The Yankees Have Lost Their Mojo

July 12, 2010; Anaheim, CA, USA; American League outfielder Carl Crawford of the Tampa Bay Rays during American League practice the day before the 2010 All Star game at Angel Stadium.  Photo via Newscom

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.)

Categories: Boston Red Sox Carl Crawford New York Yankees

15 Responses to “The Yankees Have Lost Their Mojo” Subscribe

  1. GreggB December 11, 2010 at 8:04 AM #

    Excellent points. It will be fascinating to watch.

  2. spencer December 11, 2010 at 8:37 AM #

    Let's hope for the later? Let's hope you use spell check next time.

    And maybe that you check the news clips. The Yanks never offered Crawford a contract. Probably because their outfield is fine as it is, and Crawford is not worth the upgrade. Boston paid $20 million per year for an OF who has never hit 20 hr or driven in 100 RBI. He is a great player, but he isn't elite.

    Yanks just won a World Series a season ago, remember? They did it with pitching, and that is what they are focusing on again this year.

    If mojo means throwing a lot of cash at players, Boston has it. But you are delusional if you think players sign with a team for anything more than that.

  3. Joe December 11, 2010 at 8:49 AM #

    I'm with Spencer on this one. Crawford's a nice player, but the Yanks have Gardner who is as fast as Crawford, is better than Crawford defensively and is a step below him offensively. I remember Crawford coming up and he was very much like Gardner, slapping the balls on the ground to get leg hits, etc. Gardner has shown a little power and may develop in that area. For the money difference I'll take Gardner.

  4. WHITE CHOCOLATE December 11, 2010 at 1:27 PM #


    • Darryl Johnston December 12, 2010 at 8:44 AM #


  5. Tyler December 11, 2010 at 1:58 PM #

    I dont see why anyone would want Brett Gardner over Crawford. Crawford had a higher OPS then Tex or Arod last year, his power and average have been on the rise, and hes only two years older than Gardner. The only thing Gardner does better than Crawford is perhaps draw walks. Steals, Average, Power, all in crawfords favor. Brett feels like hes younger since he hasnt played as much, but seriously, only two years difference.

  6. El Guapo's Ghos December 11, 2010 at 2:43 PM #

    Spencer, thanks for calling out my mistake and I'm glad you are smart enough to still understand my point. BTW, spell check would not find that error.

    Spencer and Joe,

    I think Gardner is a fine player and valuable given his salary, but the upgrade would be over Granderson. After another poor yr, he really looks like a 250/325/460 bat heading into his age 30 season.

    Yes, the Yankees need pitching but they should have signed both Lee and Crawford.

    I would have gotten into this more but I am writing for a Red Sox blog not a Yankees.

    Thanks for writing,


  7. Jay_zo December 11, 2010 at 6:59 PM #

    Wanted to comment on these quotes:
    “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?”

    Agreed with Spencer above, and that Crawford is better (way better) than Gardner offensively. Defensively it’s about a wash.

    The Yanks are definitely NOT losing their mojo because they missed Crawford – they didn’t press for Crawford. They didn’t because they need pitching — you can’t simply say “they should have signed BOTH lee and crawford” above as you do. Just because a FA is available and a star doesn’t mean the Yanks need to snap at him or else they’re slipping.

    The Yanks have plenty of offense. I’d recommend checking out a great article by about how the Yanks shouldn’t have offered anything to Crawford because the Yanks’ OF produced so many runs as is, whereas they had trouble preventing runs.

    Also, I find it odd that a Sox fan – from a group that usually decries the Yanks’ unruly spending – would point to the Yanks NOT spending and claim, “Oh, well that means they’re losing it.” You can’t ask for both. The Yanks are being smart.

    The Sox won a huge FA signing, but not at the expense of the Yanks getting him. At the expense of the Yanks winning the AL East? Perhaps. But the Yanks did NOT need to claim Crawford to assert dominance. They need to focus on pitching, their weakest area.

    Give me the lefty pitcher who can dominate and fills a need over the lefty hitter who would match our current LF’s defense and add to an already potent offense.

    - Jay

    • El Guapo's Ghos December 12, 2010 at 10:40 AM #

      I want to clarify a few things:

      1) The title of the post is a definitive statement and somewhat false advertising as I pose the ? about the Yanks. Of course, I don't know for sure if their decision making process has changed over the last few years.

      2) Crawford is a bigger upgrade over Granderson NOT Gardner.

      3) My train of thought:

      a) Let's say both Red Sox and Yanks project CC as a 6.2 win player next yr like '10. CC is a 5 win improvement over last yr's Cameron/McDonald. CC is a 3.5 wins over Granderson's 2.7. Gardner earned 4.1 wins.

      b) Both the Red Sox and Yanks incremental revenue likely comes from TV/RSN. Since YES's mrkt is twice as large as NESN, they will project to earn 2x as much new revenue from an improvement on the field.

      So a 3.5 win improvement for the Yanks would generate the same amount of new $ as a 7 win improvement for the Red Sox. Since CC is only a 5 win upgrade for the Sox, the Yanks could have offered more $ without taking a loss on the contract and probably should have outbid their rival.

      I usually don't like to get into this much detail into posts as I think it turns off many readers but in the comments section is great.

      Thanks for writing.


      • Jay_zo December 12, 2010 at 11:47 AM #

        really love the detail – and agreed it's tough to throw those numbers out there in the main post. I like getting into the weeds a bit more, maybe, than I like to admit. I'd say to take a look at my reply to Tyler here. I think the point is that the need the Yanks have warranted them spending more time, money and effort into pursuing Lee. I think they gave Crawford a look because they had to, as the Yanks, maintain that dominance and toss around that option. Unfortunately, they'd have been stuck with 4 OFers, all of which are bonafide starters.

        My main point was that the Yanks bigger upgrade would be Lee than Crawford, so it made sense to allow the Sox to floor CC with the offer rather than do that ourselves, juggle 4 talented OF, and perhaps miss on Lee.

        Normally cant stand Sox blogs but keep it up – really like this one! haha

  8. Jay_zo December 12, 2010 at 11:44 AM #

    I dont think anyone in their right minds wants Gardner over Crawford. But you need to apply this to the salaries and rosters in a practical way. This isn't fantasy baseball. Gardner commands much less in salary, which the Yanks can spend on a big time pitcher, which they need.

    This isn't about Gardner vs Crawford, it's about the Yanks applying their resources (money, time, headcount) towards getting a stud pitcher first. If they whiffed and Crawford was available, who knows? Maybe they make a stronger push. But he wasn't a NEED. He was a PLUS or a WANT – Lee would be filling a need.

    • Gerry December 13, 2010 at 1:29 AM #

      In fact, Crawford wasn't a NEED for the Sox either with Cameron in place (a righty bat who mashes lefties, plays great defense and is a terrific baserunner), with a scrappy DMac who shares these skills to a lesser degree as 4th OF, and Kalish & Reddick just months away from banging on the door. That would have been a good situation.

      The addition of Crawford moves Cam to the #4 slot, creating a 4-man outfield of All-Star & GG talent, raising the standard so high that this quartet is arguably the best defensive & offensive OF in baseball, and among the fastest and rangiest. The NYY could have used a player like that.

      When Cam & JD hang them up next October/November, their $21MM combined contracts will likely be filled by Kalish (a lefty who mashes lefties) and Reddick, creating a 4-man OF with a combined payroll of less than $25MM … with several more top prospects just a year or so away from banging on the door.

      I'd say that the Sox have set up the OF, IF & Rotation for this new decade starting in 2011-2020, even as they watch their payroll stabilize and come down.

  9. where were you in 2010? December 13, 2010 at 3:03 PM #

    Who played LF and CF most of 2010 for the redsox? Ellsbury and Cameron combined for 66 games and 260 plate appearances. If you’re calling shots, you don’t assume players with recent extensive injury can play the entirety of the next season.

    Even with a healthy Ellsbury does not match the production of Gardner. Ellsbury has only had a full season in CF in 2009 and his defensive ratings were poor (-10 UZR). Gardner has posted very high UZR in all seasons at CF or LF. In the only year Gardner had a starting job, he posted a .383 OBP, which is something Ellsbury will do with his tiny walk rate. Putting Crawford in for Gardner in LF is much less of an upgrade than putting Crawford in for Ellsbury.

    If all these top prospects were ‘banging on the door’, do the redsox sign a player for 7 years into his late 30′s for 20mil per season to play a position that isn’t even a defensive premium?


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