Shortly after the Atlanta Braves were eliminated from this year's postseason, my colleague James Wolfe
and I got into a little twitter argument about why I felt the Braves, and particularly Bobby Cox, were overated.Like every other Cox naysayer, my argument was simple: How can he be considered one of the best if he won 14 straight division titles and only one World Series? To me, that's considered a failure. Of course that could be because I'm a Yankees fan, and anything short of a World Series title is considered a wasted season. In a way I'm spoiled, but when Joe Torre leads a team to four titles in five years, it's common to feel entitled.James argued that "with enough money, you can buy anything, including championships."False. And last night's ALCS loss to Texas proved as much.Money can't win titles. It's a well-known fact. Does spending more than any other team (and support several others financially in the process) just for the sake of winning provide its advantages? Obviously. But that doesn't translate to championships.You know what does? Good coaching and a good front office, two things my beloved Yankees didn't have this year. (The fact the talent was down -- save for MVP Robinson Cano -- only added to the issues.)The Rangers did. And when you consider they are managed by a former, and self-acknowledged, cocaine user, and their best player is a recovering alcohol/crack addict, you have to be impressed by overcoming the odds to reach their first World Series.But while those two things are impressive, the Rangers wouldn't be in this position if not for the July acquisition of left-hander Cliff Lee. Sure, Lee only pitched one game in the ALCS (another dominating win), but the Yankees had a chance to get this guy in July. They failed to pull the trigger on a deal
that sent top prospect Jesus Montero to Seattle in exchange for Lee, which led to Texas sending its top prospect (1B Justin Smoak) to the Mariners for the southpaw who is now 7-0 in the postseason.That trade swung the balance of power in the American League, and you could argue that the ALCS was won in July and not Friday in Arlington, Texas.Regardless of how you look at it, those over-spending Yankees lost out to a team with less fortunes. The Rangers beat them in the trade and on the field, and that's makes them all the more capable of winning the whole thing.Too bad this is it.Because while money couldn't buy a title this year, it certainly will buy the services of Lee next year. Maybe then, James' argument will be true.
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