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April 23, 2014

Yankees' more productive offseason has made them better than Sox for now

BOSTON — The Yankees splurged in the offseason, dishing out $155 million to Masahiro Tanaka, $153 million to Jacoby Ellsbury, $85 million to Brian McCann and $45 million to Carlos Beltran.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, took a frugal approach.

They signed Grady Sizemore, who hadn’t played in two years, for one year, $750,000 with the chance to earn $6 million if he stays healthy and plays. They chose to rely on young prospects Xander Bogaerts at shortstop and Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field. They made little effort to re-sign Ellsbury and shortstop Stephen Drew, after he turned down a $14.1 million qualifying offer.

The aggressiveness has paid off and has made New York the better team, at least in the short term.

As of right now, the Yanks look better equipped to win the AL East.

New York routed Boston 9-3 last night here at Fenway Park behind a strong start from Tanaka and Ellsbury’s triple, double and two RBIs. It was the type of gory pounding that might lead some Bostonians to take a baseball break until the Bruins’ postseason run finishes.

New York has taken four of five games from Boston this season.

Boston’s passive offseason approach was mainly because they had just won a World Series and the Sox felt good about their pitching talent at the major league level and their talented young pitching and positional prospects. That includes Henry Owens, Garin Cecchini, Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts down on the farm.

New York arguably had to splurge. The Yanks lack the same farm system talent and depth and missed the playoffs in 2013.

There are 141 games left. It’s not time to press the panic button just yet. But concerns exist.

Sizemore started out strong, but now he’s batting .213 with a .269 on-base percentage. Bogaerts and Bradley, meanwhile, have dealt with some rookie growing pains.

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