It’s only February, and the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are already going at it. During a session with reporters in Fort Myers on Friday, Red Sox president & CEO Larry Lucchino took some shots at the Yankees after the team spent $438 million to sign Masahiro Tanaka, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran this winter. “We’re very different animals. I’m proud of that difference,” Lucchino said when asked to contrast the styles of the two clubs. He added
I always cringe when people lump us together. Other baseball teams sometimes do that. They are still, this year at least, relying heavily on their inimitable old-fashioned Yankees style of high-priced, long-term free agents. I can’t say I wish them well, but I think we’ve taken a different approach.
After seemingly trying to match every big move the Yankees made for years, the Red Sox have been much more subdued in their free agent/trade endeavors. It paid off for them last season, when Boston ended up winning the World Series, thanks to some clever free agent signings. Their most notable signings were Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli. However, Boston also made a lot of savvy under the radar signings such as Koji Uehara, David Ross, Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew, all of whom contributed and proved to be pivotal to their title run. “If you compare what we did last year in the offseason to what they’ve done this year, there’s quite a contrast there,” Lucchino said, adding:
I’ll quickly say we do keep open the prospect of signing a long-term deal with a free agent, paying a sizable amount of money to attract a star in his prime. We haven’t ruled that out. There’s just a rebuttable presumption against doing that. But you can rebut it. The circumstances can allow for you to go ahead and do it. The Yankees do it more often it seems to me as a matter of course.
Lucchino also acknowledged Jacoby Ellsbury’s signing with the Bombers. “Well, within reason,” Lucchino said. “There are exceptions but the proposal they made to him was obviously very appealing to him. Sometimes you have to say good-bye to people you would like to keep here because the appeal of the economics are so great.”
Yankees team president Randy Levine fired right back after hearing of Lucchino’s comments. “I feel bad for Larry; he constantly sees ghosts and is spooked by the Yankees,” Levine told the Daily News. “But I can understand why, because under his and Bobby Valentine’s plan two years ago, the Red Sox were in last place. Ben Cherington and the Red Sox did a great job last year winning the World Series, but I’m confident Cash and Joe and our players will compete with a great Red Sox team to win a world championship this year.” The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry never fails to excite, and this is only the beginning of what should prove to be a very interesting season!