Are Buck Showalter's Comments About Yankees Justified or Just Sour Grapes?

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IIAugust 1, 2013

Sir Isaac Newton's third law of motion states "for every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction."

It may not exactly be science, but the effects of the Biogenesis scandal and the potential fallout could affect MLB for years to come. Just ask Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter.

In a recent interview with USA Today's Paul White, Showalter said the New York Yankees stand to benefit from Rodriguez being suspended:

Getting Rodriguez's $25 million salary off their 2014 books would effectively reset a Yankees payroll projected to exceed a $189 million luxury tax threshold the club hoped to slip under. And if they're freed from the $86 million owed Rodriguez from 2014 to '17? Showalter fears Commissioner Bud Selig's zeal to ban Rodriguez might turn the Yankees into free agent predators again.

"If Bud lets them get away with that, they're under the luxury tax," Showalter told USA TODAY Sports. "If they can reset, they can spend again and I guarantee you in two years Matt Wieters is in New York."

Showalter believes that no A-Rod contract means the Yankees will react by purging the top free agents once again.

One has to ask, is Showalter justified in his reasoning or is this nothing more than a case of sour grapes?


Frustrations are Understandable

It's understandable why Showalter is frustrated. After all, for more than a decade, the Yankees tried to buy titles, outbidding everyone on nearly every top free agent available.

And it never mattered who the player was; the Yankees wanted to make sure their roster had all of the best and brightest players on the market.

From A.J. Burnett to Mark Teixeira to CC Sabathia, the Yankees have always paid free agents some of the biggest contracts in baseball.

Burnett's five-year, $82.5 million deal wasn't too outrageous. But the fact remains they were still willing to pay $20 million of the $33 million owed to him for 2012-13 when they traded him to the Pittsburgh Pirates. That shows you money is no object to them.

Because the Yankees are in a position to outbid everyone, they are partially responsible for the alarming rise in player salaries over the last 20 years.

As far as Teixeira and Sabathia are concerned, the Yankees simply decided to spend a lot of money filling holes. What angered fans was they already had Alex Rodriguez (10-year, $275 million deal) and Derek Jeter (10-year, $189 million deal) making a lot of money. 

How are the Orioles and other teams supposed to compete against teams who have an endless stream of cash?

The Los Angeles Dodgers are fast approaching similar status, although they're still a long way from earning the title "Evil Empire."


The Other Side of the Equation

While it's easy to understand the resentment of fans watching the Yankees, Dodgers and the like spend a lot of money, the fact remains that all of these clubs are trying to win a World Series.

Some owners have no problem pouring a lot of money into the team in an effort to win a championship. Other owners are only concerned about turning a profit.

Former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner's main goal was to bring championships to New York, no matter the cost.

Most teams don't have owners that are like that. They say they want to win a World Series, but as the old saying goes, "money talks."

Teams like the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays have long succeeded as low-budget teams, compiling rosters full of young, cheap, homegrown talent.

The majority of franchises can't survive like that.

But, when you look at the playoff teams year in and year out, you notice most are in the upper echelon of team payrolls (with a few exceptions).

Here's a table breaking down the last three years:

Yankees: $197.96 (1st)Yankees: $202.69 (1st)Yankees: $206.33 (1st)
Tigers: $132.30 (5th)Phillies: $172.98 (2nd)Phillies: $141.93 (4th)
Rangers: $120.51 (6th) Tigers: $105.70 (10th)Giants: $98.64 (9th)
Giants: $117.62 (8th)Cardinals: $105.43 (11th)Twins: $97.56 (10th)
Cardinals: $110.30 (9th)Rangers: $92.30 (13th)Braves: $84.42 (15th)
Braves: $83.31 (16th)Brewers: $85.50 (17th)Rays: $71.92 (19th)
Reds: $82.20 (17th)Diamondbacks: $53.64 (25th)Reds: $71.76 (20th)
Orioles: $81.43 (19th)Rays: $41.05 (29th)Rangers: $55.25 (27th)
Nationals: $81.34 (20th)  
Athletics: $55.37 (29th)  

Source: USA Today

*Note: Dollar amount is in millions.


As we see from the numbers, it definitely benefits a team to be at the top of the list. Are there exceptions? Absolutely. Just ask the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox.

The bottom line is, money does buy wins and that's what every team's ultimate goal should be. It's not the Steinbrenners' fault people love the Yankees and are willing to spend a lot of money at the stadium and on their merchandise. 

Think of it like a kid who got $20 for his birthday. They want to spend every last penny until they're completely satisfied.



There are two sides to every argument, but the bottom line is that baseball is a business.

How someone chooses to spend their money is their decision. If a manager or team doesn't like how the Yankees operate, then they need to fight fire with fire.

If you're that concerned about Wieters leaving when he becomes a free agent, then go ahead and offer him a long-term extension. Sure, it will cost you a few extra million over the next two years. However, if he's the catcher you want on your ballclub for the next 10 years, it will be worth it in the long run.

Do what the San Francisco Giants did with Buster Posey. Give him a fair offer and Wieters will accept it.

But to complain that the Yankees will get one of your players in a few years is simply ridiculous.

The Yankees have to lie in the bed they made concerning Rodriguez, and the Orioles will have to look themselves in the mirror if they don't re-sign Wieters.

If he walks, they'll have nobody to blame but themselves.


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