When the Yankees want a free agent — think CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka — they do not play poker.
They see no sense bluffing about dollars. They know that the price for entry is the top of the market — made more obvious in this case because Gerrit Cole’s agent, Scott Boras, doesn’t do discounts with this type of star.
So what the Yankees pitched Tuesday when they met face-to-face in California with Cole was to sell what is distinct about them, which is both ends of their name: New York and Yankees. It is what they did with Mike Mussina. It is what they did with Sabathia. It is what they did with Tanaka.
They let the star free-agent pitchers know they were the Yankees’ No. 1 choice. They let them know that if the feeling was mutual that money would not be an issue. This doesn’t mean giving a blank check and letting Cole and Boras take the numbers wherever they want. But it also means the Yankees see no reason to bluff about their intentions — essentially their strategy is: We are in, are you? If so, a record amount for a pitcher is waiting. It is why they did not discuss finances Tuesday with Cole. It is understood that the Yankees don’t fly 6,000…