Boston is the seventh largest media market, according to Nielsen, but in terms of baseball team markets only the Phillies, Rangers and New York, L.A. teams should be able to match the Olde Towne Team’s revenue streams. Philly and Dallas are bigger than Boston and are one team cities as well. The N.Y. and L.A. markets are twice as big as the Hub so they can bring in just as much cash if not more than the Sox. Thus, six teams can theoretically offer a free agent a more lucrative contract than the Red Sox without dipping into the billionaire owners’ personal pockets.
The Dodgers have ownership and financial issues so they are unlikely to make any major moves like signing Carl Crawford. The Rangers, Mets and Phillies are set in left field.
With Torii Hunter moving to right field, the Angels need someone in the middle more than in left and Crawford has indicated that he does not want to play in centerfield. The Angels and the former free agent do not seem like a good match. This leaves the Yankees as the other possible suitor.
Crawford would be an upgrade to the Yankee outfield both offensively and defensively. With a big left field to cover for 81 games, the speedy outfielder’s good range would be more valuable to the Yankees than most other teams. He would also be able to take advantage of the short porch in right. The Stadium seems to be tailored for Crawford.
Since our rivals would seem to gain the most from Crawford and dominate the largest MLB market, they should have offered the free agent the most money. But it didn’t seem like they were even players. What gives?
Crawford could have made it known that he was not going to play in the Bronx. That would be one explanation for the Yankees seemingly lack of interest. They could have also evaluated Crawford differently than the conventional wisdom and determined he was not worth the investment. That would explain their lack of aggressiveness.
But things appear to be changing in the Bronx. The public nature of Derek Jeter’s negotiations is abnormal. The drawn out Cliff Lee courting is not how the Yankees usually conduct business. In the past, they fly under the media radar, swoop in with the best offer and call a press conference. This could all be coincidental or we could be witnessing the sons starting to take more control of the operation after a few years being the top dogs.
Let’s hope for the later. Many empires have fallen when the keys to the castle have been passed down to multiple sons. We can only hope this is the case with the Yankees.
Speaking of the Yankees, if you’re looking for a holiday gift for a Yankees fan (yuck!), check out Yankee Classics: World Series Magic from the Bronx Bombers, 1921 to Today. It basically chronicles each World Series that the Yankees have been part of and would make a fine addition to those Yankee fans who will struggle with never winning another World Series again. (We hope.)