Want more proof we’re living in the Upside Down now, where the Mets are the Yankees and the Yankees would like to sign your players, but … only … only if you want them to, sorry, so sorry, we’re so sorry? Just take the information we received in the wake of the Anthony Rizzo signing at face value!
Rizzo is a solid get, and was clearly the third-best first baseman available this spring, but Freddie Freeman — supposedly the Yankees’ No. 1 priority — is still on the market.
Clearly, the Bombers got an indication that he was looking elsewhere before they pounced on Rizzo. Ditto the Blue Jays, who made a trade for Matt Chapman on Wednesday morning, keeping Vlad Guerrero Jr. at first base.
So, what happened? Did Freeman finally commit to the Dodgers after a full week of dancing around them? Did the Padres or Rays enter the fray earnestly?
According to MLB insiders like Andy Martino and Jon Heyman, the Yankees genuinely think the Red Sox have a shot at Freeman, hence their hesitance. Heyman went as far as to say the Bombers “fear” Freeman landing in Boston.
So, if the Yankees “suspect” the Sox are in … why wouldn’t … they simply RAISE THEIR OFFER to prevent that fear from becoming a reality? The answer’s in Heyman’s tweet; no matter where he lands, Freeman simply isn’t interested in the Yankees.
Are the Yankees going to let the Red Sox sign Freddie Freeman?
And that should be the way this story is framed. Instead, at face value, a series of bizarre postmortem tweets seemed to sell the story as “Yankees think Freeman could be a Red Sox, so they’re out.”
Typically, the old Bombers’ solution to that issue was to increase the amount they plan to overpay by. Hell, that’s how Mark Teixeira traded red socks for pinstripes.
Perhaps that’s no longer a workable strategy, in this case. Perhaps Freeman is really so far out on New York that there’s no dollar amount that could change his mind. Otherwise? It would be an embarrassment for Brian Cashman and Co., so we prefer to think his hands were tied.
Because if the Yankees took what should be a motivating factor (Boston’s interest) and turned it into a reason to shy away, that would be unforgivable.
So … will the Red Sox sign Freeman? Should they?
He’s an objectively great player — and a phenomenal fit for the Yankees — but Boston declining to pay Mookie Betts long-term, then turning around and dropping $180 million on a first baseman through his age-38 season would be a bizarro turn, especially with Triston Casas in the system/a few months after they almost made a World Series run with Butcher Kyle Schwarber at first.
Or maybe this is just us rationalizing. Freeman in Boston would be an excellent get, and might be the only meaningful upgrade left on the board for them. Maybe the Yankees aren’t scared of that, but rather their diminishing place in the MLB landscape?