Bring it on, Hal and Hank
Buster Olney reports that the Red Sox are scheduled to meet with CC Sabathia next week (that's a subscriber link). Olney seems to have no idea what the Red Sox are doing, which at least is honest. We have no idea either, frankly, but that's not going to stop us from speculating.
Whenever the Red Sox get involved in a situation where the price is likely to be high and the Yankee front office has already professed their interest, everyone immediately - immediately - suspects their interest is not genuine and they're just there to try to drag the Yankees into a bidding war that will force them to spend more money and/or resources. This always happens. People hardly ever consider the idea that the Red Sox might actually want a guy like Sabathia - probably the second-best starting pitcher in baseball - on their team. So sure, they could be bluffing, hoping the Yankees will increase their already-record-setting offer to CC by a few million. But what would that accomplish, exactly? It's not like $5-$10 million makes that much of a difference to the Yankees.
The more likely explanation to my thinking is that the Red Sox front office is seeing a softer-than-expected market for the big guy, and they sense a possible opportunity. The Yankees' offer is record-setting, but it's also been sitting in CC's back pocket for almost a month now. He could just be biding his time, but it's also entirely possible he simply isn't interested in playing in New York. The sports media and blogosphere both have been suggesting he wants to play somewhere in his native California, but other than some recent heat from the San Francisco Giants, none of those teams seems particularly interested. He's got an offer from Milwaukee also, but it's a comparatively modest one. The Red Sox have some money, and their recent track record of success makes them an attractive destination. If their "interest" turns into a prolonged bidding war that ties up their attention and causes them to lose out on some targets they find potentially more important, then that's a different story. But there's no reason to think the Red Sox would allow something like that to happen. So why not take a shot? Talking to him is free.