Via ESPN -
New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman admitted Thursday that he feigned interest in Carl Crawford last offseason to drive up the price for the Boston Red Sox to sign the free agent.
“I actually had dinner with the agent to pretend that we were actually involved and drive the price up,” Cashman said. “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.’ ”
The rivalry continues on the field Friday night. The Red Sox are clinging to a two-game lead over the Rays in the wild-card standings going into a three-game set in the Bronx against the AL East champion Yankees.
It wasn’t long ago that the Yankees were looking up at the Red Sox in the standings, but Boston has slumped badly in September after leading the wild-card race by nine games, and Crawford hasn’t lived up to expectations.
And now it turns out the Yankees didn’t even want him. They had put all of their eggs in the Cliff Lee basket this offseason, but Cashman had to scramble when the left-hander chose the Phillies.
The GM was even ready to deal top catching prospect Jesus Montero to land Lee.
“I wanted Lee badly enough to move Montero,” Cashman said. “You take all the players traded when Lee went from Cleveland to Philly, Philly to Seattle, and Seattle to Texas, and Montero would’ve been by far the best player moved in any of those deals.
“But now I’m just happy fans have had a chance to get a better feel of why I was hesitant to make that deal. I’m not saying I was right in not doing that deal for Lee; that’s to be debated. But the young players we held onto have at least proven they were worthy of the angst as far as including them in a big trade.”
Smart move by Cashman. But, why disclose it now? Nothing to gain from that – outside of trying to make yourself look good.