On the heels of the Red Sox (or as Jon Heyman now calls them, the ‘Best team in Baseball’) signing Carl Crawford, there is a palpable sense of panic among the sports media on behalf of the Yankees. You couldn’t by tell listening to their GM making the media rounds this past week, Brian Cashman is his usual, monotone self. But the Red Sox acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford have catapulted them to being at least on par with the Yanks heading into next season, maybe slightly ahead in the eyes of some observers. Some of us in the blogosphere have our doubts, the differential between Victor Martinez and Adrian Gonzalez is significant, but not enormous. Crawford is a clear upgrade to their putrid outfield of last year, but his best asset of speed will largely be wasted playing LF in Fenway. But you’ll get no argument from me they’ve made themselves better, and the Yanks need to keep up with the Joneses.
The running joke around the Winter Meetings is “It’s good to be Cliff Lee”, where every move that happens seems to make his bargaining position stronger and stronger. Brain Cashman has stated that none of these moves will affect his offer to Lee, and they have steadfastly (and I would add wisely) refused to add a 7th year to their offer. However, with the way salaries have inflated this year you have to leave open the possibility that bidding for Lee will get past the point of rationality. Do the Yanks walk away at that point? Can they afford to pass on Lee? What if Lee just decides money isn’t the biggest factor, and he opts to pitch in Texas, close to his native Arkansas home? Joel Sherman provides some clues in his latest column:
The price on Kansas City’s Zack Grienke is exorbitant, and the Yankees don’t believe the righty could handle New York. The Yankees have not even checked in on Tampa Bay’s Matt Garza. And frontline or near frontline types such as Felix Hernandez, Josh Johnson, John Danks and Francisco Liriano are not viewed as available.
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