Yankee fans who are expecting Carl Crawford to sign with the New York Yankees next offseason are simply setting themselves up for disappointment, as there’s simply no reason the Yankees should consider him. Maybe signing Crawford seemed plausible at the beginning of the year when Gardner’s potential was in doubt, but now that Gardner has proven he’s a quality player there’s no need or room for another outfielder. Additionally Crawford may simply not be worth the money he is expected to be asking for as seventeen million is a lot of money to hand out to a player whose greatest asset is his speed.
As of now (7/23/10) the Yankees have two outfielders having great years, in Gardner and Swisher and a center fielder that is currently struggling but has a good track record, in Curtis Granderson, all three of these players are under contract next year, which is a problem.
Brett Gardner, the 26 year old Left fielder, is excelling in his first year as a full time starter with an On Base Percentage of nearly .400 and 26 stolen bases, proving to everyone that he is a quality player. Gardner’s year might not be as good as Crawford’s, but it would senseless to spend millions trying to upgrade a position already giving you value.
Swisher the All-star right fielder is too having a great year especially when compared to fellow Right Fielders, As of today Swisher is second in the league in On Base Percentage Plus Slugging (OPS) with .915 and is tied for second in the league in Wins Above Replacement with 3.1. Swisher’s big year is partly due to the fact that he worked on his swing this off season, however critics would still be correct to point out his Base on Balls in Play (BABIP) is a lot higher than his career averages. Swisher has defiantly earned his spot on the Yankees as an everyday player and shouldn’t be traded or forced to DH for Crawford. Moving Swisher to DH is a problem because the Yankees would like to use the DH to give players rest and as a fallback if one their many veteran hitters can no longer field down the line for i.e. Posada. If signing Crawford means benching guys like Swisher or Posada then it simply isn’t worth it.
The third option is simply benching Granderson after all the starting Center fielder is struggling in practically every facet of the game this year. Hitting a dismal .239 this season, while slugging just .345 the worst percentage of his career. However I do believe at the very least Granderson’s power numbers will improve. Additionally I do not think the Yankees will bench a player earning eight million a year instead of trying to fix him.
Additionally one must ask themselves if Crawford is even worth the millions he’ll be asking for. After all analysts predict Crawford will probably be asking for a five year deal worth seventeen million a year. That’s a lot of money and years for a player whose greatest asset is speed the skill that is known to be the first to decline in ball players, particularly players who play like on artificial fields like Crawford has. Once his speed declines he’ll still be a good player but not nearly worth the seventeen million a year he’d be receiving.
In my opinion the Angels, Red Sox and the Rays all have a better shot at signing Crawford than the Yankees do. The Redsox simply put have the money to get this deal done and could use him in center with Cameron being benched or moved to right. The Angels could be contenders because they have several contracts coming off the books and would just have to move Bobby Abreu to DH. The Angels have in recent years cut payroll by letting free agents leave so they should have the money to get this deal done.
However there is still hope Rays fans, as the team could afford him if they make the right decision and pay him over Pena and use the nine million that were paying Pat Burrell, along with all the money they get from the MLB. Resigning Crawford would tell their fans that they are serious about winning and would have the same effect as the Joe Mauer signing had on Minnesota, and with the new stadium talks underway they need Crawford more than anyone else. While anything can happen by the start of free agency, such as Gardner and swisher regressing or Crawford maintaining his power numbers at this point I don’t see the Yankees signing him this off season.