|Free Agent Foreplay|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on November 11, 2008
Even teams likely to be quiet on the free agent front have gotten in on the action as the Jake Peavy trade talks have been burning up the airwaves and could remove a suitor from the CC Sabathia free agent sweepstakes.Â Â No doubt that would save the Yankees, who are widely expected to make an obscene offer, a lot of money in their pursuit of Sabathia.Â
Of course how much the Yankees will have to offer really may be determined by how serious Sabathia was about staying in the National League or going home to the west coast.Â That could all be posturing on the part of CC and his agent but it may be real.Â That wonâ€™t stop the Yankees (not to mention the Angels, Mets, Red Sox, Dodgers or even the Cubs) from at least exploring their options when it comes to Sabathia.
While the Yankees can certainly outspend any other team in the Majors when it comes to free agent money, the money may not be enough.Â What the Yankees may have is a hard time selling themselves as a potential champion - especially after last seasonâ€™s debacle and having it handed to them by both the Rays and the Red Sox.
Thatâ€™s a far cry from past years when players came to the Yankees thinking it was â€śTHEâ€ť team to give them a chance to get a World Series ring.Â No, next yearâ€™s Yankees will be a team in transition.Â Their outfield has deteriorated, their pitching is thin and could get even thinner if Mike Mussina decides to retire, and their star power didnâ€™t translate to much this year.
Toss Mystique and Aura, those legendary Yankees figures, out the window.Â Some of that tradition went out last season as the team finished 8.0 games back, some of it was left in the old Yankees Stadium, and some was left on the field when key players couldnâ€™t produce time and time again.
No, the Yankeesâ€™ dynasty has been solidly laid to rest.Â But they have plenty of cash to start building anew.Â The question regarding CC might well be one of how much does the pitcher believe, and how much does the money really matter?
That might be what Sabathia supposedly called Derek Jeter about on Friday.Â Was he feeling the captain out about the team?Â Or investigating the depth of the wallet?Â Would he hear a different story if he spoke with someone less invested in the Yankees legend?
Certainly if any team can buy credibility on the free agent market itâ€™s the Yankees who could make plays for just about every single big name free agent including Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Derek Lowe, Manny Ramirez and Ben Sheets.Â But is that a recipe for success or disaster?Â Â It has backfired on the Steinbrennerâ€™s before.Â Still whether or not it succeeds may be totally irrelevant if players like Sabathia and the others believe it will work.
Only time will tell.