The Yankees And Prince Fielder: You Knew It Was Coming, And It's Kind Of Amusing

ST LOUIS, MO - Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers gestures after he hit a double in the top of the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game 4 of the National League Championship Series at Busch Stadium. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

I don't mind the Yankees having a $200 million payroll. There needs to be at least one team that's the bogeyman of the league, and they do a good job.

Remember, if you don't say your prayers, eat your vitamins, and lock up the young talent you develop ...the Yankees will get them! G'night! Sleep tight!

For years it worked. You could have caused rioting in the streets of Chicago in 2002 with just one picture.

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Mark Prior in a Yankees uniform. One look at that baby just a decade ago, and Addison Street is on fire. Oooooogy boooogy Yankees!

Now it's getting a little depressing. And maybe a little funny. The other teams got so scared of losing their young players, they started locking them up. This offseason, the best pitcher on the free agent market is likely to be CC Sabathia, and he's already on the Yankees. After that, it's C.J. Wilson, who has about a 83% chance of suffering burnettasis before his eventual four- or five-year deal is up. Signing Wilson would be comically Yankees, not bogeyman Yankees.

Ah, but there are position players to pilfer, too. And this offseason will have two of the highest profile hitters to be on the free-agent market since Alex Rodriguez. If the Yankees want to go back to their bogeyman roots, they can look into Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols. So cue the New York Daily News headline:

Prince Fielder may become Big Apple of Yankees' eye if CC Sabathia decides to sign elsewhere

Oooooooogy booooooooogy! Yankees are signing everybody up in here!

Mark Teixeira has five years and $117 million left on his contract, which would leave a full-time DH slot for Fielder. There just aren't enough positions on the field to keep going. With Teixeira at first, Alex Rodriguez moldering at third, Derek Jeter at short, and Robinson Cano at second, there aren't any infield spots left.

If Fielder is locked up for seven years to be a DH, it would mean Rodriguez and Jeter would stay right where they are for a few years, no matter how bad the defense gets. This is like the boogeyman having to stop with a smoker's hack between ooogys and boooooogys. The threat just doesn't have the same effectiveness. You kind of want to get it a glass of water.

How depressing is it getting? Take the poll that was attached to the article:

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The trade Montero/sign Fielder one is the obvious progression. But the one about moving Jeter to the outfield is from the future. It's a gift that some sort of spaceman sent back through time to show us how silly things are going to get, especially if the Yankees really do sign Fielder or Pujols. The spots are almost completely out. In the chess game of the offseason, the Yankees have a rook, a green checker and a couple of Hot Wheels. There's not much left to do with their offense.

Maybe the Yankees will sign Sabathia and Fielder. And maybe over the next couple of years they'll sign Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, just so people like me will shut their yappers. They might be sitting on cash reserves that we can't even fathom, even if we think we know how loaded they are. Maybe they can afford to sign the 30 best free agents every year and stash them in Trenton just in case.

But there is such a thing as a payroll that the Yankees can't manage. And even if they don't butt up against that, there are still just nine players in an American League lineup. At some point over the next few years, they won't be linked to every free-agent hitter in the wild. This offseason is probably their last stand as a true free-agent bogeyman for a while.

But, hey, at least 16% of Yankees fans aren't worried about that at all!

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