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Archive for March 16th, 2011

(In addition to appearing at The Captain’s Blog, this post is also being syndicated at TheYankeeAnalysts.)

During the spring, the Red Sox have been universally praised for opening up their checkbook in the offseason. Not only did the team acquire slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in a trade with the Padres, but intrepid GM Theo Epstein then blew all other suitors out of the water in his pursuit of Carl Crawford.

Carl Crawford was a centerpiece of the Red Sox offseason rebuilding plans (Photo: Getty Images).

The last time the Yankees went on a similar shopping spree (the 2009 offseason acquisitions of A.J. Burnett, CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira), the team wasn’t exactly lauded for its excess. The Yankees have long been a popular target for resentment, so the backlash wasn’t unexpected. The real irony, however, stems from the criticism GM Brian Cashman has received because didn’t make a big splash this offseason. In this regard, the team really is the Damn Yankees: they are damned when they spend, and damned when they don’t.

Based on the relative offseason activity (or inactivity in the Yankees’ case) of the two rivals, most “experts” have all but handed the division to the Red Sox. In fact, in his latest attempt to explain why he went to Philadelphia, Cliff Lee even cited Boston’s improvements as a deterrent to signing in New York. Of course, what Lee and so many others seem to be ignoring is the Yankees didn’t need either Gonzalez or Crawford because they already possessed comparable talent.

The comparison between Gonzalez and Teixeira is an easy one. Both players are slick fielding, power hitting first basemen who are widely regarded as cornerstone clubhouse guys. In other words, they are the type of player around whom you can build a championship. Not surprisingly, their statistics are also very similar. Over the last five seasons, Teixeira’s wOBA of .391 has been a tick better than Gonzalez’ rate of .373, but all things considered, it’s hard to give one player an advantage over the other. (more…)

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