"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Stack Chedder: Is it Over Yet?

Cliff Lee is the object of the Yankees’ desire and Brian Cashman has not minced words in swooning over the star pitcher. Now that the Red Sox have signed Carl Crawford to a crazy deal the pressure is on for the Yanks to keep pace. I’ve gotten used to Lee as a nemesis and wonder if he’ll end up back with the Rangers or even the Angels though I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if he comes to the Bronx either.

The Yanks sound desperate to get him. The latest has them going to seven years. Is that knuts, a wild pitch, or just the price of doing business?

Speaking of wild pitch, dig this great marathon MC Serch and OC freestyle from the old Stretch Armstrong Show:

And if that’s not your speed, how about this:

Or, for those of you who speak Spanish:

Update: Chad Jennings with some Rule 5 fun.

Update: Over at Newsday, Ken Dawidoff breaks down Derek Jeter’s new contract.

Update: Joel Sherman has the details on several contract offers the Yanks have made to Cliff Lee.


1 Simone   ~  Dec 9, 2010 8:47 am

The Yankees are going to have to pay Lee what he wants to get him to sign. Red Sox are a stronger competitor with Crawford and Gonzalez.

2 RIYank   ~  Dec 9, 2010 8:52 am

They, are, Simone, stronger this coming year and the next. I think the Crawford contract will be an albatross down the road.

David Pinto lists some interesting statistical trends. A player's Triples/Doubles ratio declines pretty much from his first MLB season, as does his SB rate. His total SB declines from seasonal age 23. Defense, as we all know, is harder to measure, but there's no doubt that an outfielder's defense is already in decline at age 29. These are Crawford's strengths. The Red Sox will be paying him $20M/year for some very mediocre seasons, I expect.

Sure, I'm more worried about the Sox now than I was last week, but more than that I'm really glad Cashman didn't proffer this contract to Crawford.

3 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 9, 2010 9:05 am

1) Simone! Great to see you.

4 bp1   ~  Dec 9, 2010 9:11 am

[1], [2] I don't think this make the Red Sox better. I think they were better last year with Beltre and Martinez than this year with Gonz and Crawford. At least as far as the offense is concerned. They had good 3rd and 1st basemen last year, have good again this year. Outfield defense is better. So they're not better. Maybe as good. Probably worse since I think Crawford is going to struggle to live up to the "2nd highest contract for an outfielder in MLB history" tag that is going to stick to him like glue. Boston ain't Tampa Bay.

Boston spent a ton of money to make the team as good as last year in the best case scenario.

They wouldn't pay Johnny Damon but are backing up the money truck for Carl Crawford. Compare their numbers.

Not a great move by the Boy Genius, imho.

5 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 9, 2010 9:12 am

Boy am I ready for some Yankee gun-slinging right about now! Sign everyone. I know, I know, let better heads prevail. That's why I will never be a GM. Lee is in control of his fate, which must be a trial if you're Brian Cashman.

Bottom line, both Gonzo and Crawford are great signings. I have signing envy (not that I necessarily wanted them). Sox are a better team today than they were yesterday on paper. Me no likey.

6 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 9, 2010 9:15 am

They have seen Crawford play in Fenway enough to know what they have now. He'll be covering the Green Monster with relative ease. While we don't have a decent catcher with a good throw-out percentage, he will be a menace on the bases.

7 rbj   ~  Dec 9, 2010 9:18 am

Crawford will be good for a few years, but the last 2-3 are going to be bad when his speed is gone due to knee damage from all the time playing on Tampa concrete.

But it looks like 7 years is the going rate now. Sigh.

8 doodoobrown   ~  Dec 9, 2010 9:24 am

If the Yanks get Lee, it will be interesting to see which team makes out better in years 4 through 7. Crawford is a very nice player, but that contract seems awfully big for him. Of course I may be saying the same thing about Lee is another hour. But who cares? It's Yanks vs. Sox Hot Stove action! Let the money flow!

9 Simone   ~  Dec 9, 2010 9:33 am

[3] Thanks, Alex.

10 Matt Blankman   ~  Dec 9, 2010 9:36 am

I really think the Sox went to 7 on Crawford to force the Yankees to go 7 on Lee. Crawford is a nice player, but I don't get that contract. First of all, he's a speed and defense guy in LF, who'll now be crammed in to that tiny Fenway LF which de-emphasizes his strengths. Also, for a pretty good leadoff hitter, he's never had an OBP of .365 or more. He'll hit in Fenway, and he'll drive the Yankees nuts on the bases for a couple years, but it seems like an odd fit and a overreaching contract.

11 RIYank   ~  Dec 9, 2010 9:39 am

Look at Crawford's numbers next to Granderson's.

If you stick to the past two years, Carl looks much better. (Last year especially -- I wonder whether Crawford was boosted by the Contract Year effect.) But their career numbers are extremely similar, and they're the same age.

12 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 9, 2010 9:41 am

Simone and Yankee Mama?!?! Can I get a Woop, woop?

Sister Sledge is in the mothertruckin' Hizzy.


13 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 9, 2010 9:55 am

Hey AB, I've been a voyeuse on Le Banter du Bronx, too brain dead to add anything meaningful. Still not sure I did. LOL

14 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 9, 2010 10:03 am

Major League portion of Rule 5 draft: results

15 Just Fair   ~  Dec 9, 2010 10:04 am

I think Fenway will stifle Crawford's highlight reel leftfield plays. Plus he now owns the most expansive hammies in the league. Good luck with all that, Boston.

16 monkeypants   ~  Dec 9, 2010 10:08 am

Great, so the Yankees will now feel compelled to pay best-pitcher-in-the-game money for seven years to a pitcher is not the best pitcher in the league now, and has only had one truly outstanding, best-pitcher type season.


17 Jon DeRosa   ~  Dec 9, 2010 10:09 am

[10] How about the possibility that the Sox only had to go 7 cuz Cashman was forcing their hand?

18 RIYank   ~  Dec 9, 2010 10:10 am

[16] [17] I guess it cuts both ways.

19 Cru Jones   ~  Dec 9, 2010 10:40 am

$300 million + 3 good prospects = A-Gon + Crawford.

Wow. Small market Boy Genius sure is a crafty one!!

20 Matt Blankman   ~  Dec 9, 2010 10:46 am

[17] I think Cashman forced their hand with $$$, maybe the years too. It seems clear he never really wanted Crawford, and I don't blame him.

21 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 9, 2010 10:47 am

I love the Desparate Hours.

Crawford is a good player, and much better than the Red Sox have now, but you could argue that even with their new additions, Boston has maintained the status quo (which isn't a bad thing if Pedroia and Youk come back 100%). Of course, you could equally argue that AGon/CC are better bets to keep peforming well over the long term.

Defense is a trick part of the equation because AGon isnt much better than Youk at 1B, while Beltre is much better than Youk at 3B. Also, some of Crawford's defensive value will be mitigated by the short outfield at Fenway (although it will help is poor arm). Crawford's strength has been covering a lot of ground, which doesn't exist in LF at Fenway. Also, his MO has been to play deep and use his speed to come in on balls. At Fenway, he'll need to do the opposite.

If the Yankees get Lee, It think they remain as the "team to beat", but if not, the pitching swings it the Red Sox. Even with the new additions, I still think the Yankees lineup is stronger, especially if Montero emerges.

[10] I don't think that was a factor at all. I think the who length of deal issue means little compared to the total value.

[11] That was one of my first thoughts too. Before last year, Granderson's contract didn't look so hot, but with the return of crazy spending, it is once again a bargain. Heck, even Arod's $27.5mn doesn't look as bad in light of Crawford's $20mn.

22 Cru Jones   ~  Dec 9, 2010 10:49 am

[19] Expanding it out a bit:

$300 million + 3 good prospects - Beltre - V-Mart = A-Gon + Crawford + Youk at 3rd + full-time catcher TBD.

I'm not overly concerned. Well, I'm concerned, but, not more than normal state of anxiety.

23 Greg G   ~  Dec 9, 2010 10:50 am

I agree with BP1 that the Sox are about the same on paper as they were last year with slightly better defense.

However, last year the Sox were riddled with injuries and there is certainly the possibilty that Pedroia the Pixie isn't his usual self, Youk has some nagging injuries, Big Papi could have an awful 1st half again...But you would be hard-pressed to find a team so snake-bitten with injuries as the Sox last season.

The Yanks desperately need Cliff Lee and Pettite for that matter. I think if they get Lee, Pettite will want one more go around to get another ring.

The Yanks have the financial might to make a huge deal that doesn't pay off. They have a very old roster now, and there is even more urgency to win now as A-Rod, Jeter, Mo, Posada are all longer in the tooth.

3-4 years from now the Yanks will have some very big contracts all over the field that will not look so good, but hopefully they can get some more guys like Robbie Cano to carry the old folks.

24 RIYank   ~  Dec 9, 2010 10:57 am

Funny, if the Yankees sign Lee and Pettitte re-ups for a year, the staff will be ideally suited to take on the Sox' lefty-heavy order.

Switch: Saltalamacchia
Righty: Pedroia; Scutaro; Youkalis.
Lefty: A-Gon, Crawford, Drew, Ellsbury, Ortiz.

Not that I think that's particularly important, but it's an interesting fact.

25 tocho   ~  Dec 9, 2010 10:58 am

Numbers, numbers, numbers

VMart .351 OBP /20 HR /79 RBI / .844 OPS / 31 yrs
CCraw .356 OBP /19 HR /90 RBI / .851 OPS / 29 yrs

ABelt .361 OBP /28 HR /102 RBI / .919 OPS / 31 yrs
AGonz .393 OBP /31 HR /101 RBI / .904 OPS / 28 yrs

On offense, there's an upgrade there, but not a very big one... Fenway will be better for Gonzalez but not for Crawford who has better numbers on turf.

On defense, Beltre,Gonzalez and Crawford are great defensively. Martinez is not good and Youk going to 3B will be a downgrade.

I believe the biggest upgrade is in their ages.

26 Matt Blankman   ~  Dec 9, 2010 11:00 am

The biggest factor for the Sox in '11 will be their own players getting healthy and playing as well as we know they can. I think the additions are nice, but essentially a wash. If everyone's healthy, its a 95+ win team.

27 Mattpat11   ~  Dec 9, 2010 11:02 am

Do whatcha gotta do.

Its not like there's anyone attractive in next years class.

28 The Hawk   ~  Dec 9, 2010 11:03 am

Even though it seems like too many years, the Crawford deal does have me leaning more towards signing Lee, six years, seven years, what have you. I get the idea Lee may not do it though. Just a hunch.

I didn't understand how Crawford was going to make up for not getting Lee anyway. Even with Gardner, I'm pretty happy with the Yankees OF. I don't see how they need to add a bat, not at that cost.

29 Matt Blankman   ~  Dec 9, 2010 11:06 am

[27] Agreed - the Yankees can afford to get silly with Lee, as they feel they need him NOW. I don't think Crawford is a great fit in Fenway, but he'll score plenty of runs for the next couple of years.

30 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 9, 2010 11:28 am

[15] I dunno, I would think Prince Fielder would have a leg lock on that title...

31 joejoejoe   ~  Dec 9, 2010 11:34 am

The player with the age 31 similarity score closest to Cliff Lee is Denny Neagle?

32 bp1   ~  Dec 9, 2010 11:53 am

[25] Career numbers suggest that last year's Crawford output was on the high side and a return to the norm is in order. I would be surprised if he hits 19 dingers for the BoSox in Fenway, unless he learns to plink fly balls off the pesky pole. I don't believe a career .781 OPS is worth $20 million per year, but it isn't my money. He's 29, not 23, and has a skill set that doesn't age all that well. CCraw is not Rickey Henderson.

I'm glad Boston got him, and I'm hoping the Yankees keep Gardner. Gardner and Crawford have essentially the same career OPS, with Crawford having more power and Gardner having higher OBP. You want your speed guys to get on base and turn a walk or single into a double with their legs.

At least I do.

Clearly the boy genius in Boston is smarter than I am, so I'll just be quiet now.

33 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 9, 2010 12:24 pm

I for one wish the Yanks LHP rule 5 pick had the first name of Eric ...

34 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Dec 9, 2010 12:38 pm

Echoing my Gardner love and my Crawford pish-tush from an earlier thread, it's worth noting: All the speed in the world adds up to bupkis if the manager chains everyone to first base and just waits for Tex to yard one.

Cue the debates over the demonstrable value of stealing (and bunting!). I won't rehash my hash on that score.

The speed game is magnificent to watch (when it's your team... I still wake up sweating with images of Joey Cora on my retinas). But setting the roster is only half the battle.

Green lights all around, Joltin' Joe, whomever you get to suit up! Okay, yellow for Tex and red for Jorge.

35 MDF   ~  Dec 9, 2010 1:29 pm

I'm sensing that the arm-chair fantasy GMs, having spent the last month telling us that various players, especially Crawford and Lee, aren't worth the money and the long term contacts that they're demanding, now realize that we are about to get our butts kicked by the Red Sox for the next three to four years.

'We'll get you guys in 2015!" isn't much of a rallying cry.

36 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 9, 2010 2:19 pm

[33] How about Wanda? (No idea if you're already linking to that >;)

[34] The red flag would go nicely with his red a(hem)...

37 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 9, 2010 3:04 pm

[36] Red light... That's what I get for texting during wrap...

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