Friday, November 5, 2010

Great Moments in Misdirection

If you believe ESPN New York’s Wallace Matthews, the Yankees will not make an attempt to sign Carl Crawford this offseason.  Then again, if you believe his story, then you probably also believe that Wilmer Valderrama is straight (and not destined for a career in gay porn), or that 1980s hair metal band Winger will one day release a critically acclaimed album that will change the face of music forever.  Ignorance can be bliss.  Here’s Matthews take:

“Last week, in a conversation with a high-ranking Yankees official, the subject of Crawford inevitably came up.

And the Yankees official was pretty definitive on the subject.

"I wouldn't expect it," he said. "We're pretty happy with our outfield."

And why shouldn't they be?”

Simple…because they can have Crawford.  Crawford is a 27 years old five tool, 6 WAR player that’s fully realized his potential.  How many free agent eligible players can you say that about?  Plus, he’s a huge upgrade over the Yankees current outfield of Gardner, Granderson, and Swisher.  I have nothing against those guys.  They’re all good players.   They’re just not Crawford. 

I have no doubt the Yankees are happy with their outfield, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t be happier.  Plus, haven’t we heard this all before?  After the 2007 season, the Yankees weren’t interested in re-signing A-Rod because he opted out of his contract.  He re-signed.  During the 2008-2009 offseason, the Yankees claimed they were happy with Nick Swisher as their starting first baseman, and had no need for Mark Teixeira’s services.  What happened?  They signed Teixeira to an eight year deal, and moved Swisher to right field.  This is what they do, and they’re very good at it.  They try to get teams to believe they’re not interested in a player.  Teams, “knowing” the Yankees are not involved, lull themselves into believing they can sign a player for less money than if the Yankees were involved.  Then, the Yankees swoop in with a contract offer that blows everyone away.  Game, set, match, for the Yankees.  It’s a smart tactic—mostly because most people are too stupid to believe anything that comes out of their mouths. 

I’m calling shenanigans because I’m hip to their clever little game of misdirection.  If you believe the Yankees aren’t going to go hard after Crawford, you’re fooling yourself.  He’s not going to be the Yankees number one free agent target (that’s Cliff Lee), but let’s just say he’ll be target #1A.  At the very least, he’ll be the fall back option if they somehow inconceivably lose out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes.  The Yankees are always looking for ways to improve their team, especially following seasons in which they failed to achieve their ultimate goal—their 28th championship.  Despite what the Steinbrenners, Brian Cashman, and unnamed sources within the Yankee organization say, I believe the Yankees will be very active on the free agent and trade markets this offseason.  They almost always get the players they covet, and that list includes Carl Crawford.

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