With the Boston Red Sox launching a sneak attack on the New York Yankees by attempting to sign Mariano Rivera, the New York and Boston rivalry is again showing signs of life as the Yankees are ready to retaliate by pursuing Carl Crawford.
For the past several years, the once bitter rivalry between the Hatfields and McCoys of Major League Baseball has seemed a bit understated, both on and off the field. Rivalries in all sports ebb and flow, of course, as teams come in and out of up and down cycles at different times. And rivalries in modern professional sports tend to be more between the fans, the media and the front offices than they are between the players on the field.
But the Yankees and Red Sox rivalry seems to sustain more than any other, and the intensity between their respective fans and front offices often spills onto the field.
But with the Red Sox missing the postseason last year, and with the two teams not having met in the playoffs since 2004, the edge has seemed to be a little dull for a while.
That all changed, however, this offseason when the Red Sox reportedly made a three year, $51 million offer to Rivera. Rivera plans to stay with the Yankees, the only team he has ever played for, by signing a two year, $30 million contract, but New York is said to be miffed at the Boston front office. Whether or not the Red Sox really had a chance to sign Rivera, they certainly gave him leverage in his negotiations with the Yankees.
The Yankees seem to want to retaliate and have let it be known that they might be interested in signing free agent outfielder Carl Crawford, who is one of the top priorities for the Red Sox this offseason. While Boston is said to be on the verge of trading for San Diego Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, they will presumably let third baseman Adrian Beltre go and have already severed ties with catcher Victor Martinez.
The Red Sox will need to add another bat, and that would seem to need to be in the form of either Crawford or Jayson Werth. Crawford is the better overall player and would seem to be well suited for the Red Sox long term plans.
The Yankees were not believed to be in the market for either one as their outfield is solid with the emergence of the home grown (and inexpensive) Brett Gardner.
But as long time observers know, it doesn’t take much to inflame hostilities between the Yankees and Red Sox.
While at the outset of the offseason it seemed doubtful that the Yankees would make a serious play for Crawford, the Red Sox offer to Rivera may have changed all that. The Yankees, it would seem, will want at the very least to drive the price up on Crawford by getting into the bidding; forcing the Red Sox to either spend more than they were planning to or going to Plan B in the form of Jayson Werth.
Souce: John Harper, “It’s about time! Hostility returns to Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, albeit in the front office” nydailynews.com
Bernie Wilson, “AP Source: Gonzalez in Boston for physical”, sports.yahoo.com