BREAKING NEWS! ESPN wants your attention!

Why is it that every lead story on ESPN these days is BREAKING NEWS? CC Sabathia meets with the Yankees? BREAKING NEWS. J.J. Putz is involved in a 12-player trade to the Mets? BREAKING NEWS. Clinton Portis is miffed at coach Jim Zorn? Well, that's just a DEVELOPING STORY, with the potential to become BREAKING NEWS if they can't settle their differences. ESPN is now giving special treatment to regular 'ole news with ominous music and eye-catching graphics to make it seem more important than it really is. And when they're desperate and want to make sure you're still paying attention, they roll out THIS JUST IN, complete with all the pomp and circumstance of BREAKING NEWS. Poor Carmelo Anthony scoring 33 points in the 3rd quarter on Wednesday night had to settle for THIS JUST IN at the start of the 4th quarter, instead of the more provocative DEVELOPING STORY, if only the lowly minions at the WorldWide Leader had payed attention sooner. I'm shocked—SHOCKED!—at the restraint showed by ESPN that Anthony's night didn't become BREAKING NEWS when they discovered that he had set a team record for points in a quarter ...

So the New York Yankees have signed free agent CC Sabathia to a record-breaking (for a pitcher) deal of seven years and $161 million. Now they've got their pinstriped sights set on free agent A.J. Burnett with an offer of five years and $80 million. I have to say, I love it. Wasn't it around this time last year that the Yankees were preaching patience, tempering their love of quick-fix free agents with the wholesome yummyness of developing their farm system and building from within? My, how the seasons change. With Loud Hal now in charge of the organization and feeling the emptiness of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1995, it didn't take long for the Yanks to revert to their free-wheeling ways of overspending for players. Their modus operandi is to boldly outbid every other team by $20 million, and what's $20 million to the Yankees? Peanuts! Which, incidentally, will cost $9 a bag at the stadium next year. I applaud this. The Yankees I know hand out blockbuster contracts like a Pez dispenser. I think they should stop fighting who they are and embrace their Yankee-ness. Go all out. Don't just stop at Burnett. Sign every big-name free agent on the board. Ben Sheets? Two years, $30 million. Next. Derek Lowe? Four years, $70 million. Next. Bring back Andy Pettite, because you know it's inevitable. One year, $15 million, even though at this point he isn't worth more than $6 million. That should shore up the rotation to look something like this:

  1. CC Sabathia
  2. A.J. Burnett
  3. Ben Sheets
  4. Chien-Ming Wang
  5. Derek Lowe

And Andy Pettite is good insurance for the multiple trips to the DL by Sheets and Burnett. Joba Chamberlain moves back to the bullpen to bridge the starters to Mariano Rivera. Let's move on to position players … first of all, it looks like our beloved Yanks are trading Melky Cabrera to the Brewers for Mike Cameron. Good move – Cameron costs more, so you just know he's the better player. Mark Teixiera? Eight years, $180 million. Manny? Suck it up and give him three years and $75 million. Rafael Furcal? Sorry, we already have a shortstop. But I will take some Orlando Hudson for five years and $40 million. Now we're getting somewhere! With these modest signings, your 2009 Yanks will look like this:

  1. Mike Cameron, CF
  2. Derek Jeter, SS
  3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
  5. Manny Ramirez, LF
  6. Nick Swisher, RF
  7. Johnny Damon, DH
  8. Jorge Posada, C
  9. Orlando Hudson, 2B

Not too bad if I do say so myself! The best part is that all these signings create roster flexibility and a deep bench, which are two crucial components of a playoff team. Said bench will consist of LF/DH Hideki Matsui, 2B Robinson Cano, RF Xavier Nady and C Jose Molina.

The only minor downside to the Yankees "win-at-all-costs," "money-is-no-object" mentality is that these signings may cause their payroll to swell a bit. But in the grand scheme of things, it's not against the rules and they can afford it. After all, who doesn't want to pay $14 for a cup of beer at the new Yankee Stadium?