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Thursday, December 13, 2012
No Josh? No surprise

By Wallace Matthews

When the Yankees failed to even kick the tires on Albert Pujols last winter, it marked perhaps the first time in The Boss Era, which began when George Steinbrenner bought the team in 1973, that the Yankees didn't even make a half-hearted bid on the top free agent on the market.

That was a surprise, and to some, a shock.

This year, they turned a blind eye on Josh Hamilton -- who reportedly agreed to a five-year, $125 million deal with the Angels today -- and this time, no one should be surprised.

By now, it has become clear that for the Yankees, shunning the high-priced toys on the shelf is a way of life under Hal Steinbrenner.

Based on conversations I've had over the past few months with executives in the Yankees' front office, I've been writing all along that Hamilton would not be a Yankee, and not only because of the price tag. There are serious doubts among the Yankees brass that Hamilton, who has a history of substance-abuse problems, would be able to hold it together in the Bronx.

Considering the $189 million payroll ceiling mandated by Hal for 2014, and Hamilton's excessive personality -- he suffered from smokeless-tobacco withdrawal last season -- it was certainly the right call.

But you've got to think that if the old man were still running the team instead of the younger son, the Yankees would have certainly been in play on Hamilton, and they might even have signed him. Because unlike Pujols, who is a first baseman, the Yankees actually have a need for a power-hitting outfielder.

In any event, Josh Hamilton was never a serious consideration for the Yankees and no one should be surprised about that.

In fact, the surprise would have been if he was.

QUESTION: How do you feel about the Yankees' new way of doing business? Do you think they should have made a play for Hamilton? Or are you on board with Hal's new era of fiscal responsibility? Let us know in the comments section.