Yesterday, I was excited to hear that Hal, not Hank, was named uber-lord of the Yankee Empire. I viewed it as a directional positive that the silly proclamations and buffoonery that came from Hank would stop.
Except I was dead wrong and it only took a few hours to prove me wrong. I was hoping to look semi-smart for just a day.
[One thing I try not to do as a parent is make promises to my kids that I can't (or have no intention to) keep or throw out idle threats. After a while, the kids realize it and the threats and promises fall on deaf ears. The same applies to baseball players and their agents.]
So Hal comes out yesterday, with his shiny new sheriff's badge glistening in the midday sun, and declares:
Lemme get this straight: If you set a deadline of --just for the sake of an example-- December 1st and Sabathia takes his time and ultimately decides that he wants to take the offer... but waits until December 5th... you wouldn't welcome him with all the fanfare you could muster*? Hal, don't you realize that you are giving him the out he might be looking for to take a lesser offer? Do you really think he gives a rat's backside whether you set an arbitrary deadline or not? He, and everyone else who cares about baseball, knows that the Yanks would be ga-ga to have Sabathia. You don't bully the guy you are begging to save your franchise and shower with enough cash to put his great great grandchildren on Easy Street. Something like attracting more bees with honey instead of vinegar?
Instead of an idle threat, go the other way: make him feel comfortable taking all the time he needs to make what is a major life decision. Don't put a date stamp on an offer like a carton of milk. Don't give him the excuse to take less money from the Dodgers ("Well, the Yanks pulled their offer, so this was the best available to me and where I wanted to be all along...")
Maybe, having Hal steering the ship isn't what I hoped it would be. Looks like he backed it up into the dock backing out. Shipbuilder George won't fix it, either.
* Doesn't this have the same look and feel of Hank telling ARod that if he opts out of his contract after the 2007 season, there would be no way he'd be back as a Yankee... except he then signed ARod to a 10 year behemoth of a contract that broke ARod's own record contract?
UPDATE: Looks like Shysterball had the same thoughts on this silliness.
For what it's worth, I think that's a pretty empty threat. Sure, maybe it won't be there forever-forever, but I have this feeling that if CC said he needed a few weeks to consult whatever God he believes in, Hal wouldn't pull the thing off the table.
UPDATE (11/21/08, 10:25am): Buster's in agreement, too, almost verbatim (Insider access required, sorry):
Put it this way: If the Yankees pulled their offer to Sabathia on Dec. 10, and on Dec. 13, Sabathia's agents called and told them he wanted their $140 million offer, do you think the Yankees would say No, sorry, our deadline has passed? No, of course not.