Red Sox: Yankees 'always the favorite'

Updated: January 31, 2011, 11:32 PM ET
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Red Sox chairman Tom Werner called comments made last week by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman "reverse psychology." President and chief executive officer Larry Lucchino said if it hadn't been Cashman saying it, he'd suspect the Yankees were up to a little gamesmanship. General manager Theo Epstein couldn't take it seriously.

Cashman had said that he thought the Red Sox were better than the Yankees during a breakfast where he also let it drop that he thought Derek Jeter could eventually move to center field if he ever leaves the shortstop position.

When asked by WFAN's Mike Francesa who Cashman thought was the better team, Yankees or Red Sox, Cashman answered: "Red Sox."

"We have a better bullpen," he added. "We both have comparable position players to run out there -- you might want to give us the nod, you want to give them the nod, it doesn't necessarily matter."

"I don't know, that might just be reverse psychology,'' Werner said with a little laugh. "They're a tough team. We're very excited about our season, but you should never take the Yankees lightly.''

Lucchino, who amped up the rivalry with his "Evil Empire" characterization to long-time New York Times reporter Murray Chass, stoked no fires Monday night.

"You know, Cashman is a very honest, forthright guy, but he's also not above playing games,'' Lucchino said. "[The Yankees are] always the favorite. C'mon, they're the New York Yankees, they're in the biggest market in the world.

"We're happy to be those guys they worry about looking over their shoulder. I don't know, if it was anyone but Cashman I'd say there was some gamesmanship in it, but in this case I think he was saying something he believes. I hope he has respect for us because we have plenty of it for them.''

As for Epstein, who is friendly with the Yankees GM, he said: "Anything GMs say at this time of year is purely for your [reporters'] benefit to fill space. I don't think a lot about what I say, he probably doesn't think a lot about what he says, it's all just to make sure you guys get to work 12 months out of the year.''

Gordon Edes covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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