What's the advice of a friend worth? Apparently less than $161 million. Before CC Sabathia signed with the Yankees, Kenny Lofton apparently tried to steer him clear of the Big Apple, at least if you believe the New York Post's unnamed sources: "'He painted a bad picture of New York and the Yankees,' a person in the know said. 'A lot of negative things.' "
Whoa, did "a person in the know" really play the "a lot of negative things" card? Burn! Fortunately for the Yankees, though, a handful of reassuring phone calls from Johnny Damon apparently sealed the deal for A.J. Burnett. From the New York Daily News:
"Johnny talked to A.J. about New York, the differences between New York and Boston, how he views it. Johnny couldn't be happier here and he communicated those thoughts to A.J. I know at one point he told A.J. about dealing with New York and told him, 'Be accountable. If you're accountable, you'll be fine. Don't fear the media unless you give them a reason.'
"I know on a couple of occasions, Johnny said to him, 'You don't have anything to worry about.'"
That $82.5 million contract Burnett signed? Icing on the cake, I'm sure; the real reward is getting a chance to play with a straight-shooter like Damon.
Give me a break. I find all of these after-the-fact "heard it through the grapevine" stories a little amusing. CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett are wearing pinstripes because the Yankees invested nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in them, end of story.
If the Yankees didn't outbid every other team in the majors (by a wide margin, I might add), we'd be telling anecdotes about how Torii Hunter convinced the Angels to bid the extra dollar for CC or how Chipper Jones personally sold Burnett on the Braves.
Either way, it's all B.S. The Yankees put the biggest piles of money on the table and the players took it. It's how free agency works.