang out.”
* Last Wednesday’s Facebook Friend was Dave Phillips, a former sports radio talk-show host in Wichita, general manager of the Wichita Wings and one of the strangest faces ever put on television in the local market for KAKE. Anyway, Dave complained to me afterward that I didn’t include a picture of him on the blog. I thought I was doing him a favor. But nonetheless, I felt bad. Dave’s ego is delicate, like that of most people who have been or are currently on television. So, today I’m going to include a picture of Dave, with his son, Michael, at a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. I hate the Cubs, but I don’t hate Dave. So here’s the picture.