What it boiled down to is that, through weeks of rumors and speculations and armies of anonymous "sources" and plates of spaghetti being thrown against the walls -- no one knew anything when it came to Mark Teixeira.

No one but the New York Yankees, who knew they needed a bat, and knew they would get the loudest, youngest available.

Brian Cashman didn't have to make a big to-do of it. He let the other teams walk the dog and ride the pony. He didn't have to leak details of offers, or make a big production of pulling out of the chase, or try to back Scott Boras into a corner with verbal sniper fire.

All New York's general manager had to do is explain to Mark Teixeira that if he was looking for a hothouse for his legacy ... well, there will be plenty room for additions in the larger Monument Park in the new Yankee Stadium. And pay just a little more than anyone else seemed inclined to.

And it's more than a little more -- it's a $423 million investment in a trio of ballplayers. Safe to say, the Yankees were not scared off by the $27 million luxury-tax bill for 2008 delivered to them by the Commissioner's purser just the previous day.

It was shortsighted of anyone to think Team Cashman would cool its heels after nailing CC Sabathia for seven years and $161 million, then A.J. Burnett for five and $82.5 million.

Even with those opening moves, three out of five days the Yankees would've been worse off than they had been in 2008, because the everyday bats of Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi, and the 52 homers and 196 RBIs between them, were gone.

Teixeira won't cover all of that production. But he'll be good for a lot of it, based on the averages of 34 homers and 112 RBIs he has posted with unsettling consistency during his six Major League seasons.

The 28-year-old native of Severna Park, Md. -- 187 miles from the Bronx -- also steps out of the mold of past Yankees legends, Oh, sure -- now it's easy to say he was born to be a Yankee. But in temperament, ethics and his strong-but-silent personality, he is a reincarnation of Lou Gehrig, as sacrilegious as that might sound.

As such, Teixeira becomes another somber piston in the Yankees machine. A team often perceived as playing tight, dispassionate ball will not get any emotional jolts from its new first baseman. Efficiency, not effervescence.

Not necessarily a liability in what will be a high-stakes, high-pressure environment. His agent certainly meant it as a compliment when describing Teixeira as someone with "the makeup of a CEO. He's not gregarious or emotional in his decision making."

As much as the Yankees needed Teixeira, they needed for the Red Sox to not get him. Teixeira was the centerpiece of Boston's offseason plans, and there really was no Plan B.

The only conclusion to draw is that Cashman sandbagged the Red Sox, too. It is inconceivable that Boston would have thrown in the Teixeira towel following last Thursday's sit-down in Texas had it even suspected that the Yankees might snap him up.

With Teixeira, Sabathia and Burnett -- and who else, perhaps still Manny Ramirez for the left-field vacancy? -- it is reasonable to conclude that the Yankees have lapped the six games that separated them in the standings from the Red Sox, who have stood pat.

So now you must ask yourself: When Boston owner John Henry arose from last Thursday's meeting by declaring the Red Sox "would not be a factor," was he referring to the Teixeira negotiations -- or to the 2009 AL East race?

As inactive have been the division champion Rays, whose entire payroll qualifies as the obligatory gratuity on just the Yankees' investments in their three new cover boys.

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was resigned to react to the Teixeira signing the way he had reacted to the Yankees' opening salvo, with Sabathia two weeks ago at the Winter Meetings.

"We still have to remain focused on what we are doing regardless of how the other rosters stack up. We need to control what we can and play the game our way," Maddon said Tuesday, adding, "I figured (Teixeira) would land in our division someplace. The big names are going to normally land within the AL East."

Three big names have landed in the eye of the AL East hurricane. The Yankees have always been prone to landing the biggest prize in any free-agent market -- think Catfish Hunter (1974), Reggie Jackson (1976), Jason Giambi (2001) -- but they have surpassed even their own standards by securing the top three prizes in this market.

As for their newest trophy player, all the remorse figures to stick for years with the Red Sox and the Angels and the Nationals. Buyer's remorse does not appear to be in the Yankees' future. There is no sticker shock.

The general manager of one unnamed NL club boldly proclaimed a month ago in the Boston Globe, "If you give (Teixeira) an eight- to 10-year deal at $20 million or so, you won't feel horrible about it."

We'll let the Beatles provide our exit music ...

Let me tell you how it will be,
There's one for you, nineteen for me,
'Cos I'm the Tex-man,
Yeah, I'm the Tex-man.
Should five per cent appear too small,
Be thankful I don't take it all.
'Cos I'm the Tex-man,
Yeah yeah, I'm the Tex-man.