MLB released the first update on All-Star game voting. It is no surprise that Evan Longoria is tops among AL third baseman. After all, he easily outpaced the competition a year ago and was a close third in the overall voting (behind Derek Jeter and Joe Mauer).

What is a little surprising is that Carl Crawford is second among AL outfielders, trailing only Ichiro Suzuki. Crawford is no stranger to the All-Star game. He has been named to the team three times and even won an All-Star game MVP. But he has never been voted into the starting lineup.

So are baseball fans finally starting to recognize CC’s greatness? Possibly. Or maybe Yankees fans, absent any deserving candidates of their own, are voting for Crawford due to what is perceived as an inevitable move to The Bronx next year.

If that is the case, there is an interesting side effect to the voting. Being named an All-Star starter will only help to increase Crawford’s contract demands when he hits the free agent market this winter. Even beyond the stats, an All-Star start would stamp Crawford as one of the more popular players in baseball which opens up marketing possibilities for any team that were to sign him. A popular player is always more valuable to a franchise.

If Crawford is named an All-Star starter and if that does indeed increase his value as a free agent, is that necessarily a bad thing for the Yankees? Maybe not. Sure it will cost them more money in the long run. But the more Crawford commands as a free agent, the fewer the number of teams that will be competing with the Yankees for his services.

So inevitably and unwittingly, Yankees fans may be increasing their team’s chances of signing Crawford this winter.

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8 Comments

  1. Joe D. says:

    Prof, I understand your point about this raising CC's price tag with being an all-star, but I guess I'm either missing, our disagreeing with your point that it's because of Yankees fans, per se, voting.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      Just speculation on my part as to why CC is all of the sudden the 2nd most popular OF in the AL. Clearly this isn't being driven by Rays fans. Longoria is understandable. He is one of the up and coming stars of baseball. And he plays a position in which the only other real candidate might be ARod whom many fans hate.

      On the other hand, Crawford has been around a while. There are lots of popular outfielder (although Bay did move to NL). And the Yankees really don't have a popular, all-star quality OF right now. Add that to the idea that many Yankees gas think CC in pinstripes next year is already a done deal.

      So basically, I added 2+2+2+2 and got 27. I could be completely wrong. Just a hunch.

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      • Sarah says:

        But a hunch that makes sense to me.

        Rays fans alone can't drive national all star balloting.

        And the NY press has been singing Crawford's praises nonstop this season.

        I think Crawford's "people" have been pushing him more aggressively, too, in light of his free agency. Remember the piece done on him (was it ESPN?) during the off season featuring his grueling training regimen? I assume some publicist was responsible for getting Carl some national air time.

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      • MJ says:

        Yea i think he is prob getting the yank fans vote to some extent this year. With all the talk about the Yankees drooling over him, it prob makes fans of other teams think he is one of the best OF in the game too (since yanks go after the best players), and gives him the recognition he lacked in the past. Add all that up w/ the All-star MVP and the Rays being the best team in MLB right now, and I think it makes sense that he would be top 3 in voting this year.

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      • Joe D. says:

        I think, or at least I'd like think it's not that shallow, but I'm probably wrong. I'd like to think it's because the Rays have been in the national spotlight going on their 3rd season, and CC's been one of the main cogs in the machine on a first place (best in baseball) team, and won the All-Star Game MVP last year.

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      • Greg says:

        I think you are right on with this. In addition to Yanks fans having no great choice from their own outfield and being aware that CC may be theirs next year: the Rays are playing great ball, they have been on national TV a bit, CC's contract situation is well know, he is having a great year, he is last year's all star game MVP. I'll vote for him when I get around to it. I like to wait a little longer to vote and let the season develop a little.

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  2. Don says:

    I've got an idea...maybe fans every where recognize CC for what he is:
    The BEST ALL Around outfielder in the game..your giving NY fans too much credit and other fans not enough!
    Look if I lived in Chicago I know who I would vote for as one of the best outfielders...no brainer! (but remember too expensive for the Rays)

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