Ken Davidoff wrote yesterday that the Yankees may see Carl Crawford as “Plan B” if the Yankees do not get Cliff Lee in free agency.
I’m rather dubious of this plan, even if the Yankees have contacted Crawford’s “representative.” If Cliff Lee doesn’t become a Yankee, signing an outfielder isn’t a wise move. While the Yankees could trade one of their current outfielders for a starting pitcher then replace said outfielder with Carl Crawford, there are a lot of things that have to be assumed. And we don’t like assumptions now do we?
The first thing we have to assume is that the Yankees don’t sign Cliff Lee. Then, we have to assume that one of the teams that’s heavily in for Crawford–the Angels or the Tigers–doesn’t sign him. After that, we have to assume that the Yankees would have a taker for one of their starting outfielders. In that scenario, the Yankees would be desperate to move a player, which would put them at an incredible disadvantage during trade negotiations.
The idea of snagging Carl Crawford as a consolation prize in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes smacks of the bad version of George Steinbrenner: getting a player whether or not he fits the team and whether or not it costs too much.
If the Yankees miss out on Cliff Lee, they’ll definitely do what it takes to re-sign Andy Pettitte. As for the fifth starter’s spot, we could definitely see another competition in Spring Training. They could also go the trade route to acquire a starting pitcher; I don’t see that happening, though, since it would require the trading of an outfielder, thus creating another hole. By that time, Carl Crawford (or Jayson Werth) could be off the market.