(The champagne bath could be harder to come by in 2013. Courtesy of The Daily News)
It's no secret by now that this offseason has been a strange one for the Yankees in many ways. They can be best described as being "actively inactive," focusing all their time and energy on re-signing their own internal free agents while staying far on the periphery of all other free agent and trade rumors. As I mentioned this morning, they've spent amounts of money right up there with the best of them, so it's not like they're completely sitting on their hands, but were it not for Alex Rodriguez's newest hip injury not a dollar of it would have gone towards a single player from outside the organization. This offseason marked the first big step towards the 2014 payroll goal, and to their credit the Yankees have stayed on the path of the cheap and short-term.
This strategy has not gone unnoticed by their AL East competition. Almost every other team in the division, with the exception of Baltimore, has been very active on the free agent and trade markets this offseason, picking up the slack and the players left for the taking by the Yankees electing to stand pat. It's been interesting to say the least, as recent attempts by other clubs to try to step up and grab the "biggest big spender" torch away from the Yanks have yet to return big dividends (see: both teams in Los Angeles). It's also a bit worrisome, as the Yankees' approach this offseason has opened a window of opportunity that every other team seems eager to jump through.
Pennants and championships aren't won in December, that much we know. But the collection of moves that have been made (and not made) so far begs the question, are the Yankees still considered the king of the hill and the top of the heap in the AL East? Should they be?