Bronx, NY (Sports Network) - The owners of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees stepped up baseball's fiercest rivalry by sending harsh e-mails on Wednesday. The war of words between Boston's John Henry and New York's George Steinbrenner follows the Yankees' acquisition of Alex Rodriguez and what remains of his 10-year, $252 million contract.
In an e-mail to reporters, Henry noted that the Red Sox have a spending limit, but the Yankees and Steinbrenner apparently don't and that "baseball doesn't have an answer for the Yankees." Henry said in the past he's never been in favor of a salary cap, out of respect for the players, but the owner of the Red Sox has apparently changed his tune.
In his message, Henry chided baseball's revenue sharing program and said "it will not solve what is a very obvious problem. Revenue sharing can only accomplish so much. At some point it becomes confiscation. It has not and it will not solve what is a very obvious problem."
As is the case with the Yankees, Henry noted "there is really no other fair way to deal with a team that has gone so insanely far beyond the resources of all the other teams. There must be a way to cap what a team can spend without hurting player compensation...without taking away from the players what they have rightfully earned in the past through negotiation and in creating tremendous value. Revenue sharing alone, sufficient to address a problem of this magnitude, would require pure confiscation - but there is a simple mechanism that could right a system woefully out of whack."
Steinbrenner responded with a stern statement of his own.
"We understand that John Henry must be embarrassed, frustrated and disappointed by his failure in this transaction. Unlike the Yankees, he chose not to go the extra distance for his fans in Boston. It is understandable, but wrong that he would try to deflect the accountability for his mistakes on to others and to a system for which he voted in favor. It is time to get on with life and forget the sour grapes."
Henry noted that most of the time a team with a payroll of $50 million will not be able to compete at a high level. He noted, of course, every year there would be an exception. Last season, it was the Florida Marlins, who at barely above $50 million, beat the Yankees in the World Series.
Henry added that what makes a big difference in the majors is which team has the ability to spend above $50 million. He said most teams have the ability to spend between $10 million and $25 million above that $50 million level and figure they'll compete. Some teams can even spend between $30 million to $60 million above that level, but one team (the Yankees) are way above that limit.
"At some point 29 owners and their players say to themselves, we can't have one team that can spend 10 dollars above the baseline for every incremental dollar spent by an average team," Henry said. "One thing is certain, the status quo will not be preserved."
The Yankees' payroll for next season is expected to be around $185 million, while the Red Sox are flirting with a $125 million total salary for their club. Both teams own the most expensive players in the game. The Red Sox attempted to trade Manny Ramirez in the offseason for Rodriguez. Ramirez has five seasons and $97.5 million to go on his $160 million, eight- year package.