Sources: the Yankees are very much engaged in conversations with free agent outfielder Carl Crawford. What is unknown is whether they could sign Cliff Lee and still stay in the mix for Crawford, who figures to sign for more money than any player this winter.
This has kind of been the story all offseason. The Yankees have maintained a conversation with Crawford, but it is generally viewed as conversations they are having just in case they don’t sign Lee.
At this point there is no real reason to think that this is any different, but the Yankees are not going to put all of their eggs in Lee’s basket. Meaning, Brian Cashman is out there talking with other GM’s. If he finds a deal out there where he could swap one of their current outfielders for a pitcher – he’ll make it and then try to add Crawford via free agency instead.
I doubt very much that this is a post-2008 scenario where the Yankees added CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and then out of nowhere added Mark Teixeira as well. There are two major differences between this season and that.
The biggest being the Yankees missed the playoffs in 2008 and were about to open a brand new stadium the following year. They needed to impress right away with their exorbitant new ticket prices. The other difference is money. The Yankees had it that year as they had some huge contracts coming off the books that they weren’t replacing like Jason Giambi, Carl Pavano, and Mike Mussina among others.
So while they may be talking with Crawford now there is a very small chance they will add Lee and keep these talks open. Besides, there is the possibility they are doing this just to get back at the Red Sox for offering Mariano Rivera a three-year deal this week.