Heading into the playoffs, the Yankees were riding high. Champions of the AL East and owners of the best record in the league, it appeared that New York would be on its way to capturing another championship.
Now, on the heels of a stunning sweep at the hands of the Detroit Tigers, questions swirl about the team's future, and whether or not the Yankees will be able to bounce back from their playoff collapse.
With the Yankees roster only getting older — and the team committed to big-time contracts for many aging stars — the Red Sox' midseason trade to shed salary and earn some financial flexibility has taken on added significance.
No longer themselves burdened by huge contracts, the Sox could have a better chance at rebuilding quickly and turning things around. Despite finishing 26 games behind New York in the standings this season, a new crop of young players could push the Red Sox back on the right path quickly.
The Yankees, on the other hand, could find themselves weighed down by their own huge pockets, finally paying the price for divvying out big deals as baseball's luxury tax begins to take its toll. Red Sox fans know how quickly a team can spiral out of contention — and Yankees fans are likely worried about suffering the same fate in 2013.