Former Boston Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino labeled the New York Yankees the “Evil Empire”.  That moniker was earned because the Yankees’ budget was more than multiple teams put together. 

The Yankees started to flex their financial muscles when George Steinbrenner bought the club CBS in 1973. “The Boss” was intent on getting the franchise that won 20 World Series into champions again. After being swept by Cincinnati in the 1976 Series, Steinbrenner decided to take advantage of free agency to bring in star talent.

Former Oakland A’s slugger Reggie Jackson was instrumental in World Series wins in 1977 and 1978. Future Hall of Famer Dave Winfield helped the club reach the Fall Classic in 1981. But for as many successes, New York also made costly mistakes on Don Gullett, Steve Kemp and Ed Whitson.

Steinbrenner was banned from being involved in day-to-day baseball operations in the early 1990s. But until his death in 2010, the Bronx Bombers continued to spend money freely. Jimmy Key and Scott Brosius helped supplement Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams during the run of four championships from 1996 to 2000. Mark Teixeira, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, and CC Sabathia were instrumental in their last title in 2009.        

Hal Steinbrenner more conservative than his father

The Yankees still spend and have had some signings succeed (Aroldis Chapman) and others fail (Jacoby Ellsbury). The difference is that Hal Steinbrenner is more conservative than his father.

The club’s approach has been to build around a core of youngsters (Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Miguel Andujar). After losing to eventual Series champs Houston and Boston the last two years, “The Boss” would have likely pulled out all the stops to sign either Manny Machado or Bryce Harper.

GM Brian Cashman opted to let the pair of big-ticket free agents sign elsewhere.  He instead added Troy Tulowitzki on an MLB league minimum deal and signed second baseman DJ Lemahieu for two years. It will be interesting to see if the Yankees more fiscally responsible methods will yield the same results as they did in their more free-spending past.