Yoenis Cespedes was trying to get the most money he could get either now or in the future. With an alleged deal from the Nationals around $100 million and a three year deal from the Mets with an opt out (a hybrid pillow deal and short term security), Cespedes’ representatives at Roc Nation Group were not content. So they did what any agent for the past 20 years would have done.
They approached the New York Yankees.
Cespedes wanted to stay in New York, Cespedes wants to play for a winner, Cespedes had other deals on the table but would love to have heard one from the Yankees!
We’ve heard it all before, every off-season for nearly every free agent the Yankees don’t publicly rule out. But the role of New York as the big bad bullies who overpay and drive prices of the Free Agent market has officially changed. Cespedes was met with a simple decline and packed his bag for Queens, likely hoping to put together a big season and try his luck again next winter.
Allegedly, in the mid 90’s the Yankees signed Jose Canseco so the Red Sox couldn’t during a playoff run. When New York signed CC Sabathia to his first contract, the big lefty had to be convinced to come to New York and the Yankees had to outbid every other team by over $20 million. For years, New York has made itself available on any free agent and for years the free agent has leveraged New York to get the best deal possible, sometimes with the Yankees and many times with another team.
Brian Cashman has changed the notion. You will know if the Yankees are truly all in on a player because they will strike early, usually in November, and they will make a generous offer immediately. The Yankees are out of the leveraging business. Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury still were given enormous contracts, the latter an almost sure over payment even without the benefit of hindsight but on the Yankees’ timetable. Masahiro Tanaka did not come at a discount.
But those were players the Yankees acted swiftly and efficiently on, found a comfortable number and signed those players as quickly as possible. Gone are the days when a Yoenis Cespedes, desperate for a payday, can knock on Brian Cashman’s door and get a contract from George Steinbrenner.
The Yankees have a plan and are sticking to it.
It isn’t a plan where Free Agency is no longer a factor for the franchise but it is a plan where the Yankees are no longer the main factor for Free Agency. It’s like buying a car without the haggling.
We will know pretty quickly if the Yankees are shopping around the lot.