Brian Cashman played poker on this Free Agent pick-up – and won.
The minute that Kenny Lofton signed with the Dodgers, that closed the Damon market to two teams – the Yankees and the Red Sox.
Knowing this, Cashman told Damon’s agent, Scott Boras, we’re going to trade for a CF now, unless Damon wants to sign now, for much less than the seven years that you’re looking for (as reported).
Boras knew the Red Sox offer – 4 years for $40-42 million. So, at this point, he had to tell his client “We’re never going to get 7 years. We’re only going to get four – in New York or Boston. And, if the Yankees trade for a CF, then Boston has us by the short ones. We need to get the most money that we can on a four-year deal.”
And, when the Yankees came in with $52 million, meaning three million a year more than Lucchino was willing to go on his offer (on the table), it became clear that New York was the place to go – - unless Damon wanted to give Boston a $10-12 million “hometown” discount. Hey, he ain’t that much of an idiot.
Did Cashman really have a deal for a CF – and was ready to pull the trigger? It’s possible – and, if not, hey, a bluff is a bluff – and a good one when it works.
I just hope this is not a case of Damon wanting to go somewhere other than New York – but the money in Yankeeland was just that much more than he could get anywhere else.
The best thing for Damon to do is to produce, out of the gate, for the Yankees. It will get the fans on his side and that always makes your life pleasant in this town. And, when life is hassle-free, and you’re making $13 million a year, feeling good about your choice is easier than Tara Reid after being locked in a liquor store overnight.