Often times, many New York Yankees fans downplay the “rivalry” with the New York Mets simply because … it’s just not that. Calling it that actually devalues the true meaning of the word. If the Yankees have a rivalry with the Mets, then what’s the Yankees’ relationship with the Boston Red Sox?
Then again, many fans compare the expectations between the two New York teams because of their history of sharing the biggest market in the entire world since 1962. The presence in such a spotlight comes with that type of discourse, and when one surpasses the other, there are plentiful headlines to be had.
And for the first time since we can remember, the Mets are garnering more of the praise and hype largely because of how disappointing the Yankees have been, coupled with Steve Cohen taking over the Mets after the Wilpons’ unruly tenure.
It’s been especially bad this offseason, too. Before the lockout, Cohen went on a spending spree reminiscent of what the Yankees used to do. He filled multiple areas of need (you know the names) by out-bidding the competition and put the Mets in a favorable position before transactions were no longer permitted until further notice. He elevated the Mets’ payroll into the $255 million range.
In the Bronx? After an embarrassing early playoff exit and with holes all over the roster (right now, you can’t argue the Yankees are better than third in the AL East at this very moment), the Yankees released and re-signed reliever Joely Rodriguez for the sake of saving $1 million. That was their only move in the month leading up to the lockout.
To pile on that, insiders are speculating that the Yankees won’t be adding another $200-plus million contract to the payroll and will instead use their money to deepen the roster. As for the Mets? They’ll be looking to spend more.
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner can’t let the Mets get away with stealing headlines.
Cohen already swiped Buck Showalter and Eric Chavez out from under the Yankees’ nose this offseason, as if out-spending them by infinity wasn’t already a bad look. He’ll be looking to do more of the same, and will be directly competing with the Yankees, too, because they also need another pitcher and hitter.
Time to hit the panic button? Not at all. Time for a shift in philosophy/desire to issue a bold response? Absolutely. New York has been the Yankees’ city since the mid-1990s. They’ve out-spent and out-classed the Mets since then. And they still possess the power to do so.
Cohen’s $14 billion net worth surely creates an obstacle, but the Yankees are still the richest organization in the sport. Their profits have been growing annually while the payroll has remained stagnant. When you spend/allocate funds poorly and have the financial might to make up for it, it’s your job to do so. That’s the luxury of being in the New York market. One or two bad contracts shouldn’t drastically affect their decision making or weigh them down like they would for, say, a team like the Cincinnati Reds.
Many believe the culprit behind the lack of success in recent years is Steinbrenner because of his obvious self-imposed financial restraints that have backed general manager Brian Cashman into a corner. It’s prevented him from going for the jugular and has instead forced him to waste more time trying to come up with trade packages that result in minimal losses as well as cost-conscious spending that greatly limits who can be targeted.
Why are the Yankees not operating to their full capabilities? They should be like the Dodgers, where they’re combining these philosophies of endless spending with shrewd trades and astute scouting. Instead, they’ve swam to the middle of the lake and turned right back around.
If Cohen’s aggression doesn’t or hasn’t created a sense of urgency, the Yankees will continue to fall further behind as they approach a make-or-break season that could see many departures and roster changes at year’s end.