Chalk one up in New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman's win column. ESPN reports Cashman intentionally attempted driving up the price of coveted free agent Carl Crawford.
When it comes to Yankees vs Red Sox rivalry - the war goes far beyond game results. Remember Babe Ruth being sold by Boston to New York? Curse of the Bambino covered generations of players and fans. Only during the steroid era did the curse end. Not even the immortal Babe Ruth's ghost was strong enough to overpower steroids/HGH. No, I'm not suggesting Boston won because their players used HGH. Only stating coincidences - nearly the entire league was juicing.
If Cashman's story rings true then the ploy worked to perfection. When it comes to signing the top players New York and Boston often start bidding wars. I'm sure Boston takes credit for driving up a few prices too. In the win now generation - Cashman's move is looking sweeter due to Boston's late season failures and a sub-par season from their star free agent.
Crawford was one of the biggest free agent names heading into 2011. Nearly every team wanted his services. One of baseball's top outfielders. A true five tool player. Everyone thought - probably Crawford too - adding his bat to an already monster lineup would provide huge dividends. Crawford's talent is a welcomed addition to any team. It hasn't worked out as expected. Perhaps Carl was trying to prove his worth - $141,000,000 7 year contract? We've witnessed many players struggling to adjust in new surroundings.
Cashman recently let the cat out of the bag...
"I actually had dinner with the agent to pretend that we were actually involved and drive the price up," Cashman said. "The outfield wasn't an area of need, but everybody kept writing Crawford, Crawford, Crawford, Crawford. And I was like, 'I feel like we've got Carl Crawford in Brett Gardner, except he costs more than $100 million less, with less experience.' "Perfect timing as Boston - one time AL East division leaders - are free falling. Their one time 9 game wild card lead now stands at 2. Crawford's former team Tampa Bay and Los Angeles Angels are coming on strong. Boston plays a 3 game set beginning tonight in rain soaked New York. Yanks have a chance to knock out the Sox. Yankees are 2011 AL East Champions. Boston is clinging onto a slim two game Wild Card lead. Maybe Cashman's words rejuvenate an under performing arch rival setting the stage for another epic post-season battle?
This weekend's series figures to be an all out war between two intense rivals filled with plenty of hatred and bench clearing brawl experiences.