Memo to Buck Showalter: If the Yankees want Matt Wieters, they're going to come after him anyway when he becomes a free agent in two years, whether Alex Rodriguez is on their roster, enjoying his retirement on Miami Beach, or rotting in some federal penitentiary.
Because in case you have forgotten -- and that is hard to believe, having virtually grown up in the organization during the Engulf & Devour era presided over by George M. Steinbrenner III -- this is what the Yankees do. It is what they have always done. And despite the relative Era of Fiscal Responsibility the team seems to be struggling through now, it is what they are sure to do again.
Throughout their history, the Yankees have treated the rest of major league baseball as their farm system, and when the fruit of other teams' labors has ripened to their liking, they pick it.
To think that the future of Alex Rodriguez and the remainder of his annoying, but hardly crippling, $275 million contract has anything to do with whether Matt Wieters will be a Baltimore Oriole after 2015 is disingenuous, to say the least.
That massive investment immediately paid dividends when the Yankees won their 27th World Series championship with important contributions from all three. Even A.J.
And while two of those contracts now loom as twin albatrosses around the Yankees' necks -- Burnett, of course, is now busy leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to a championship-caliber season -- neither is expected to prevent the Yankees from being all-in on the Robinson Cano extravaganza coming this offseason.
Because the truth should be obvious to any astute observer, something Mr. Showalter most certainly is. The so-called $189 million mandate is anything but, as reported here on ESPNNewYork.com back in spring training and confirmed numerous times since by team officials as high up as Yankees president Randy Levine, who now calls the number "a goal."
Which means, of course, something the Yankees would like to attain, but are willing to forget about as the need arises. Sort of like winning that elusive 28th World Series title. Always a goal, but so far, not a destination.
And life goes on. As it will whether the Yankees are relieved of their remaining $86 million commitment to A-Rod or not.
Clearly, the $189 million mandate was in effect over the winter, when GM Brian Cashman, handcuffed by his owner, dragged his feet long enough to allow free agents Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez, three players he would have liked to have back, to sign elsewhere.
But by mid-March, as the injuries were piling up -- to Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter and of course, A-Rod -- suddenly, the rubber band came off Hal's bankroll and the Yankees found money to sign Kevin Youkilis (an absolute waste of $12 million the Yankees haven't even blinked at), to take on a chunk of Vernon Wells' remaining salary, and to hurriedly sign Lyle Overbay to replace Teixeira. Just last week, they found some more money to bring Alfonso Soriano aboard as a late-season lineup supplement.
So there is money there, and there always will be, no matter how many empty seats you see in their ballpark, so long as they retain a significant chunk of their regional sports network while also sharing in baseball's lucrative cable TV package.
The fact is, the Yankees haven't spent much because, in Cashman's estimation, there hasn't been much worth spending on. And if the Yankees miss the playoffs this season, you can bet they will look to spend over the winter, because that is what they have always done. Provided, of course, that Cashman thinks there is something he really wants to buy.
Has he made some mistakes in judgment? Sure.
And there is no question that two years ago, he pulled off a coup with Hiroki Kuroda, who has thrust himself right into the middle of the 2013 AL Cy Young Award discussion.
Regardless of what happens with A-Rod -- and Cano for that matter -- if it's out there and he likes it, you can rest assured Cashman will bid on it.
That includes Matt Wieters. And Giancarlo Stanton. And Mike Trout. And whatever talented young player becomes available to the highest bidder over the next four years, regardless of whether Cashman is forced to pay A-Rod or not.
There's plenty of things to blame Alex Rodriguez for, but this will not be one of them.
If the Yankees want your guy, they will come looking for him, and they won't need the help of the commissioner of baseball or the U.S. attorney general's office to do it.