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Three games into the new season, the New York Yankees are 2-1, having won their opening series against the rival Boston Red Sox this past weekend. Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton each had a big series against the Red Sox, and the bullpen was very strong as well. The Yankees welcome the Toronto Blue Jays to Yankee Stadium for four games next.

The good start to the regular season comes after an offseason in which the Yankees passed on all the big names, and instead patched holes with short-term commitments. Rizzo was brought back on a two-year deal to play first, and Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa were brought in to shake up the left side of the infield. The Yankees also went defense-heavy behind the plate in the post-Gary Sánchez era.

In doing so, the Yankees passed on one of the best free-agent classes in recent memory. They were connected to Carlos Correa and Freddie Freeman throughout the winter, though GM Brian Cashman confirmed Monday that the Yankees never did make either player an official offer.

Many times statements like this come down to semantics. "We didn't put a piece of paper in front of them to sign, though we talked terms and knew what it would take." That kind of thing. Still, Yankees fans don't want to hear their team didn't bother to make an offer to two of the game's best players. They just want the best players.

Rizzo has played well in the early going (he is the first Yankee to drive in multiple runs in each of the team's first three games since Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio in 1949), but Kiner-Falefa is 1 for 11 with several defensive misplays. He hasn't exactly made Yankees fans forget about Correa (or fellow free agents Javier Báez, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Trevor Story).

According to FanGraphs, New York's luxury tax payroll this $262.1 million, a franchise record. It's a franchise record, but also well south of the Dodgers ($292.9 million) and crosstown Mets ($285.9 million). The Yankees have been criticized for their spending and understandably so. Last year's $197.7 million payroll was below their $208.3 million payroll in 2005.

Despite opening a new ballpark in 2009 and baseball's many new revenue streams (new national television contracts, the BAMTech sale, etc.), the Yankees did not meaningfully increase payroll until this year. And even then, they passed on the top free agents, several of whom addressed their needs perfectly, like Correa and Freeman.