Nov
12

For the Yanks, Carl Crawford just doesn’t make sense

By

Carl Crawford is set to grab millions of dollars this winter. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

In the 1971 film version of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Veruca Salt, the most spoiled the children who found golden tickets, belts out an ode to greed. “I want the whole world,” she sings. “I want it now.”

To be a Yankee fan the 21st Century is to embrace Veruca Salt’s attitude. Our favorite team is the most successful in the game’s history, and it is positioned as the leader in the biggest market in sports. It has more money to spend than anyone else and do so with abandon, covering up mistakes with dollars in a quest to win. As long as baseball’s financial structure doesn’t limit the Yanks’ spending, they’re not doing anything wrong.

But within that construct is the need to spend wisely. The Yankees might have more money than everyone else, but they still seemingly have a budget. This is a point seemingly lost on many, and nothing has highlighted that belief in the reams of dollars more than this off-season. First, we’ve seen people call for Derek Jeter to get paid whatever he wants, but as Joel Sherman explained this morning, the Yanks and Jeter have to come to deal that makes sense for both parties. They can’t sacrifice winning — still their primary goal — at the expense of one player, and they should try to make the most out of their dollars.

The other example is even better. Based upon a report in The Post that says the Yankees have “reached out” to Carl Crawford’s agent, the clamor for Crawford has grown a little louder. It’s tempting to demand Crawford in that Veruca Salt way. He is a premier offensive player who had the good fortune, like Mark Teixeira, of hitting free agency while 28. The team that signs him will end up with a few years of decline at the end of the contract but will get Carl Crawford on offense and defense in his prime.

The Yankees know Carl Crawford well. He’s played 138 regular season games against them and has hit .301/.329/.419 with 47 stolen bases in 56 attempts. He plays a mean left field, and as R.J. Anderson explored a year ago, Crawford will get and deserve a deal in excess of $100 million. Since the Angels seem willing to spend that much, Crawford will probably wind up there. But what of New York?

The Yankees’ outfield was a great source of value for the team last year. Based on Fangraphs’ WAR valuation, the entire starting outfield put up a combined 13.1 WAR valued at $52.2 million. Brett Gardner, Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson combined to make a whopping $12.8 million. While those totals will rise in 2011, there’s a very good chance that Carl Crawford will be making more than Yanks’ three Opening Day outfielders combined.

Now Crawford, over the last two seasons, has exploded into a high-production player. He posted a 5.7 WAR in 2009 and a 6.9 WAR in 2010. He’s doing all he can to earn and deserve that large contract. But if Brett Gardner, who posted a 5.4 WAR and made $450,000 in 2010, can continue to be a 3-4 win player, and if Crawford is making $19-$22 million next year while maintaining a 5-6 win pace, the Yankees would be paying a whopping premium — somewhere around $17-$19 million — for an improvement of two wins. In economic terms, it would be an inefficient use of resources to sign Crawford, and he doesn’t address a need the Yankees have going into 2011.

The Yanks have clear needs for next year. They need another starter, maybe two, and they want a left-handed reliever. They don’t need an outfielder when they already have three of the top outfielders in the American League. Even for a team with resources as seemingly unlimited as the Yankees, they don’t need to embody Veruca Salt every time a free agent comes a-knockin’.

Categories : Hot Stove League

166 Comments»

  1. seimiya says:

    But I wanted the Crawford/Damon/Werth outfield. :(

    THIS TEAM SUCKS AS IS.

    • Bryan L says:

      You’re an idiot.

    • Tom Zig says:

      I know it’s sarcasm, but yeesh that’d be one hell of an expensive outfield. That’s about 50 mil a year right there.

    • Tom Zig says:

      Although the way I’d set it up is:

      Crawford: CF
      Werth: LF (it’s bigger in YS)
      Damon: RF

      That’d be weird.

    • JerseyDutch says:

      I’m going to go the opposite direction and give us a bargain-basement outfield:

      Gardener CF
      Golson RF
      Russo LF

      There you go. Saving Cashman money already.

    • bk says:

      who writes this crap? How can you even compare Brett Gardner to Crawford. The WAR statistic you so long for as an answer of relevance is the most ridiculous proof that Crawford is a HUGE upgrade over Gardner. If you believe that the WAR rating is even close on these two players I submit that you need to actually watch baseball games more. Crawford carried the Rays in ALL aspects as a true 5 tool player then their only other star (Longoria) was dinged up. Gardner,… with all the speed in the world on a star laden team couldn’t even prove he deserved to start every day and when he did re was primarily in the nine hole. He can’t steal bases even though he’s one of the fastest guys in the league,… can’t bunt which is totally baffling, never has and never will produce ANY power and takes absolutely terrible routes on fly balls. He is lucky enough to be blessed with the aforementioned speed which allows him to run down balls. He also offers NOTHING in club house leadership, yet another intangible that Crawford brings. If you can tell me that a platooned player gets you almost as many wins as a bonafide five tool superstar, I can tell you that stat is very flawed and you need to do some homework before you write your retraction.

      • bexarama says:

        Gardner,… with all the speed in the world on a star laden team couldn’t even prove he deserved to start every day

        wut

      • Ana says:

        lmao you’re joking though, right?

      • seimiya says:

        You know, the sad thing is, I really hope you’re kidding …. but I genuinely don’t think so.

      • dan says:

        u said it all the other guy does not know what he is talking about

      • JerseyDutch says:

        You write really big paragraphs.

      • MDub says:

        Actually Gardner is 5 years younger than Crawford and will be a 5 tool player. BTW he stole a few bases and we have Captain Intangibles the reason for the term so Gardi can just grow into a nice player grown on the farm!

        • murakami says:

          i’m not sure how Gardner can be 27 and Crawford 29, but can be five years younger than Crawford.

          In fact, Crawford is 2 years and 19 days older than Gardner.

      • Mike says:

        OK I feel that you have grossly underrated the talent in Gardner he is a young player that is going to continue to get better every year. If the Yankees could get Crawford however I feel that Swisher would make a better DH than Posada and you would have a hell of an outfield with Crawford,Granderson and Gardner. Probably the fastest in Baseball. Don’t get me wrong Im not saying we should go out and get Crawford but if a deal can be made that makes sense financially Strengthens our outfield and keeps him away from Boston it might be something to consider.

      • carlos says:

        Perfect!!!!! Could not have said it better myself. Gardner is at best a fourth outfielder!!

    • Joe says:

      Granderson to me is an overrated player. Sure he got some big hits in the playoffs, but I would take Crawford over Granderson any day of the week. All Granderson does is hit homeruns and nothing really else offensively. His on base percentage and average stinks so unless he has one or the other I consider him a useless player who is a free swinger that can easily be pitched to. That’s the problem with the Yankees lineup this past year they have too many hitters that could be easily pitched to if you made your pitches. Crawford unlike Granderson is not an all or nothing hitter. He actually gets a lot of singles and doubles and no that is not luck. As a Yankees fan I watched a lot of the Rays games this year and Crawford was consistently hitting the ball hard. Granderson never had any extended run where he hit the ball hard. Crawford >> Granderson.

      • yankees1717 says:

        hey man maybe read the post before you comment. no one said granderson>crawford, they just said its not worth the $$$ to make the upgrade.

  2. Bryan L says:

    Here’s just hoping Brett Gardner can produce a similar year in 2011.

  3. CountryClub says:

    Exactly

  4. For a team that played like garbage in the ALCS and was still two wins away from the World Series, I can only assume that the above poster is kidding :-).

    Sign Lee/Jeter/Mo/Pettite. Successful off-season, take our chances in 2011.

    • seimiya says:

      ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This team is garbage. absolute GARBAGE. I mean, let’s consider some of the teams in the AL East:

      -The Boston Red Sox. First of all, I’m going to come out and say there has never been a team so noble, chivalric and amazing enough to do what these guys did in 2004. And for free! And all from the farm! These days, the baseball gods understand that they just can’t permit this great a team to run around, so they have to all break down. Essentially, 2010 was a year of ‘Handicap the Red Sox so someone else has a chance’ year.

      -The Baltimore Orioles. Did anyone see how these guys played under Showalter? Amazing. Absolutely amazing. I’m pretty sure with the slugging power of Matt Wieters and Ty Wigginton, plus the stellar closing power of Uehara, these guys have a definite shot next year. A winning record! Ha! These guys have their names written on the 2011 AL pennant, only to lose in seven games to the Pirates. Nick Markakis wins MVP & WS MVP. Book it.

      -The Tampa Bay Rays. Um, 2010 AL E winners, first of all. Second of all, these guys are so young and handsome that they could basically win the division on good looks alone. Evan Longoria? John Jaso? David Price? They could defeat the American League without raising a bat or throwing a pitch. All they need to do is play a lot of We Farm and smile charmingly. I mean, okay, maybe they’ll have to steal some bases. Doubtful. I hear BJ Upton is actually convincing people to be as lazy as him. Then he just strides over to second.

      -The Toronto Blue Jays: Jose Bautista. Brandon Morrow. Most likely, Roy Halladay and AJ Burnett will both confess that they hate being in first place at anything and will simultaneously return to Canada to be BFFs forever. With Bautista hitting in eight spots (Vernon Wells gets the ninth spot), and a rotation of Morrow-Burnett-Halladay-Rzepczynski-Vazquez, how will we ever compete?

      Suffice to say: 2011 is a loss before it even begins. I mean, all we had this year was the best run differential in baseball, a should-have-been Gold Glove left fielder, a 3B who strikes out 100% of the time when there’s RISP, and a lazy 2B. Let’s not even count our grumpy catchers, exciting catching prospects bound to fail, and over-excited right fielders. Trade those bitches. Our shortstop is aging. Let’s get Yuniesky Betancourt to replace him.

  5. jim p says:

    Thank you. Let’s put “get Crawford” away once and for all. Don’t need him, don’t need him at that price.

  6. Sam says:

    Sign Crawford then trade him for Matsui, Damon, Jose Molina, and Kate Hudson. Problem solved.

  7. Tom Zig says:

    The only logical scenario that involves Crawford to the Yanks that I’ve seen is if the Yanks miss out on Lee and decide to sign Crawford and trade Gardner and others for a pitcher. But that’s too many moving parts for my liking.

    Cliff Lee either directly or indirectly upgrades all facets of the team.

    • You’re right, but even that that’s not very logical. Then they’re taking on two contracts + spending prospects (I highly doubt Gardner is enough to get a good pitcher on his own) for a side-grade and a rotation arm. Not really worth it, IMO.

      • JAG says:

        Well it’s certainly not optimal but it’s at least not that bad b/c Gardner+ gets you either a younger pitcher without a big contract (hopefully) or an older one as a salary dump but you also don’t give as much for him. So it’s not as if we’re talking getting Crawford and then dealing Gardner and Montero for Johan or Zito…I hope.

        Still, I favor getting Lee, but it’s not totally unreasonable to explore getting Crawford if we miss out and trading Gardner for pitching.

  8. Mike R says:

    I really don’t see Crawford as being worth a 15-20 Million dollar contract.. Yah he steals bases, yah he gets hits, yah he can hit for power. As stated in the article he isn’t THAT much better than Gardner. That being said Gardner can still improve and even if hes never near as good as Crawford the 15 million you’d pay for an upgrade to Crawford is clearly not worth it.

    • Right now, he’s a 6-7 win player who plays a legitimate Gold Glove-level defense and hits the tar out of the baseball. I don’t know if he can keep up that level of production over the course of the deal, but he’s certainly worth the money right now.

    • Kiko Jones says:

      Whether or not Crawford is a viable option for the Yankees is one thing but to compare him to Gardner as being not “THAT much better” than the current Yankee LF is ludicrous.

      • RL says:

        Not $17-$19 mil/season better.

        • OldYanksFan says:

          Well… the Fielding Bible gave Brett the best LFer award, and we know Brett is faster, so I guese the only difference is their offense. Brett had a 106 OPS+, CC had a whopping 134 OPS+, although his career line is 107.

          So yeah, CC’s bat is a lot better… but certainly no where near worth the cost.

          • JAG says:

            At 1700% increase? He’d need to hit a home run every at bat to be worth that.

          • murakami says:

            There’s actually a large differential in their defense as well, but don’t let me contradict Peter Gammons and Bill James…..

            I’m not sure what to say on this any more. It’s like someone telling you Shakespeare isn’t THAT much better than Thomas Kyd. I mean, there just is no response for that….

      • murakami says:

        It’s probably unlike anything I’ve seen in baseball, but I’ve seen it in other sports fairly frequently.

        And yes, it’s ludicrous.

  9. Steve H says:

    I’m glad they contacted his agent, but that’s about it. No need for him and no room in the budget.

  10. don draper says:

    Hey, it ain’t my money, go for it.

  11. Section 39 says:

    Just drive up the price for the Angels/Sox to an 8 year contract or something absurd and I will be happy. Just don’t get stuck with the winning bid!

  12. Jerome S says:

    Sooo… he’s the Angels’, right? I’d prefer to see him out of the division.

  13. Kiersten says:

    Let the Angels have him so he can steal bases and bunt and “play the game the right way” and “do all the little things right” with them.

  14. Jerome S says:

    Is Brett Gardner underrated (by non-Yankees fans)?

    • Dirty Pena says:

      I was just wondering if he’s overrated by Yankees fans. I love the guy, but some people are really unrealistic about what he is/can be.

      • John says:

        He’s the white Willie Mays Hayes.

      • murakami says:

        It’s actually quite a phenomenon, how over rated he is, and how his ceiing is always a little out in front of him, and probably will be always for certain fans, even when he hits 30, which is three years from now, incidentally.

        There are people on this board and elsewhere who keep trying to convince people he’s 25. He’s not even allowed to be as old as he actually is.

        Stunning.

  15. I am more impressed on the bridge between Charlie and the Chocolate factory and Carl Crawford.

  16. I am more impressed on the bridge between Charlie and the Chocolate factory and Carl Crawford.

    Good day sir

  17. Jeff says:

    This is just something I’ve been pondering. Trade Swish(hard to do I know)and Burnett with eating half the contract with some prospects. Trading Swish we get a set-up man and a left-handed reliver. Sign Crawford (put him in right) and Lee. Plus we hurt T.B in the process with a second round pick instaed of a first. In the process though the Yanks create one the best outfield defenses in baseball. Lineup could something Like this Gardner-Jeter-Crawford-ARod-Cano-Teixeria-Posada-Granderson-Montero. With a rotation CC-Lee-Hughes-Pettitte-Nova/Noesi/any other who wins the fifth spot.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      I’ll keep this as succinct as possible: No.

    • Dirty Pena says:

      Here’s what I was thinking: we trade Igawa, Marte, and David Phelps for Jonathan Sanchez. We already have an erratic starter though, so we eat all of AJ’s contract and send him, Teixeira, Gardner, and Nova to St. Louis for Pujols and Rasmus. Send Swisher packing, who fucking cares for what, dude bats what? like .125 with RISP in Game 4s of LCS’s. So whatever, we get some random scrub like we’ll say, Soria for him. Sign Crawford, sign Lee. BOOM:

      Crawford/Granderson/Cano/Pujols/A-Rod/Montario/Yogi Berra/Rasmus/Jeter
      Sabathia/Lee/Pettitte/Hughes/Sanchez
      Mo and Soria in the pen.

      #28 bitchessss

    • bexarama says:

      I started to reply to this, but then… First Name Only Male Handle Rule

      (Tex batting SIXTH? Crawford batting THIRD?)

    • I… buh? Trading Swish? For a set up man? Moving AJ and insinuating it’d be easier than trading Swish?

      Yeah, let’s do all that stuff that will never happen and waste money so that we can have the best outfield in baseball when, right now, we have… the best lineup in baseball!

    • Kiersten says:

      How about we trade Boone Logan for Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and the Sanchez kid? Throw in Captain Blackbeard too.

    • pete says:

      Since we’re already in fantasy-land, can we have this lineup instead?

      Gardner-Crawford-Cano-Alex-Teixeira-Posada-Granderson-Montero-Jeter

  18. Jeff says:

    It’s all fanasty on my part. Just thinking about an outfield defense like that along with a basestealer like Crawford getting on base in front of A-Rod.

  19. Jeff says:

    I meant it’d be hard to trade Swish because being a fan fav and all. With Burnett I meant throwing in decent prospects like Phelps/Noesi for low level players to get rid of that bad contract. Also who knows if Swish can repeat his year. Crawford is a career .296 hitter. Also I understand criticism, but people don’t have to be condescending about it.

    • pete says:

      we’re not getting rid of that contract. If we trade him, we’re probably paying him at least $12m per year anyway.

      • Jeff says:

        Fair point. Like I said it was fantasy on my part I like Crawford as a player. It I was being realistic with Swish and AJ. To get rid of it would take alot and Swish may not repeat his year. Trade him to strengthen th pen while his value is high.

        • pete says:

          what indication is there to you that swish won’t continue to be this good for several more years? In his career he has essentially had one down year (2008) and has been insanely consistent – and good – the rest. Why trade him?

    • bexarama says:

      Really, really not trying to be condescending here.

      I meant it’d be hard to trade Swish because being a fan fav and all.

      Swisher being a fan favorite has nothing to do with trading him. Melky was a fan favorite too. If the right deal comes up, he’d get traded, I expect. That said, he’s an extremely productive outfielder who isn’t overly expensive. Why would we want to trade him for relief pitchers, whose performance varies so much from year to year?

      With Burnett I meant throwing in decent prospects like Phelps/Noesi for low level players to get rid of that bad contract.

      I’m not touching this. Just like no one’s touching Burnett.

      Also who knows if Swish can repeat his year.

      Swisher, 2009: .249/.371/.498/.869
      Swisher, 2010: .288/.359/.511/.870

      He had 29 HR in both years, too. Basically he traded walks for hits this year.

      Crawford is a career .296 hitter.

      Carl Crawford is a good player for many, many reasons other than his BA.

      • Jeff says:

        All are good points like I said it was something I was pondering. There havee been players perceived as untouchable with bad contracts traded before you have to give up alot to get rid of those contacts.

        • JAG says:

          Especially when those bad contracts have no-trade clauses and are bad contracts that are also tied to players who have had poor performances.

          I think you may just have to face it: the only way Burnett is leaving is via free agency.

    • Jerome S says:

      Crawford’s better than all of our OFers, except maybe Granderson at times. The moral of the story is this: If I own a house that is 3000 square feet for 300,000 dollars, why should I buy a house that is 3500 square feet for a million dollars?

    • S says:

      So eating $40 million dollars on a contract and also giving up two very good pitching prospects, while at the same time trading a fairly cheap, player with a power bat and decent defense. Then you want to sign an outfielder that will cost $15-20 million a year?

      That would not only kill the yankees financially, it would fuck them over for years. Who is the 5th pitcher in the rotation? What if NY doesn’t get Lee and how about when Andy retires? You want to bring in some of the subpar free agent pitchers available on an expensive contract or trade more of the farm off to somewhere else? What your suggesting is crazy, and unnecessary.

      I really hope you enjoyed 2008, because that’s exactly where the team would be for years. But hey, at least they’d get a good draft pick…oh wait no they wouldn’t, because chances are more than a few of those deals would be type A free agents.

  20. Jerome S says:

    Remember, the post was why we shouldn’t get Crawford… not about ways we could get him.

    • Dirty Pena says:

      Get used to it. Any post about anyone not on the Yankees is gonna lead to incredibly stupid trade proposals and demands to sign/trade for said player.

      • S says:

        People are fucking idiots, I saw a thread on the yankees mlb page guy was proposing trading Cano right now because he is going to “regress”…regress to what I don’t know, maybe to his only bad year of 2008 (where he still hit .276 )

  21. Andrew in DC says:

    If Lee falls through, sign Crawford and package Gardner(or Granderson)/Montero for Matt Cain. That’s a scenario where Crawford makes perfect sense.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      The Giants aren’t going to trade Cain. If they did, though, why would they want Montero? The Giants already have Posey firmly entrenched behind the plate, and Belt is on his way up to play first. No room at the proverbial inn for baby Jesus.

  22. jack7 says:

    I hope Crawford goes to a NL team. Good riddence; He’s a nuisance….

  23. roadrider says:

    But if Brett Gardner, who posted a 5.4 WAR and made $450,000 in 2010, can continue to be a 3-4 win player

    Dream on …

    I do agree that Crawford is not worth the money. However, the fact that he’s not the answer does not mean that Gardner is.

    • Mattchu12 says:

      He is for now. He bats ninth behind Jeter, Grandy, Teix, A-Rod, Cano, Swish, Posada, and Montero.

      Does it really matter how he hits? Look at the other twenty nine teams. We don’t have to have an all-star at every position. We ought to be happy he’s arguably the best defensive outfielder in the game and when he does get on base, is one of the best base-stealing threats in the game.

      Give me a Gardner that bats at least .260 and walks a lot, I’ll put him in the lineup.

      • roadrider says:

        Let’s see – Jeter just had the worst season of his career and while I expect a bit of a comeback there’s nothing guaranteed. Granderson could go either way. Tex is a streak hitter who does not come to life until May, A-Rod is in his decline phase as is Posada and Montero might not even make the team and even if he does is not going to set the world on fire right away.

        So, in answer to your question, yes, it DOES matter that Gardner is an offensive black hole, particularly since he’s playing a corner OF position from which good offense is typically a pre-requisite. He doesn’t have to be an All-Star but he does have to be adequate and he’s not and there’s no reason to expect that he will be.

        • roadrider says:

          Furthermore, why on earth will teams continue to walk a .260 hitter with no power who can only hurt them by stealing bases and who struck out over 100 times?

          • bexarama says:

            well obviously the only reason any hitter has ever walked is because of ~teh fearz~ not because they have a good eye.

            • roadrider says:

              Hey Einstein – guys who consistently walk a lot are guys who pitchers are careful with because they can hurt them more by swinging the bat than they can by getting a free pass. Gardner is on the wrong side of that equation andit will catch up to him.

              Having a “good eye” will only get you so far. When pitchers pound the strike zone you have to swing the bat. Pitchers are not going to nibble around the corners with a slap hitter.

              • JAG says:

                So this guy who has had good plate discipline and poor power throughout his entire career…including all his time in the majors will just suddenly start hacking at everything and stop walking just because? Keep in mind also that not every pitcher in the majors is Cliff Lee. If you put a guy like Burnett in against a team that literally had no bats to swing, he probably would STILL walk a guy or two. And Burnett is hardly alone.

                Pitching for a swing-and-miss is something that EVERY pitcher does, and just because a guy can’t hurt you much doesn’t mean that every pitch to him is suddenly going to be down the middle.

        • bexarama says:

          it DOES matter that Gardner is an offensive black hole

          What

          He doesn’t have to be an All-Star but he does have to be adequate and he’s not and there’s no reason to expect that he will be.

          He was perfectly adequate this year. A lot more than, actually.

          • roadrider says:

            He had two months in which he outperformed his abilities and then he was a black hole as pitchers and defenses adjusted to him. The guy is already 27 years old he’s not going to transform himself into Bernie Williams. It’s much more likely that he’s already reached his rather limited ceiling and will regress.

      • murakami says:

        Really. Brett Gardner is “arguably the best defensive outfielder in the game”???

        Just how LOVE SICK are you people???

        Or do you really just not understand what it is to be a great defensive outfielder?

        Gardner had a nice year and is fine as our No. 9 hitter and left fielder, but this narrative is JUST INSANE.

        Gardner is NOT EVEN CLOSE to being anywhere NEAR the “best defensive outfielder in the game.”

        This whole Cult of Brett thing is an embarrassment. That or, exposure of how little fans know of what they’re watching. The irony is, the same fans make jokes about the hyperbole that surrounds prospects like Casey Kelley and other Red Sox that team groupies like Gammons, Neyer and ESPN insensibly laud.

        NEWSFLASH: You are just as ridiculous; this guy is fast and fine as the left fielder/Nine hitter. He’s not “the best” anything in the game of baseball.

        • Actually, he is pretty close to being the best defensive left fielder, if not the best, in the AL. He covers more ground than anyone else, he takes good routes to the ball, he had 12 outfield assists. Perhaps you’re the one who knows not what they’re watching if you can’t acknowledge a good and cheap baseball player when you see one. As I said, Veruca Salt. You’re just proving my point.

          • murakami says:

            Your saying he “takes good routes to the ball” makes me question whether you know what that is, since this is clearly a weakness of his.

            Saying it doesn’t make it so. He not only often takes iffy routes, he seems incapable of catching a ball over his shoulder, has to turn to FACE any ball he catches, and often turns the wrong way. He also sticks his glove OUT while attempting to close on the ball, which slows him down and has cost him, when he was in CF, actually catching the ball.

            He just is not what you claim, in fact, he’s nowhere near what’s claimed for him.

            On this site alone, he has been made 1). three years younger than he actually is (see “he’s five years younger than Crawford.”), 2). a five-tool player in the making (speechless), and now, he’s not only less expensive but BETTER defensively than Carl Crawford.

            He’s a guy with speed who can make some great catches if he’s running laterally and does well in the LC gap, running the ball down at an angle. If one saw nothing but these plays, one would conclude he was an elite defender, but someone who sees him live all the time knows his questionable jumps off the bat and hesitation going back on balls is just as much a part of him as his speed.

            “Getting a good jump” is part of talent. Yes, you can learn to track the ball better, but the reads and jumps are instinctual…he doesn’t have that as part of his makeup.

            While he possesses great speed, he just does not have the long limbed athleticism that allows him to converge with the ball and pull it in in stride and be set to throw it. He just doesn’t, and all the Brett Adulation will not change that.

            And calling him the best left fielder in baseball, with Carl Crawford in baseball, is either a complete, willful and sentimental denial of Crawford’s peerless existence as a left fielder, or you just don’t realize the difference, which isn’t subtle.

            Crawford is the best LF and it’s not close.

            • “He just is not what you claim, in fact, he’s nowhere near what’s claimed for him.”

              But he is what you claim, because you say so.

              You can disagree all you want, but I’ve yet to see you make a single compelling argument.

              • murakami says:

                Actually, I have explained SPECIFICALLY what his flaws are, you just chose to ignore them and not counter them. Here they are again:

                Iffy jumps and bad reads, alot of running around under the ball before it’s caught, ala Rickey Henderson, another challenged OF who gets credited with being defensively great via the same flawed thinking, the fact that he reaches OUT with his glove when closing in on a baseball, especially when he played CF, because he got a bad jump to begin with and doesn’t adapt well on balls hit over his head, a lack of size and long limbs, that make him less than elite for leaping for balls at the wall, etc. He also turns the wrong way when sizing up a ball hit over his head….the good about him is his astonishing speed, which helps him run down balls to his left and right in a coast-to-coast fashion. If the ball is hit straight over his head, however, he is anything but sure footed on takeoff and has not make adjustments on catchable balls. This is less of a problem in left field as it was in CF, as already acknowledged by me.

                So, how much more specific do you want me to be? I have been very detailed, and have backed up my opinion on that matter, you just don’t like my opinion.

                In fact I haven’t heard a word from anyone who touts this guy as an elite defender that references HOW he plays. All I hear is some reiteration of second generation opinions (Peter Gammons and Bill James, who see him a helluvalot less than I do) and a stat that even the creators acknowledge isn’t really relevant after one year.

  24. dan says:

    gardner is a fourth guy in the outfield and he will prove it when they pass on crawford………………

    • steve (different one) says:

      it’s true he is no Edwin Jackson

    • murakami says:

      You know, there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that Gardner had a very good season in 2010.

      He nearly perfected going the other way on pitches away, eschewed, for the most part, that upper cut swing that will ever produce feeble pop flies and never serve his legs, and demonstrated he can work pitchers and walk – all very useful for someone with his speed.

      What is baffling is the seemingly collective cause to endow him with attributes he either does not possess, or has not demonstrated he will ever get anywhere near growing into; how is Brett Gardner, for instance, on his way to becoming a “five tool” player???

      And how about McCarver during the 2009 World Series: Brett Gardner is the best bunter in the American League, were his words, I believe. Being a Yankee hater, what in hell is McCarver’s emotional investment in Brett Gardner, who is not even a competent bunter, let alone the “best bunter in the American League.”???

      So, let me get this straight. Brett Gardner is:

      1). 25 years old (even though he’s actually 27).
      2). The best defensive left fielder in baseball
      3). The best defensive OUTFIELDER in baseball
      4). the best bunter in the American League
      5). En route to his inevitable rise to the status of five-tool player.

      I feel like the neighbor in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, who finally gets the “Get the Guests” game, and the origin of the non-existent son:

      “Oh, my God, I think I understand this! Oh my God, I think I understand this!”

  25. Another Bronx Dynasty says:

    It will if they put Gardner & 1 top prospect pitcher & 1 prospect catcher for say Vince Mazzarp just traded to KC & Soria as Mo’s heir apparent.

    • yankees1717 says:

      this post is bad to begin with, and then you say vince mazzaro. wow this post has the worst comments i have ever seen on rab. and, wait, did you say gardner AND two top prospects? bhahah

  26. vinnie says:

    Let me ask a question. What do you get when you cross Brett Gardner with Nick Swisher? Answer….Carl Crawofrd. The best free agent outfielder out there. A 5 tool guy that would dominate the New York skyline.

    Lets face it. If the Yanks pass on this guy, the Sox won’t.

    The 2011 line up should look like this.
    Crawford LF
    Granderson CF
    Texeria 1B
    Cano 2B
    Arod 3B
    Jeter SS
    Gardner RF
    Swisher DH
    Montero C

    Sorry Jorge, your time has come and gone. Thanks for the memories, but striking out 60% of the time during the post season, not to mention the abysmal play behind the plate is unacceptabe.

    The starting 5 should look like this:
    Sabathia
    Lee
    Hughes
    Nova
    Pettite.
    Thanks but no thanks for Burnett and Vasquez.

    • mbonzo says:

      REALLY?
      First off, if you want Crawford so badly over Gardner and then you bat him first you are way off. Gardner posted a .30 higher OBP than Crawford. He’s made to be a lead off hitter, and his number say that he’d be a better one than Crawford. Crawford is 1000x better than Gardner at driving the ball, but he’s not the patient hitter you want to slot in number 1.

      Second, what are you doing taking Posada out of the lineup? You take one small sample size (where he actually hit .263) and decide a whole season’s rotation on it. He’s owed $13 mil this year and he’ll probably end up hitting well over 20 homeruns, assuming he stays healthy as the DH. He’s also a really important switch hitting bat.

      Third, wtf is with the end of that lineup? Jeter, Gardner, Swisher, Montero? Montero is NOT batting 9th ever. He has NO speed. In that lineup Gardner bats ninth. Theres just so many wtfs about that lineup.

      On to the rotation… again we’re judging by small sample size that Nova is not only better than Burnett, but he’s better than Pettitte. Nova shouldn’t be better than even Vazquez, who is for someone reason in your plan resigned, only to say no thanks to him. Burnett of course can be judged on this years performance alone to be sent to the bullpen or maybe even AAA. I don’t even know why I am responding to this. My only question to you is, if AJ isn’t going to be in the starting rotation, who’s gonna deliver the pies?

    • bexarama says:

      And we’re getting rid of Posada (who is still very good offensively) and Burnett how, exactly?

  27. dan says:

    i am better than vasquez

  28. Mark says:

    “But if Brett Gardner, who posted a 5.4 WAR and made $450,000 in 2010, can continue to be a 3-4 win player, and if Crawford is making $19-$22 million next year while maintaining a 5-6 win pace, the Yankees would be paying a whopping premium — somewhere around $17-$19 million — for an improvement of two wins.”

    I don’t know where to begin with the flaws in your argument.
    1. You’re $17-19 million premium calculation has Gardner valued at $450k. He’ll earn at least double that in his last year before arbitration, and then probably 10x that.
    2. $19-22 million is an awfully high figure for an everyday player. While it’s certainly possible for Carl Crawford to get that offer, you’re definitely overestimating his expected contractual value while drastically underestimating Gardner’s.
    3. Gardner produced 1 year’s worth of everyday numbers. We’ve seen way too many one year wonders in professional sports. He has just as much of a chance to fail miserably as he does of producing another stellar season. Crawford has produced consistently over the last half decade. Reliability in sports is definitely worth a premium.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      You’re $17-19 million premium calculation has Gardner valued at $450k. He’ll earn at least double that in his last year before arbitration

      100% false. He might crack $500,000, but that’s it. The Yanks have a sliding scale based on service time regardless of production.

    • yankees1717 says:

      okay, so we pay JUST 15MM for “reliability.” boy am i glad you’re not gm

  29. If they’re going to upgrade the OF, I say trade Pat Venditte to Cincinnati for Jay Bruce.

    /noonewillgetthisreference’d

  30. Another Bronx Dynasty says:

    If Crawford winds up with the Red Sox I keep having nightmares of Dave Roberts & the 2004 ALCS only Crawford has greater speed and much better hitter. Roberts speed & disruption helped the Sox win the ALCS (or Game 7). Everyone remember Damon in the WS of 2009 & his steal of second & than onto 3rd base!
    Speed can disrupt a pitchers flow & a defenses alignment. Not to say that

    Our bats were asleep in the ALCS & we dont play small ball. By adding Crawford along with Gardner, Granderson that will that will give us another dimension. Also adds a .300 hitter & Gold Glove LF, & between him & Granderson we’ll see a ton more rally starting extra base hits.

    • bexarama says:

      Carl Crawford hit .143/.143/.286 in the 2010 ALDS, stop crying

      Also, we already have two OFs that are very capable of doing all those things you talked about with speed, and the third is a really good OF.

  31. Another Bronx Dynasty says:

    Finally this may not be popular but it allows us to take a guy like Swisher & package him for a trade for a future Ace type, who is maybe ready for 2011 or 2012.
    Swisher just had his best yr ever, coming off an All-Star yr & rigt now is the time he is the most marketable. Package him with a prospect or two and try for a trade with some red hot prospects to replace Pettite in 2012 such as:

    Giants – Madison Bumgarner
    Braves – Craig Kimbrel
    Rays – Jeremy Hellickson
    Orioles – Brian Matusz
    Brewers Jake Odorizzi

  32. NYY28N11 says:

    Ben, your point is taken…but what you are missing here is the obvious. If the Yankees get Crawford, they will turn around and package Gardy or Grandy with Romine and other prospects to get another starter….if they fail to land Lee OR if Andy decides to retire. The Yankees aren’t looking to add for sheets and giggs.

  33. bexarama says:

    The comments on this post went to Insanity Town.

  34. bakekrukow says:

    WE SHOULD LIKE TOTALLY GET BUBBA CROSbY and then trade Arod for Benny Agbyani and then resign Drew Henson, and we then will win.

  35. mark says:

    Whoever wrote this article dosent watch baseball enough said ?
    2011 lineup
    jeter
    werth
    tex
    arod
    cano
    dunn
    swish
    grandy
    montero

    rotation
    Sabathia
    Garland
    burnett
    hughes
    Kuroda

  36. armandito torres says:

    Crawford is a GREAT player…better than Gardner,Graqnderson, and Swisher…wen that type of an athlete is available you just go out and get him for 5 to 7 years…as simpe as that…he outhits everybody in our outfielda..have power and will steal 50 or more bases..perfect for leading off….go and get him…

  37. jay destro says:

    there are too many blogs.

  38. virginia yankee says:

    There are two Brett Gardners – you saw the best he is likely to be in the first half of the season – he will not be that good again unless he changes his swing and approach to his ABs; you saw the ineffective hurt Gardner due entirely to his style of play, also not likely to change — the no power 100 K Brett can’t carry OF production while Jeter, ARod, Swisher, and Texiera age. The Yankees need to replace aging brilliance. Due to ICON and contract/available talent they can’t yet replace SS, 3B, SS, CF. They MUST replace C. They are set only with Cano — check his age. The ONE LINEUP CHANGE THEY CAN MAKE IS OF — hopefully the 22-24 yr old version of Crawford if such is available for trade. Maybin just went to the PADRES where the heck were the Yankees, taking a chance on a Maybin or somewhat more “certain” is preferable but if not CRAWFORD is fine – manage the $s with the Jeter ARod, Swisher, replacement.

    The 2010 Yankees have more potential to be the 2002-2008 Yankees than the 95-2001 Yankees — IT is NOT the LF SLOT alone it is the 5 Year Plan to sustain excellence. The postion has to take up decreasing performance we are locked into a SS, 3B, C potentially RF and soon on the curve 1B Crawford buys 2 years possibly more Brett is caddie or Trade Bait.

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