Abreu trade may push Yanks into playoffs

What about that trade between the Phillies and Yankees? Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle for four minor leaguers.

Maybe it’s just sour grapes pushing my pen here — I’m a Red Sox fan and my team nurses a half-game lead over the Yanks — but this trade was obscene. Abreu and Lidle for four minor leaguers? None of them remarkable, even. If one of them becomes an everyday major leaguer, the Phillies will be lucky. Of course, the Phillies didn’t make this trade for the prospects. They did it to dump Abreu’s contract, some $20 million dollars for the rest of this year and the next.

Apparently the Yanks were the only team to afford the price tag.

I’m not advocating a salary cap, which has made basketball a mess (but has made football a lot of fun). But the current financial structure that allows only one team to afford the services of a player that may tip the balance of power in the entire American League is…repulsive. The Yankees have spent foolishly of late, especially on pitching. Yet not only do they have the resources to continue making mistakes, they have the resources to fix those mistakes midseason. The wins the Yankees accrue are not earned through baseball skill, but with money.

On the other hand, I don’t believe all teams should necessarily play on the same financial level. The Royals, for example, don’t have the same size fan base — should their smaller support reward them with the same payroll as the Yankees? And few people complain about the Red Sox or Orioles who, while rich, who are forced to live with the expensive mistakes they make. You can still outsmart the Orioles with half the money.

(The Times’ Murray Chass predictably blamed the Phillies for the trade, not the imbalance of team wealth.)

Perhaps there’s no real solution. The Yanks’ wayward — almost desperate — spending may reflect the waning health of the Boss. Maybe he wants a championship before he gives up the team. And it’s hard to imagine an owner or ownership group who are as impulsive and demanding and free with their money as Steinbrenner. Maybe the problem goes away when the team ownership changes hands.

(By the way, a snarkier blogger might note that Steinbrenner and Castro seem to be in similar shape…)

Ultimately my b*tching is an expression of fear. With Abreu and Lidle, it’s obvious the Yankees are more than a half game better than they were before. The Red Sox may have just been bought out of the playoffs.

  1. Of course, you don’t favor a salary cap. You’re a Red Sox fan. The only teams that would be hurt by one are the Sox and the Yankees. :)

  2. Mark T

    Pardon me for not paying close enough attetnion and then commenting anyway, but I was under the impression that Abreu’s production was way off this year, and that there were ‘roid suspicions following him as a result.

    Anyway, if I didn’t subscirbe to MLB Extra Innings to see my own favorite team, ESPN would leave me no choice but to be a Sox fan – they are on all the time. They get boring! As it is, the object now in baseball is to knock off the Yanks or the Red Sox, and excitement comes from success at doing that. May Detroit be our team of destiny this year! They are long overdue.

  3. Of course, you don’t favor a salary cap. You’re a Red Sox fan. The only teams that would be hurt by one are the Sox and the Yankees.

    You’re right, of course! I want what’s best for my team!

    I think the football cap works well, but basketball’s a mess. I don’t know the best solution. Maybe…ban the Yankees?

  4. …I was under the impression that Abreu’s production was way off this year, and that there were ‘roid suspicions following him as a result.

    Abreu: .277, 61Rs, 8HRs, 65RBIs, 91BBs, 20SBs

    His power and average are down, which may explain why the Phils want to dump his salary, but he still walks a ton (.427OBP) and has speed.

    More importantly, look who he’s replacing:

    Bernie Williams: .280, 45Rs, 8HRs, 43RBIs, 23BBs
    Aaron Guiel: .235, 16Rs, 6HRs, 14RBIs, 9BBs

    Suddenly New York’s bench looks deep.

    The Yankees are only a game behind. Abreu needs to be only a game better than Guiel/Williams over the next two months…

  5. On another note, I have to give MLB credit. This year, their online games have worked flawlessly–and watching the Padres whenever I want is pretty nice.

    I think baseball needs some kind of min/max salary system. The real flaw right now is the bottom teams whose owners pocket the salary tax revenue without improving their teams. Wouldn’t baseball have to be in better shape if KC and could field a competitive team? If teams like the Twins didn’t have to look down the road to losing all of these great players?

    If the Padres could get a hit off Andy Petite tonight? All those would be great. :)

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