a) They spent HOW much!?!
b) The Yankees are buying a championship and ruining baseball!!!
Neither view is really correct. The Yankees have made four big offseason moves:
- Replacing Bobby Abreu with Nick Swisher
- Replacing Mike Mussina with CC Sabathia
- Replacing Andy Pettitte with AJ Burnett
- Replacing Jason Giambi with Mark Teixeira
What has changed?
First, the money. The four castaways made a total of $64 million in 2008, not counting the $5MM Jason Giambi is getting paid to not play for the Yankees next year. Their replacements are signed for an average annual value of $69 million. Once you factor in salary inflation--estimated at 10%/year in baseball--that's not even an increase, it's just treading water.
Fine, so they're not spending more, they're spending smarter. How many wins did New York buy? For that, I turn to CHONE:
Excommunicated (with 2008 Wins Above Replacement):
No, I didn't just pull these numbers out of my ass. Here's how they were calculated.
Brand Spankin' New (with 2009 projected WAR):
*Includes estimates of these players' fielding acumen. Abreu and Giambi are bad glovemen, Swisher slightly below average, Teixeira well above average.
Total WAR lost: 13.5. Total WAR gained: 15.8. Net benefit:
I am not ready to concede the 2009 World Series title just yet. However, I'm already practicing clicking the 'bet' button on the Rays and Red Sox next year.
Edit: According to Fangraphs, who have really upgraded their stats pages this year, the difference is actually 4.5 wins, mostly because they have Abreu as a -25 run fielder. I know he stinks, but I don't buy this number.