Despite only finishing in third place in the AL East last season, Brian Cashman knew that the team's 85-77 record was an illusion and a massive overhaul would be needed to make the team competitive again, according to a report by Ken Davidoff from Tuesday's New York Post.
Of course, it's hard to fathom that a team with a payroll as large as the Yankees would need a large collection of smoke and mirrors to finish only eight games over .500. But considering the breadth of last year's fairly predictable -- given the age and makeup of their roster -- injury epidemic, such sleight of hand wa as necessity to even keep their heads above water. Without any member of their projected starting infield other than Robinson Cano playing more than 44 games -- Alex Rodriguez, of all the third basemen in all the world -- the Bombers should have had performed significantly worse than they did before even looking at projections based on what they actually produced.
And even with that surprisingly good, albeit not particularly encouraging, production they had despite the injuries and lack of depth -- a run differential of -21 -- they were only projected to win 79 games. It was this overshooting of their predicted win total, not the overshooting of the projected production itself, that led Cashman to believe that the team needed to spend over $400 million dollars this offseason.
"[It's] more reflective of the talent on the field. When you over-perform, like the Orioles did [in 2012], you realize that's more of an anomaly. And last year was a market correction," Cashman told the Post, forever playing the heel with a not-so-subtle jab at their division rival.
In order to avoid the "market correction", Cashman doubled down this season on free agent signings, picking up outfielders Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury, catcher Brian McCann, as well as scintillating Japanese pitching prospect Masahiro Tanaka and others for around half a billion in committed dollars. They also made hard decisions about the long-term make up of the roster by letting all-world second baseman Robinson Cano take his talents to Seattle this offseason and resigning now-stalwart outfielder Brett Gardner to a 4-year, $52-million dollar extension.
There's no guarantee that they'll get their money's worth in the long-run. But it does appear that the organization has recommitted itself to spending as much money as they to put the best possible team on the field after several years of budget-conscious, luxury tax-avoiding failed to produce a winning formula.
Given the ability for the Yankees to spend a seemingly infinite amount of money any time they need to, the rest of the league should hope that this formula turns out to be New Coke and not Pepsi Throwback.