NEW YORK. The New York Yankees ended their off-season spending spree with a flourish yesterday, signing free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira, 219 jailed Cuban dissidents and 200 laid-off workers who had staged a sit-in at the Republic Windows and Doors plant in Chicago.
Teixeira: “I’m looking forward to meeting my four hundred and thirty-something new teammates.”
“That should do it for this year,” said Yankees Senior Vice President Hank Steinbrenner as he waited in line to have his new acquisitions gift-wrapped. “I think we’re set for the immediate future, except for a middle reliever, a Navy Seal squadron and a Mormon choir, with or without tabernacle.”
Republic Windows plant: “I say we take the offer–the Yankees are known for their generous benefits.”
New York had kept its interest in Teixeira and the Cuban dissidents a secret until the last minute, hoping to avoid a bidding war with the Boston Red Sox, their traditional AL East Rivals. When President Raul Castro went public with his demands for the return of five Cubans jailed for espionage in 2001, the Yankees sweetened their offer by throwing in Melky Cabrera and a feminist poet to be named later.
Castro: “The poet to be named later–is it perchance the Sylvia Plath I have heard so much about?”
New York has thrown its financial heft around in the off-season, signing C.C. Sabathia for $161 million and A.J. Burnett for $82.5 million before bidding $180 million for Teixeira. “Strategically, we are trying to get as many human beings under contract as we possibly can,” said general manager Brian Cashman. “Our goal is to force the other teams in the AL East to play each game with 8 or fewer players.”
Brian Cashman: In a thoughtful mood.
The acquisitions have political ramifications, as President-elect Barack Obama had weighed in on behalf of the striking Chicago workers and unemployment has soared to a seventeen-year high. “We thank the New York Yankees organization for their efforts to keep the economy moving,” said Federal Reserve Chairman Benjamin Bernanke, “although I wonder if they’re getting their money from Bernie Madoff.”