Cashman: Dinner with Crawford was just a bluff

In the words of Brian Cashman...
Mailbag: Plan B, Damon, Cano

When the Yankees wined and dined then-free agent outfield Carl Crawford on Tuesday night, most assumed that he was their Plan B to Cliff Lee and the team was just doing its due diligence. As it turns out, it was nothing more than a bluff. The Yankees never made an offer to Crawford, and Brian Cashman conceded to Jack Curry that they had no interest in signing him. It was all designed to jack up the price for whoever signed him, though we’ll never know if it actually worked.

So what’s the narrative here? I guess there’s two. If you’re a Cashman-backer, you think it was a sweet like move. If you’re a Cashman-hater, you think he’s just trying to save face after Crawford landed in Boston. What side do you fall on?

In the words of Brian Cashman...
Mailbag: Plan B, Damon, Cano
  • Pak

    Who cares, GET CLIFTON

  • Bam

    OK Cash What is Plan B if Cliffy Lee does not join his rotund buddy CC in NY? Can’t imagine he will turn down all that money. Josh Johnson, Greinke (who wouldnot pose for SI article)

    • theyankeewarrior

      Would you rather have signed Crawford for 21M/per and NOT had a chance at Cliff lee?

      Pitching wins championships. We’re in the pitching market.

      If Lee goes elsewhere, we move on. We have a solid team. Not everything works in a vacuum.

      • LarryM.,Fl.

        Agree, Look to the West and San Fran. still can’t believe that team won the WS.

        • Don

          I can’t believe the SF ragamuffin offense had so much success against Cliff Lee after the way he’s shut Tampa and NY down the last two years.

          • Ross in Jersey

            As much as it pains us to think it, he’s not a Cyborg. His control was off in game 1 and he got pounded, it happens to every one. He was very good in the next game outside of one pitch.

        • Monteroisdinero

          and Lee couldn’t beat them in 2 starts.

      • Poopy Pants

        A rotation of CC, Hughes, AJ and ? and ? isn’t solid, especially according to your premise that pitching wins.

        • theyankeewarrior

          My point is about Crawford. Assuming that we can’t sign them both, it would be crazy to sign him over Cliff.

          If we miss out on Cliff Lee, it will not be Cashman’s fault, or the Yankees fault. it will be because Lee just didn’t want to pitch in NY for some reason.

          We would then look to acquire another top tier pitcher via trade. because pitching wins, and we need pitching.

          But CC, Hughes, AJ (and maybe Andy) is a very solid start.

          • OldYanksFan

            If Cashman signed Crawford to an EIGHT year, $142M contract, I may have become a Sox fan. No doubt, the Sox are a better team for this signing, but Theo way overpaid. As a lefty without much opposite field power, Fenway won’t help Carl much, and may even take a few HRs away. Werth, OTOH, would have thrived in Fenway. Theo was just a tad to slow on this one.

    • Ross in Jersey

      Whatever it is, there’s no way for us to know. Trades are so complicated I doubt even Cashman himself knows who he could get yet. Suffice to say, Plan B is to use the multitude of trade chips in our farm system to get a solid starting pitcher.

  • theyankeewarrior

    In Cashman I Trust

    • RuleroftheBones86


      All hail the ninja-elf Cash-man!!!

  • Willy

    I can’t imagine Crawford’s signing for much more than what he got, so I guess it worked.

  • Johnny O

    This is obviously common. I think Theo’s offer to Mariano of 2 years and to Cliff Lee for 7 years were clearly bluffs. Hard to remember the various tweets and whatnot, but I think I saw someone say that the Red Sox offered Lee 7 years just really low simply to Braunecker could tell Heyman that he had a “legitimate 7 year offer.” Now with DB (good initials) saying that one of the teams has been eliminated, it’s most likely that the Red Sox fugazi 7 year deal has served its purpose and the team has moved on after signing Crawford.

    Another question – why is it that only the Yankees offer to Lee has $ and years attached to it? Nobody else’s has leaked at all? and no one can confirm any other teams even interested in Lee aside from NYY and Texas? This tells me Lee’s market is a lot smaller than everyone thinks and that Texas’s offer is way less than everyone thinks. Either that or the Yankees front office can’t keep a secret. I’d bet that our 7 year offer is at least $40M more than any other club is putting up.

    • Ross in Jersey

      Another question – why is it that only the Yankees offer to Lee has $ and years attached to it? Nobody else’s has leaked at all? and no one can confirm any other teams even interested in Lee aside from NYY and Texas? This tells me Lee’s market is a lot smaller than everyone thinks and that Texas’s offer is way less than everyone thinks. Either that or the Yankees front office can’t keep a secret. I’d bet that our 7 year offer is at least $40M more than any other club is putting up.

      I believe the British call this “rattling the saber” or, you know, making your strong position known to discourage other suitors from jumping in.

      • Johnny O

        I get that, but it also puts a firm target out there. If the Rangers sat back and assumed the Yankees would only go max 5/$125M, then they might offer 5/$130M or something just higher since they didn’t know exactly what the NYY offer was. Now that everyone knows, they can weigh whether or not they want to match the Yankees real offer rather than attempt to overbid an assumed offer and still come up short.

        I just feel like in today’s twitter reporting era, if any other team was remotely close to the Yankees then Braunecker and the Heymans/Olneys/Marchands of the world would be pasting it over every media platform available.

        • Ross in Jersey

          I understand where you’re coming from. But..

          I really don’t think the Yankees care what other teams bid right now. The Yankees are prepared to offer what any reasonable baseball person would agree is a maximum contract for Lee. As others said last night, they’ve done all they can. If Lee decides to take less money to go to Texas or if Texas decides to grossly overpay, there’s nothing the Yankees can – nor should – do about it.

          • BklynJT

            Unless the reports of Cashman’s 6 year max limit on the deal was false, he said the same exact thing before the team upped their offer to 7 years on the contract.

            Cashman himself that he finds himself changing with the ebb and flow of the negotiations. To me that’s saying he got squeezed for that 7th year because of the Crawford deal, which means they can potentially change what their “max years or dollars” is depending on the situation.

  • Ross in Jersey

    But Mike Lupica told me that the Red Sox STOLE him from the Yankees and he’s never wrong nor a Yankee hater!

    • theyankeewarrior

      I’d like to enter the octagon with Mike Lupica

    • Johnny

      Mike Lupica is a Yankee hating douche.

  • TopChuckie

    Spending big, long-term money on Crawford never made sense, so I want, and find it easy, to believe it was a bluff. But, then I wonder what the conversations were like. Did everyone know it was just for appearances, because obviously Crawford is all for squeezing every dime out of whoever eventually signed him too, or did Cash fake like he was interested?

    Someone said here recently that no pitcher ever comes and has his best years with the Yanks and it’s a pretty accurate assessment. This is why I think Ricky Nolasco would be an excellent Plan B. The Marlins are always ripe for getting ripped off in a trade and I really do believe Nolasco’s best years may be ahead of him. If it only cost prospects, I’d like Nolasco even in addition to Lee. He has all the right characteristics, young with upside, somewhat underrated, relatively cheap via trade.

    • Johnny

      The Red Sox and Yankees do this to each other all the time. Remember the Johan sweepstakes, when for about a week all we heard was Johan to the Sox was all but done.

    • Hughesus Christo

      Why are people o high on Nolasco?

      I realize his FIP has been much better than his ERA, ERA+, etc., but you’re talking about a guy who has been a 3 in the NL. Why do we think this is going to translate to NY?

      He’s coming from a huge ballpark in a bad league to the AL east and YS3. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, and I see little reason to think he wouldn’t be a prime candidate for the Javy Vazquez Memorial Award. Florida also isn’t going to just hand him over.

      I see a pattern of people looking for SP targets, finding (naturally) the best stats+price situations in the NL and forgetting that these stats are all inflated on these guys.

      • Ross in Jersey

        I think we should just reject the Yankees from signing any pitcher without a track history AL and call it the “Hughesus Christo Rule”

        • Hughesus Christo

          Oh, the HCR is real, but Nolasco is an extreme case.

          • Ross in Jersey

            His homer rate is troublesome but all of his other peripherals say he’d be a solid 2 or 3 starter. If we miss out on Lee he may be the best option out there that doesn’t cost half the farm system.

            • Hughesus Christo

              All his other peripherals… on the Marlins

              • BklynJT

                NL -> AL (expect worse stats)
                NL -> AL EAST (expect much worse stats)
                Pitcher park -> Hitters park (expect worse stats)
                Pitcher park -> YS3 (expect much worse stats)

                I’m with the HCR on this one. Trading for Nolasco is very risky. Nolasco pitches in the NL AND in a pitcher friendly park. Bring him over to the AL east in YS3, your going to need to apply some correction rates to his stats in order to properly evaluate him. The problem is that this correction rate has a huge standard deviation if we examine history (too lazy to actually do it so I’m taking a leap of faith and hoping the numbers are on my side =) )

                Everyone rooting in favor of Nolasco seem to be using the same arguments they used last year in favor of Javy Vazquez. Not saying that automatically dooms Nolasco to failure, but I don’t think you can just look at his peripherals and expect to just decrease them by 0.5 to 1.0 when trading for him. There is too much deviation in the numbers when going from NL to AL East. This makes any trade too risky, which for me prevents me from giving up any top prospects for. We don’t need to repeat our mistakes from last year.

          • Steve H

            Damn good thing we didn’t get Schilling that time.

            • Hughesus Christo

              Curt Schilling was one of the 5-10 best pitchers in baseball for a span of almost 10 years before he ever put on a Red Sox uniform. Nolasco is a #2/3 on the Marlins.

              • Steve H

                But he came from the NL.

                • Hughesus Christo

                  Don’t bastardize the HCR

  • Dick Whitman

    In Cashman I trust.

    • Dick Whitman


    • theyankeewarrior

      haha beat you to it

  • steve (different one)

    Not sure I understand why Cashman would have to save face. Given the Yankee OF and their other needs, paying Crawford $22M for 7 years would have been a terrible use of resources. Everyone here has been saying all winter that Crawford didn’t fit, just b/c he went to Boston instead of LAA doesn’t change that.

    • Slugger27

      werth is the only reason this contract isnt getting ridiculed everywhere. as recently as a month ago, i think everyone wouldve thought 7/142 was a huge overpay

      • BklynJT

        werth Boston making this offer is the only reason this contract isnt getting ridiculed everywhere. as recently as a month ago, i think everyone wouldve thought 7/142 was a huge overpay

  • I am not the droids you’re looking for

    I think it was essentially both – exactly what a smart GM should do.

    It gives him an in on the conversation to monitor things, and act should things go in a favorable/interesting direction. I’m sure as a result of the dinner Cash got a call just before CC agreed to take Boston’s offer to see if he wanted to beat it. At that price/duration it was clearly a pass. But if the best offer had been the Halo’s piddling offer? My bet is that Cash would’ve topped it and “stolen” CC, regardless of where things stood with Lee in the moment.

    On the other hand, bc things played out as they did with the Sawx giving CC enough $/years that Cash didn’t want to play beyond those levels, Cash helped ensure that the price was high enough to likely cause some pain for RSN, even if not until the latter years of the deal.

    Don’t sell the ninja short. Just ask all this another way: what’s the downside to having this dinner and making the play as I outlined it? I cant see any.

    • Mike HC

      This is how I see it too.

  • Doug

    I fall into category 3: a Cashman-backer who thinks he’s just trying to save face after Crawford landed in Boston.

    • Bigley

      I agree, like Cashman but he is getting killed by the Red Sox. Sox probably have the best team in baseball now thanks to the moves. Yanks have to get Lee and even with that I do not see them beating out the Red Sox. You know Epstein will sign Downs and maybe another. Then what weakness will the Sox have. Last year second best offense in baseball with injuries. Now they have two of the best offensive players in baseball. Plus speed??? If they keep Elsbury who has a better speed team in baseball? And they play in a little league ballpark. OH MY GOD

      • Steve H

        Last year second best offense in baseball with injuries. Now they have two of the best offensive players in baseball.

        From that team they lost two very good offensive players.

        • Chris

          Not to mention that the Yankee’s pitching was A LOT better than the Red Sox last year, and the Red Sox haven’t done anything to improve there. Assuming the Yankees sign Lee, that’s a huge advantage that the Yankees will have.

      • OldYanksFan

        How can you say that? The Sox had tons of money and many holes to fill. Of course they were going to get some studs… but they certainly paid for them. Hell, I didn’t want Carl for 6/$100m… but 7/$142?!?!? 3 years ago, in a similar economy, they had Manny for that money.

        While the Yankees could upgrade their OF, in terms of Bang for the Buck, our OF is by far, the most effective part of our team. Our plan was ALWAYS Pitching, a LH RP and Bench. And it will probably be the same next year, unless Jesus spits the bit.

  • CountryClub

    Since I never believed the Yankees had any real interest in Crawford (because they don’t need him), I totally believe Cash was trying to drive up the price. How come the media isn’t complaining that the Sox bid against themselves for Crawford? The deal was 35 mil more than anyone else was offering. If the yanks did that…

  • Bryan

    Backer. Deal made no sense for the Yankees in the first place. Cashman has done a good job the past few years of going after players we need or who would upgrade us significantly. Crawford was not a major upgrade over Gardner. Gardner was better defensively and the better guy at getting on base. Crawford wins simply at being able to hit for more power. Not worth the price tag. Good job Cashman.

    • Matt

      Cashman is the biggest fake tough talker ever. Lets not forget..lets not forget that Arod opted out and said ‘screw you guys Im going home’. Arod then bent Cashman over his knee and started spanking him saying ‘give me what I want..give me what I want’. Cashman eventually said ‘yes Daddy’ and signed perhaps the biggest douche bag ever to play for the yankees.

  • Steve H

    Crawfords 7/$142 contract makes me believe Cashman. If the other known offer was $108 million, the dinner likely made the Sox pounce with a huge offer.

    • Reggie C.

      I’m pretty sure Theo suffered some acid reflux when he heard that the Angels’s offer came in under $110 million. Theo’s realizing he didn’t have to go that high to win Crawford’s services.

      • BklynJT

        The imagery is wonderful

        • king of fruitless hypotheticals

          what’s cool is at this point, if Theo ever says ‘oh, I think we might have gotten cc for $120 and that’s a lesson you learn’ Ninja Elf can come back with ‘no, from dinner I already knew the price was above that’ or something to that effect.

          Dinner…a ninja elf’s favorite weapon.

    • Klemy

      100% agree with this.

  • Steve H

    This story, directly from the GM is much more believable than what the media makes up on their own, like the “Theo offered Rivera a contract simply as a diversion so he could swoop in and sign Crawford” nonsense I have read.

  • andypettitteisastartingpitcher

    I don’t think we need or have needed Carl Crawford. I don’t even understand what the big deal is either way.

  • clarko

    backer. He may have learned cc was leaning toward Boston and the info helped revise the offer to Lee. But while it may have driven up the price for Crawford, it would have contributed to raising the price on Lee and other future free agents. Perhaps there is a strategy amongst big market teams to drive player prices higher to exclude smaller market teams from the bidding?

  • cheddar

    I don’t fault the strategy, but I was hoping that Cash could get Crawford to hold off from signing with anyone until Lee signed.

    • Ross in Jersey

      Once Theo offered that contract I’m sure Crawford thought he was dreaming and decided to try to sign as quickly as humanly possible.

  • Reggie C.

    Anybody else not buying Adrian Gonzalez’s statement made to Latino media the other day that there is no already-agreed upon contract extension?

    • Reggie C.

      Oooof… off-topic. My bad. Delete away RAB!

  • David Allan

    I love all this, the next best offer was $108 Million. You’re honestly going to tell me, that if the Red Sox hadn’t paid Carl Crawford he was going to get less money than Werth? I simply don’t believe that nobody else went north of Werth’s 7/126. Which would mean the Red Sox were somewhere with 16 million or 2-2.5 million per year over 7 years of another offer. For a player that is younger and more talented than Werth.

    • Steve H

      The next best offer for CC when the Yankees signed him was what, 5/$100? The Sox offer blew the competition out of the water, there was no point in going back to Anaheim (if he preferred them) to try and match at that point. If they had offered 7/$130, I’m sure he would have taken the Sox offer back to the Angels. At 7/$142 the Sox blew away the field the way the Yankees did with CC. Also, while Crawford is definitely younger than Werth, it’s debatable whether he’s more talented (I go with Werth) and the Nationals had to make a big overpay to get a top guy.

      • Yanklover

        Hey I love the Yanks but lets call a duck a duck. Werth better than Crawford? Defense who is better, speed?, the only thing Werth can do better than Crawford is hit the long one. Who would you rather have on the bases Werth or Crawford? How about in the outfield with them pulled in in the ninth with one out? Give me a break!!!

        • Steve H

          Werth is better than Crawford. I’d rather give the younger (and healither) Crawford a 7 year deal, but if I could only have 1 of them for one season, I’d take Werth.

          And as far as who I’d rather have on the bases, if I was looking for a pinch runner I’d take Crawford. But the odds of Werth getting on base in the first place are much greater than Crawford, so it’s more likely Werth would actually be on base.

          • Not Tank the Frank

            I thiknk I agree with your assessment about the better player for one season. Food for thought: Werth has never once finished top five in WAR in his league. Crawford has done that, and he’s two years younger. Considering his lack of home runs I think that says a lot about his defense. He’s an elite defender and has enought XBH power to put up that kind of season.

  • pete

    I doubt a formal offer was made, but I don’t think the Yankees wanted him to sign before Cliff Lee signed. That is, they were only half-bluffing; if lee signs with the Yanks, there’s no room/need for Crawford, but if he signs elsewhere, the yanks can make a play at crawford and then deal a package centered around an OF for a starter. I don’t think there’s any way they didn’t consider that scenario. My guess is that the dinner was to let him know they were seriously interested in the hopes of keeping him from signing anywhere before cliff lee. Sadly, it didn’t work out that way.

  • Mike

    Who cares, the Red Sox already got him. What else is Cashman going to say?

    “We really wanted to sign Crawford and Lee. We were just too focused on Cliff Lee to do anything else right now.”

  • bonestock94

    They didn’t need Carl Crawford!! He was a plan B if Lee negotiations failed, and not a great one at that!! If the Yankees were in it don’t you think they would have made (prominent) competitive offers!? No, of course not, they desperately needed him but got outbid by the Red Sox. Or better yet, the entire Yankees management was so busy dealing with Lee that Crawford slipped their minds. Kind of like what happens at Taco Bell, when they forget my soft taco because of the lunch time rush. Right. Now that the Red Sox are good again the war on logic begins.

  • javysagoner

    why do we need crawford, if gardy and granderson come back healthy are good at stealing bases, cost effective. Why tie our hands with an outfielder for 20mil a year when at 36 he wont be able to steal nearly half as many bases as he does now, and probably wont be able to hit half the 20 home runs he hit last season. Crawford should be sending a cmoney a thank you card for that 140mil dollar dinner he bought him. It is quite obvious with the Angels being the next offer at 108 mil that boston freaked out when they saw cmoney and crawford at dinner.

    • Martin

      Exactly. We need pitching, not more speedy outfielders. Especially when we have a very affordable outfield as it stands…

  • Neil

    Cashman would be better off flying to Lee’s home and begging than driving up the price for Crawford and rappeling in CT.

  • Mister Delaware

    The meeting was even more deceptive than Mike mentioned in the article. That swordfish Cashman ordered? Spit every bite into his napkin when no one was looking. The entire fucking event was a bluff, even the dinner itself. Cashman FTW!

    • Mike HC


  • Joe P

    Crawford went to the Sox at too high a price, we all know that. So no matter what Cashman did, Boston will suffer to some degree from the contract, and that makes me happy.

  • Mike

    If we have only one 20-million-plus contract this offseason, then it should be pitching.

    The Yankees were never tied seriously to Crawford until a day or two prior to his singing. I figured it was to drive up his price, and my fear, which turned out correct, was the Yankees knew Boston was going for Crawford. Didn’t the Red Sox do similar by making a seven-year offer to Lee, but for lower money?

  • Martin

    I think that this off-season is going to come back and haunt the Red Sox in the long-term. They just made 2 super high end deals: they plugged in a 1st baseman who was a want, not a need, and then one of the most expensive outfielders in the game (ever?)to stand in LF and watch balls rebound off the Green Monster. Crawford’s defensive skills are going to go largely to waste in left at Fenway, and he is by no means an OBP machine. Gonzalez is a great player, but the Sox didn’t have a hole they needed to fill at first base. With all of this money committed now, the big question is: how do the Red Sox actually address their real holes? They are still the same from last season and their payroll is about to skyrocket.

    In my opinion, Theo is show boating right now- and Cashman tried to help make him pay a little more for it. Theo is giving the fans the stars they want, but they are in the wrong places on the field.