The Yankees were the declared winners of last week's winter meetings, but their rival made some of the biggest noise of this week.
Yes, the Yankees noticed.
"It's concerning," managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said Thursday at the Stadium. "We play them a lot of games, they're in our division. Anybody in your division you have to pay close attention to what they're doing."
What the Red Sox did is sign the best pitcher of the free agent class, John Lackey, and veteran outfielder Mike Cameron. Lackey, the Angels' ace, probably will be the third starter in Boston behind Jon Lester and Josh Beckett.
"Of course it's a concern, they're going to have a great pitching staff this year," Steinbrenner said. "But I think we have a great pitching staff, too."
CC Sabathia agrees.
Sabathia, at the Stadium for the Curtis Granderson news conference and for the Yankees' annual Food Drive, said he had grown a little tired of some analysts discussing the top pitching staffs heading into 2010 and omitting the Yankees'.
"They don't give us enough credit I don't think," Sabathia said. "Everybody keeps talking about Boston now, Seattle now with Cliff [Lee] and Felix [Hernandez], but I think we have some pretty good guys in our clubhouse that can match up with anybody."
For the low-key Sabathia, that amounted to a tirade. Of course, it was still delivered with a grin, though he clearly was serious in his message. "They never talk about us," he said. "They never talk about me or A.J. or Pettitte, but I guess we like it like that."
Sabathia smiled. "We'll just keep sneaking up on people."
That, of course, doesn't happen with the Yankees who, Steinbrenner said, will look forward to a run at title No. 28, regardless of the moves in Boston.
"Every year I know what the fans expect, every year they expect a championship and that just doesn't change one year to the next," Steinbrenner said. "Is it tough to win two in a row? Of course [it is] but Joe [Girardi] knows. Joe's been here as a player so he understands what he's up against, he understands he can't let anybody kind of take a breath. We've got to get right back into it in March and hit it hard because we have some stiff competition, just like we do every year."