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Cashman: Yankees had “pretend” interest in Carl Crawford to “drive price up” for Red Sox

Sep 23, 2011, 1:18 PM EDT

Theo Epstein, Carl Crawford

General manager Brian Cashman said today that the Yankees’ interest in Carl Crawford was “pretend” and meant only to drive up the price for the Red Sox, who ultimately signed him to a seven-year, $142 million contract.

That’s easy to say now that Crawford has had the worst season of his career and the Yankees are AL East champions, but Cashman correctly pointed out that he already had a cheaper, younger version of Crawford in Brett Gardner:

I actually had dinner with the agent to pretend that we were actually involved and drive the price up. 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.”

“Everybody kept writing Crawford, Crawford, Crawford, Crawford” sounds very similar to “my baseball people love Ken Phelps’ bat, they kept saying Ken Phelps, Ken Phelps.”

As for Gardner, he’s right. In fact, way back in November when Crawford was being linked to various teams I wrote that “the Yankees are pretty set in the outfield and Gardner in particular has a relatively similar skill set to Crawford at a fraction of the price.”

Gardner doesn’t have Crawford’s power, but his on-base skills, speed, and defense in left field were very similar and he’s earning $530,000 this season while easily out-producing the version making $14 million.

  1. frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    Sure you did Brian. Make yourself look pretty to the fans before you fail in another attempt to win a title with the monster payroll. Sure is hard to be the ‘best’ GM in baseball with unlimited blank checks at your disposal.

    Can’t wait til his ego finally wins and he goes somewhere like the Chicago(NL) and sees what its like to be a REAL GM…

    • ssazz - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:28 PM

      So he did want Crawford? But how does that dovetail with the “he’s not a real GM” part? If he just had to open checkbook, then why didn’t he get Crawford? Or even make an offer?

      • frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:33 PM

        It was more of a rant. I think Cashman is a piss poor GM and I used it as a platform to air my disgust.

        In retrospect, it was a strange place to do it because if anything this may be a story where he was covering up the fact he didn’t want to spend the money.

        I’m an idiot – sorry for the confusion.

        I still think Cashman sucks tho

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:57 PM

      Make yourself look pretty to the fans before you fail in another attempt to win a title with the monster payroll. Sure is hard to be the ‘best’ GM in baseball with unlimited blank checks at your disposal.

      It was more of a rant. I think Cashman is a piss poor GM and I used it as a platform to air my disgust

      Any chance you want to expand on that? Or do you think he’s a bad GM because they don’t win every year?

      • frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 23, 2011 at 5:16 PM

        I think he is a bad GM because he makes bad decisions with the amount of money he has to spend. He has spent an extraordinary amount of money on some bad players over the years (Burnett and Vasquez are just the tip of the iceberg) and because of the perpetual cycle of trading for an expensive piece he has depleted the farm system.

        So in short – yes he is a below average GM because he doesn’t win more often with their unlimited resources.

        Part of my displeasure stems from the media and Yankee fans making him out to be this grand example of what a GM should be – and that is not his fault. But every time I hear someone talk about what a great move he just made, I can’t help but laugh and think of the unfair advantages he has in the current market.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 23, 2011 at 6:55 PM

        He has spent an extraordinary amount of money on some bad players over the years

        Which Vazquez deal? The last one was a $10M investment that turned out wrong, but netted them Logan who had an unbelievable playoffs two years ago.

        Also, name me a GM who hasn’t made bad deals and I’ll show you someone who hasn’t been a GM for long enough.

        However, merely looking at all the times he shelled out money is only like 25% of his job. What about the contracts he’s re-signed with players? What about the trades he’s made? What about the farm system?

      • yournuts - Sep 23, 2011 at 9:42 PM

        I’m a Yankee fan and I love Cashman. He is the very best GM in MLB. There is no doubt in my mind that we didn’t want or need Carl Crawford. We had the last dibs on Carl and we said no thanks. When all the Red Sox fans kept writing crap on these blogs about the Yankees going down, the Sox signed Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzales while the Yankees didn’t get their man in Cliff Lee, the true Yankee fan knew that we were still going to the playoffs and do well.
        Now look what is happening, all the aholes are out badmouthing Cashman even after his successes this year. He doesn’t have to make himself look good to the fans. The fans love him.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:59 PM

      #5 farm system (according to baseball america) without having a high pick in almost 2 decades. Then not dumping those good prospects in trades for mediocre veterans. You have to give Cashman some credit for that.

      Plus, as we see with the current blood-lust for Theo, it is not easy making the playoffs every year even with an ultra expensive roster. Feeling compelled to play AJ & Lackey because they are getting paid big bucks is a double-hindrance.

      • awriterorsomething - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:37 PM

        I only wish that he had not given up on Ian Kennedy…..

    • yournuts - Sep 23, 2011 at 9:47 PM

      Frenchysplatediscipline, your truly are an idiot!

      • frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 24, 2011 at 8:18 AM

        did you mean ‘you’re?’

  2. kopy - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    True story about my social life: I’ve only pretended to have interest in any woman that has rejected me. I just wanted to force other men to become competitive and spend more money on them in their wooing efforts. Then I can save money and they’ll be broke when I want to attract the woman I really wanted.

  3. craftylefty318 - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    Remember back in December when Jack Curry already reported this?? Bang-up job by the World Wide Leader, once again.,_yanks_await_lees_response

  4. yankeesfanlen - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    Some version of this story has been around since, say, “No,No Nanette”

  5. dailyrev - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    OK, I get the strategy: let’s piss off the Bosox so they’re sure to bash the crap out of our scrub lineups this weekend. That way, we don’t have to face Rays pitching in the playoffs and damn we can run AJ or Hughes out there and beat Lackey/Wakefield/Whoever.

    Here’s the plan: Russ, you talk about how much you hate them — do one of those Orwell 2-minute jobs in front of the media. Joe, you fill the lineup with callups and skip Garcia’s Geritol supplement. I’ll make some noise about how I was faking interest in their failed FA signing. That should be enough to get them to sweep us this weekend. Let’s go Yanx!

    • nixonotis - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:53 PM

      If you’d rather play the Red Sox than the Rays, you’re out of your mind.

  6. marshmallowsnake - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    Like I said before, but it seems to have been removed…NON-STORY. Teams do this all the time.

  7. phukyouk - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:58 PM


    yea thats 2. more to come

  8. bobwsc - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    like the Sox had pretend interest in Jose Contreras and Carl Pavano – so the Yanks could serve themselves up an $80M crap sandwich. (which Cashman must have developed a strong taste for, judging by his pursuit of Pavano – again – this past offseason).

    • fndan9 - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:27 PM

      Beat me to the punch, Bob. I bet “Yankee Universe” wished Cash had pretend interest in AJ Burnett, too.

    • ssazz - Sep 23, 2011 at 8:06 PM

      “Pretend” interest in Jose Contreras? Sure, that’s why Theo Epstein flew down to
      Managua, Nicaragua bought out all the hotel rooms, and then threw a hissy fit when Contreras chose the Yankees instead. Let alone all the whining Larry Lucchino did afterward. Yup, that was all an elaborate act. Sox fans can lap that one right up.

      And AJ already helped Yankees win a WS. But, John Lackey, not so much.

  9. shaggylocks - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    Cashman later announced that he was just pretending to be interested in Cliff Lee to drive the price up on him as well. Take that, Phillies! How’re you liking Cliff Lee now, huh?

    • craftylefty318 - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:19 PM

      Link for that story?
      Oh… it was a joke. Good one.

  10. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    Fake interest in a player…it’s not just for Boras anymore.

  11. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    OK Cash, whatever you say. Even if this was somehow true I doubt it did much to drive up Crawford’s price. I think his price got driven to $142 mil the second the Nats overpaid for the second best outfielder on the free agent market. If Werth was going to get $126 mil there was no way Crawford was getting any less than $135 mil

    • yournuts - Sep 23, 2011 at 9:44 PM

      Where do you get your information at? It’s completely wrong! You should keep your mouth shut until you get your facts straight.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Sep 24, 2011 at 4:57 AM

        It’s just a hunch I guess. You think after the most overrated player on the market signed for $126 mil over 7 years his agent wouldn’t be able to get $2 mil/season on top of that catastrophe of a contract for the player who was viewed to be much more valuable from the get go?

  12. psousa1 - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    Bullshit. If Crawford hit 25 home runs with 50 steals would they be saying that? Bull. They thought they had Cliff Lee in their back pocket and didn’t want to spend anymore. What a laugh. Who made this one up.

  13. natstowngreg - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:26 PM

    I’m Shocked! Shocked! that there is games-playing going on in this establishment. Bud must investigate this! He will get to the bottom of this and punish the guilty!

    (sarcasm button)

  14. Glenn - Sep 23, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    If Cashman said this right after the signing, I might believe it. So wonderful of him to say this now. Does he pick stocks a few days late, too?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 24, 2011 at 12:38 AM

      He said it in December of last year. If only someone linked the article earlier in this thread…

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Sep 24, 2011 at 4:59 AM

        He said he intentionally tried to bid up the price of Crawford with zero intention of signing him last December? I hope someone links that article…..

  15. henryd3rd - Sep 24, 2011 at 9:49 PM

    After today’s game I am so glad Crawford plays for the Sox rather then the Yanks. He flubbed that play that allowed the Yanks to score their first 2 runs. And the .259 batting average is not going over too good in Beantown. Theo messed up signing this dude as well as Lackey. Justin Masterson would look great right about now. And where is Victor Martinez? Theo!

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