That's one way to look at it. Another way is to pay attention to the Astros, who profit from the false narrative that low spending equals intelligence and big spending equals wastefulness. Despite sitting in the nation's fourth-biggest city and 10th-largest TV market, they have the second-lowest payroll in baseball. Supposedly, the Astros have a plan, but baseball history is littered with dim-witted small-market teams whose plans never paid off. There is no sense in this either.
"Our payroll should always be near the top," Colletti says. "Look at it this way: Shouldn't we be near Philly and Boston? We're an iconic name."
Likewise, the Yankees shouldn't operate as if they were the Pirates. Imagine the Steinbrenner family, or the Dodgers' owners, pocketing revenues instead of spending them on players. That doesn't sound like serving the fan base. There isn't much point in having financial muscle if you're not going to use it.
"I always say that smart beats rich," Kasten says. "But it's better to be smart and rich. We're trying to incorporate the right elements beyond money. Look at Boston. The Yankees for about the last 15 years or so have done it being smart and rich. Smart is good, like Oakland, Tampa Bay. But smart and rich? Well, that's a tough combination to beat."