When the Yankees re-signed Mariano Rivera two weeks ago there were numerous reports that the Red Sox made him a multi-year offer worth as much or more than he ended up accepting from New York.
As if that weren’t juicy enough, now Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes: “According to multiple major league sources, Mariano Rivera’s representatives were the ones to initiate contact with the Red Sox in an attempt to get the team interested in the closer.”
Much has been made about how differently Rivera treated his free agency and eventual re-signing with the Yankees than Derek Jeter did, but perhaps it wasn’t so different after all aside from Rivera being able to keep everything (mostly) under wraps.
Jeter and his agent tried to play hardball with the Yankees in a mostly unsuccessful attempt to get them to increase their offer, but at least there were never any reports (accurate or not) of his representatives initiating contact with the Red Sox.
Asked yesterday what the Red Sox adding Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to their lineup does to the AL East picture, CC Sabathia predictably responded that the Yankees remain the team to beat in 2011.
You want me to say the Red Sox are the favorites? I mean … I think the Yankees. If you look in our clubhouse and look at our lineup and the things we can do, it’s hard not to like our chances.
Sabathia’s quote is pretty innocuous and anything but surprising, yet it somehow made back-page headlines in the New York Daily News (and its own post here, which I suppose makes me a co-conspirator). He even went on to say that the Red Sox “made some good moves” and “any time you can add a guy like Carl, and Adrian, that makes your lineup that much better” while adding that the Yankees are “just getting started” with their offseason additions (read: Lee, Cliff).
Also of note: Tampa Bay actually won the AL East this year. And in 2008.
Russell Martin’s agent said today that the rehabbing catcher is in “serious” talks with the Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays after the Dodgers all but ruled out a return by signing both Rod Barajas and Dioner Navarro.
According to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com the Red Sox have made an offer to Martin, who was non-tendered last week when the Dodgers balked at his request for $5 million in guaranteed money coming off a fractured hip that sidelined him for much of this year.
Boston already has Jason Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the plate, but at his healthy, productive best Martin was an upgrade over both of them and also has the defensive versatility to play elsewhere if needed. Of course, whether his bat would make him an asset elsewhere at this point is another question.
It’ll be interesting to see if whichever team signs Martin does so while getting a club option for 2012, as that could be the real value if his recovery from the hip injury sidelines him for part of 2011 or leaves him at less than full strength initially when he does return.
Last night Nolan Ryan talked about the Rangers wanting agent Darek Braunecker to “tell them what it would take to sign” Cliff Lee.
This afternoon Braunecker responded by speaking to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com about Ryan’s request and basically pointed out that negotiations where one side is fielding offers from multiple bidders don’t really work that way.
Here’s more from Braunecker:
We have no interest in participating in the unconventional negotiating style the club has requested. For the player to submit an offer to the club … that’s not the way the process works.
In other words, why should Braunecker “tell them what it would take to sign” Lee when not telling them could lead to the Rangers bidding more than “it would take.”
At this point it appears as though Braunecker has done everything right and manipulated the situation perfectly, so it’s no surprise that he balked at Ryan’s request. Rangers officials are reportedly traveling to Arkansas today to meet with Lee and Braunecker, but Ryan hinted yesterday that the Yankees adding a seventh year to their offer “makes it more challenging for us.”