For whatever it matters—and for a club that had problems filling its fancy new park for playoff games last fall, it should matter a lot—the Yankees may so far have had a decent off-season, but they've also had a dull one. A boring one. A listless, torpid, uninspired one, the kind that makes the committed apathetic and the apathetic fans of European soccer.
Owner Hal Steinbrenner would disagree. Last week, in an interview, he pointed to the team's having "signed three or four of the top free agents on the market" as a reason for fans to be happy. By this he meant that the Yankees are bringing back Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Ichiro Suzuki, and bringing on Kevin Youkilis. (This is a bit like telling a kid she had a good Christmas because she got a card noting that her Wii will continue to work.)
In the hierarchy of eye-gouging dullness, signing your own players or faded former All-Stars rates right at the top, along with the dreaded minor prospect-for-minor prospect trade, which is why Steinbrenner's novel spin seems so unconvincing. Right below would be trading away an All-Star for scant return. Below that would come signing an All-Star, and coming in last would be trading for one. (Neither of these are dull at all.)