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.