By Ernie Palladino
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Imagine how George Steinbrenner would have reacted in the old days as news of David Price’s seven-year, $217 million contract with the Red Sox filtered into his office.

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Oh, he’d be storming. Totally beside himself. Not because a bitter rival added a valuable piece to challenge Yankees supremacy, but because John Henry’s GM dared outbid him for the top free agent pitcher. Then, he’d go out and throw an inordinate pile of money on the next guy in just as much of a “Take that!” move as a team-building one.

Those days took their leave along with The Boss, replaced by his son Hal’s somewhat saner fiscal attitude. Oh, the Yanks still spend. And they will undoubtedly dole out their fair share of dough this offseason, too, despite a payroll that already sits at about $212 million.

But what they probably won’t do, and shouldn’t do, is mount a quick and expensive retaliatory strike at the Red Sox.

There is no need for it, even as they ponder remedies for the rotation, outfield, and possibly second base. Looking more for fine-tuning than rebuilding, the Yanks are in a different situation than the Red Sox, who are coming off their third last-place finish in four years. They required a huge piece, and they went out and got it in the hard-throwing lefty.

The Yanks’ appearance in the Wild Card game means that they‘re on the upswing, despite all their problems with health and age. They need tweaking.

That doesn’t mean they won’t spend, because they always do. Even with little money coming off the books, don’t be surprised if a Jeff Samardzija or Wei-Yin Chen winds up here for a still-robust $70 million or so. Or perhaps they can lure Baltimore’s left-handed slugger Chris Davis and his MLB-leading 47 homers at seven years for $160 million or so.

They’ll get someone, but it won’t be because the Red Sox made a move.

This is a different age from the old Boss era. Not a poorer one, mind you. Just different.

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The Yanks are basically banking on homegrown talent to mix with the veterans and form a championship-caliber squad. Greg Bird, Luis Severino and Rob Refsnyder all showed varying degrees of success last season at first base, starting pitcher, and second base, respectively. Minor league outfielder Aaron Judge and catcher Gary Sanchez are poised to mount serious challenges for roster spots in 2016.

Those five, in fact, are being regarded as the future bulwarks of Yankees success. Brian Cashman didn’t make a point of hanging on tenaciously to Severino, Bird, and Judge at the trade deadline because they’re good dinner company, after all.

Cashman is doing it right in an age where the outright buying of championships has given way to development of homegrown talent. It’s not like the Yanks, or any team for that matter, have a World Series-winning roster sitting in the minors. But careful spending on just the right pieces, and melding them with the kids, will produce success. The Royals proved that the past couple of years.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox came up in the world by adding a much-needed ace in Price. Combined with their recent trade for Padres closer Craig Kimbrel, owed $24 million over the next two years, they took care of the front and back of their pitching.

They, too, have good, young players in outfielder Mookie Betts and shortstop Xander Bogaerts, and a bunch of kids in the minors. But considering the mediocre nature of the rest of their rotation, Price alone won’t get the Red Sox past the Yanks in 2016.

The Yanks have no need for a direct response. They are not rebuilding. They are not Boston.

Cashman, who rightly had no reaction to the Price signing, needs only to focus on getting his team to the next notch.

It’s probably not the way The Boss would have gone about things. But it’s the right way.

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