OUT OF BOUNDS

Anyone who is a N.Y. Yankees fan, or who has at least been following the unfolding stories during the Major League Baseball off-season, has probably had one of two thoughts passing through his or her head: "Wow, the Yankees are going to be awesome," or "Wow, the Yankees are going to suck."

Now, being a Yankees fan all of my life has certainly been an effortless task. Growing up, the Yankees were an amazing team even before they had won their string of World Series championships. They had amazing players like Wade Boggs, Don Mattingly, Jimmy Key and Jim Leyritz. Then, in 1996, they became unstoppable.

After four out of five World Series wins from 1996 to 2000, a Yankees fan couldn't have it any easier. The team's skillful players, none of big name status, were winning with amazing records.

Then, all of a sudden, their streak came to an end. Every year they would get so close to winning or getting to the World Series, it was almost like being a Red Sox fan - a terrible thought, I know.

The problem with the Yankees is that they stopped playing as a unit and since then it's only gotten worse. Any manager with common sense can tell you that it's not about having the best nine players out on the field; it's about having the right nine players out on the field.

Now, looking at the additions to the Yankees' roster this year, it's hard to defend that argument. The three most noticeable additions have to be Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. These three players alone will make any team good. Now, think about them in addition to players already on the team: Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, Bobby Abreu, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Chien-Ming Wang.

It all sounds great, right? Wrong. Sabathia has become a big-name nothing. He's out of shape and lazy according to all of his previous teammates. Aside from that, he's being paid $161 million for a 7-year contract that includes a $9 million signing bonus. With that much financial comfort under your seat, how hard would you try? If you ask me, Sabathia will have one of the worst years of his career. You can see the same thing with the first baseman Teixeira, who was signed to an 8-year, $180 million contract.

Let's not all forget the recent news about Rodriguez, who was busted for illegal substance abuse. So long, Hall of Fame. This, unlike the previous subjects, is an actual tragedy: a very talented player who could have easily trumped the home run record in his career, along with 3,000 hits and a Hall of Fame spot waiting for him immediately after his retirement.

When considering all of the negatives, whether it's the entire team's constant distraction caused by Rodriquez or the lethargy of Sabathia and Teixeira, it is hard to picture the Yankees having a winning year this year or even over the next five years.

When they won championships in the late 1990s they didn't do it by buying all of the best players, they did it with one tactic: scouting. They were able to find the most talented players who genuinely wanted to play the game for the sake of winning, not to get paid millions of dollars.

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