If not for the Yankees and Mets, this off-season would have been a nuclear winter for baseball.
Both New York teams have not only dived into the free agent and trade market, they also vastly improved their teams while others simply pawed the ground, looking down and wishing they could take a spin in the dance of seduction. But the Yankees and Mets, competing against each other for back pages as well as teams in their respective leagues, went hard into the winter and pulled off deals that are clearly designed to make them better.
The Yankees began their restructuring following another fine year that fell just two outs short of a fourth straight world title. Most teams would be thrilled to come that close, but George Steinbrenner gave his front office a very clear mission statement: Get me those two outs, and while you're at it make it easier for us to get there.
I don't like to sweat.
Giambi was officially introduced to the Yankees Thursday afternoon. (AP) Yanks and Mets make a trade General Manager Brian Cashman's first move was New York's first intra-city trade in eight years: David Justice to the Mets for Robin Ventura. The Yankees were done with Justice, especially after his odious performance in the World Series against the Diamondbacks. Justice has a tremendous upside as he enters the final year of his contract, but if he wants a career, he had better come to Port St. Lucie healthy and ready for a good season. If he does that, the Mets have acquired a 35 home run bat who is a much better fielder than given credit for. And even if Mets GM Steve Phillips turns around and trades Justice to get rid of his $7 million contract, he clears the salary...