Via Mike Lupica today -
Whenever the Yankees start recruiting a big free agent, the best part, every single time, is the hilarious notion that it’s not about the money, it’s about the relationships.
Brian Cashman has now flown to Arkansas to meet Cliff Lee and Mrs. Lee and Lee’s agent, just to get to know them. Maybe tell them that hardly anybody will try to spit on Mrs. Lee when she’s sitting in her own suite. Before getting down to asking the only question that ever matters in this process:
When the time comes, after they’ve established a relationship and had so much fun getting to know each other, will Lee be willing to take a whole lot more money than anybody else is offering to come pitch for the Yankees?
We were actually expected to believe a couple of years ago that Cashman and CC Sabathia had practically turned into a buddy movie when Sabathia and not Lee was the big lefthanded pitcher in play. That it was the bonding and not the money when the Yankees ended up paying Sabathia $160 million and the next biggest offer on the table was $100 million.
A Yankee offer like this is the only kind of dream moment left for the Major League Baseball Players Association, and the reason they will still fight to the death not to have a salary cap. The Yankees have to continue to set the bar stupidly high, from Derek Jeter’s old contract to Sabathia’s. The Players Association never wants a player and his agent to leave a million dollars on the table, much less 60 million.
It was the same with Mark Teixeira. And A.J. Burnett. It was the relationships. Now when it’s all over, we don’t just hear about how it was always somebody’s dream to wear the pinstripes, it was the sales pitch, too. It was the way the Yankees, especially Brian Cashman, were interested in them as people. It was Cash’s persuasiveness, and winning personality.
There are probably a lot of other general managers in baseball who think their personalities would become much more sparking if they had Steinbrenner money in their pockets.
In the end, isn’t it always about the money?