Boston-New York YankeeSox Are Almost Out of Things to Shop For

The Boston Red Sox became nearly indistinguishable from the New York Yankees

quite a while ago

. But at least they used to be able to pretend they were rivals. As the two megafranchises work on dividing up the available top-shelf talent at baseball’s winter meetings, they seem less like Coke and Pepsi anymore than like a 20-ounce Coke and a 24-ounce Coke.

So the Red Sox, for a total commitment that will reportedly end up being

$296 million

, have got Adrian Gonzalez to play first base and Carl Crawford to play the outfield; the Yankees are said to be offering

7 years and presumably more than $150 million

to Cliff Lee.

Fox Sports reported that the Red Sox had made a

seven-year offer to Lee

as a gambit to force the Yankees to raise their original offer from six years to seven. In the current spending context, though, that comes across not as competitive gamesmanship but as one team giving the other emotional permission to buy what it wants.

With the commissioner

pushing ever harder

for a further

expansion of the playoffs

, the two franchises are looking at a future in which it will be nearly impossible for one to knock the other out of the postseason. And both franchises are too saturated with talent at the moment to put on a convincing battle for more. The Red Sox’s second-best hitter of 2010, Adrian Beltre, is

walking away

, because between Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis, Boston wouldn’t have anywhere to put him if the Sox did re-sign him. The Yankees aren’t chasing Beltre, because they have Alex Rodriguez and

Mark Teixeira

on their own infield corners, on contracts worth a combined

$455 million

. Five-time All-Star

Lance Berkman

and four-time All-Star

Victor Martinez

have wrapped up their short-term hitches with the Yankees and Red Sox respectively and have moved on. There wasn’t really anywhere to put them.