Boston Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino helped heighten the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry in 2003 when he referred to the Yankees as the “evil empire” when New York outbid MLB for prized Cuban prospect Jose Contreras.
Lucchino has been critical of the Yankees’ free agent spending in recent seasons. At the onset of the 2014 season, he mocked the Yankees’ “crazy expenditures” on free agents, saying, “I cringe when people lump us together… They are still, this year at least, relying heavily on their inimitable old-fashioned Yankees style of high-priced, long-term free agents.”
But in the past six months, the Red Sox have gone on a spending spree on free agents, some of whom were high-profile players locked up with pricey, long-term contracts.
The Red Sox gave 31-year-old Hanley Ramirez a four-year, $US88 million deal and 28-year-old Pablo Sandoval a five-year, $US95 million deal as their two biggest signings of the offseason.
Additionally, Boston made two big commitments to Cuban prospects, giving 27-year-old Rusney Castillo a seven-year, $US72.5 million contract, and 19-year-old Yoan Moncada a $US31.5 million bonus, which is still pending a physical.
Those four deals alone make up $US287 million in signings, along with other smaller free agent moves.
The Red Sox actually spent the second-most of any team in free agency this offseason.
Lucchino was once again defensive when asked if the Red Sox could be compared to the Yankees:
“Boy, there are a lot of things people could get me to say but I could never admit to that. I could never admit to that, not in my own mind, at least… We are different. We run our clubs differently. There’s a commonality in our willingness to invest in sizable sums for baseball players, whether they be short-term additions or long-term development projects.”
In the past, Lucchino has tried to differentiate between the Red Sox and the Yankees’ signings by saying the Red Sox invest in youth and upside more while the Yankees spend more on big-name, proven players. That’s true to some extent (like the Moncada signing), but the Red Sox have also spent a good chunk of money on that latter category.
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