While a few possible players outside the major markets have surfaced as possibilities for the stars (Baltimore and Seattle for Teixeira, and Milwaukee for Sabathia), interviews with GMs suggest that an L.A. versus N.Y. showdown remains possible for all three monster free agents.
The Mets need to make sure that all their pitching needs are fulfilled, and they're showing limited interest in Ramirez thus far, but opposing GMs still wouldn't be shocked to see them emerge as an alternative to the Dodgers. And while the Yankees don't seem to have a need for a corner outfielder (or a DH for that matter), they haven't ruled out a run at Ramirez, either.
One GM said, though, that he sees the Yankees landing Sabathia and Teixeira instead. While it's generally known that Sabathia prefers the National League as well as any team in California, where the Angels and Dodgers are likely pursuers, the consensus seems to be that the Yankees will blow him away with an offer he can't refuse. Another factor is the Yankees may not have a serious shot at A.J. Burnett, Ben Sheets or Jake Peavy (who's on the trading block but strongly prefers the National League), which could also push Sabathia into the category of a must-sign for them.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman has done a nice job of selling New York in the past, and this year the economic advantage may be greater than ever. "It's a special place for those who have an opportunity to come and say they were a Yankee,'' Cashman said. "For players interested in playing in the playoffs, it's a good place to be."
Perhaps even more important, with $80-plus million potentially coming off the Yankees' books, revenues sure to skyrocket in their new Yankee Stadium and a glaring need for starting pitchers, one competing GM said, "It's going to be impossible to outbid the Yankees.''
The article also says that the Braves are the early favorite to land Jake Peavy, and that he has "mixed feelings" about New York. Brian Fuentes may be headed to the Mets, it is "very likely" that the Rockies trade Matt Holliday this off-season, and George W. Bush wants to take over as Commissioner of MLB once Bud Selig's contracts ends in 2012 - no I'm not kidding.