Yankees still have problems

Posted Dec. 23, 2008, at 9:35 p.m.

Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah.

Best holiday wishes to all, especially our servicemen and women serving overseas.

Have a safe and speedy return. You are our heroes.

Let’s take a look at the sports landscape:

Red Sox fans are fuming that the hated New York Yankees swooped in and signed slugger Mark Teixeira to an eight-year, $180 million contract.

Between Teixeira and free-agent pitchers C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, the Yanks have now spent $423.5 million.

Maybe they’ll even sign Manny Ramirez and Derek Lowe and close in on the $1 billion mark.

So what?

They have a new $1.3 billion stadium and they have been the biggest underachievers in professional sports since winning their last World Series in 2000. They didn’t even make the playoffs this past season with a payroll of $222.5 million, $75 million more than the team with the second-highest payroll, the Red Sox.

The Red Sox reached the American League championship series for the third time in five years.

The Yankees owe it to their fans to return to the glory days of yesteryear. There has always been a lot of pressure on the Yankees and now the pressure is going to be monumental.

Anything short of 110 wins and a World Series championship in 2009 will be one of the greatest calamities in sports history.

If the Yankees thought their lives were under a microscope in previous years, wait until next season.

If you thought everybody hated the Yankees and the Red Sox equally, that has now changed.

People outside of New England still won’t like the Red Sox but they won’t despise them as much as the Yankees now.

Especially with outspoken buffoon Hank Steinbrenner running the show and gloating.

If the Yankees live up to potential, they should win the American League East.

However, Sabathia is 290 pounds, which could take a toll on him, and Burnett has always been injury-prone.

How about the clubhouse chemistry? Hey, Nick Swisher, aren’t you glad you signed with the Yankees?

Look on the bright side, you’ll be the highest paid bullpen catcher in the big leagues.

Hopefully, the Yankees will sign Ramirez to create an even more disjointed clubhouse.

Even if the Yankees win the American League East, good pitching usually prevails over a stacked lineup in the playoffs and the Red Sox and Rays, whichever one earns the wild card spot, have formidable pitching rotations with solid bullpens.

And the Angels could cause problems although the loss of lights-out closer Francisco Rodriguez to the Mets could prove extremely costly.

The Red Sox will make some more moves to counteract the Yankee acquisitions.

They will be contenders even if they don’t make any more moves as long as Mike Lowell and David Ortiz are healthy.

So don’t let the Teixeira signing ruin your holiday season.

Have you checked the NBA and NHL standings lately?

And can you believe the New England Patriots have won 10 games and are still in the playoff hunt despite the season-ending injuries to 2007-2008 MVP Tom Brady, running back Laurence Maroney, linebacker Adalius Thomas and safety Rodney Harrison?

This may be one of Bill Belichick’s best coaching jobs ever.

So, let’s be thankful for what we have.

How would you like to be a Detroit Lions fan?

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