Blog Entry

'It's good to be Cliff Lee'

Posted on: December 9, 2010 2:26 am
Edited on: December 9, 2010 2:16 pm
 
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Remember Darek Braunecker's words when he arrived at the Winter Meetings?

"It's good to be Cliff Lee," Lee's agent said on Monday afternoon.

Well, it's even better to be Cliff Lee now.

Braunecker left the Winter Meetings Wednesday afternoon, but Lee's position only got better as the day went on.

First, Rangers president Nolan Ryan told a group of Texas writers that the Rangers had basically told Lee to name his price, while also saying that he's softening on the idea of a six-year deal.

Then, the news broke that Carl Crawford had agreed to his stunning seven-year, $142 million contract with the Red Sox, further ratcheting the pressure on the Yankees to sign Lee.

Suddenly, the Yankees' initial offer to Lee, reported to be six years and $140 million, looked like a starting point for negotiations, rather than something that would scare other teams away. Suddenly, Lee looked to be more in the driver's seat than ever, because not only are the Yankees left without a viable backup plan, but their arch-rival now looks like baseball's super-team.

Sure enough, SI.com's Jon Heyman reported early this morning (Thursday) that the Yankees are now offering Lee a seven-year contract. Perhaps because of that news, Rangers people were said by others in baseball to newly pessimistic that they can keep Lee away from the Yankees.

Later in the day, news broke that the Rangers sent a contingent to Arkansas (MLB.com reported that owner Chuck Greenberg and assistant general manager Thad Levine made the trip) in a last-ditch effort to make a deal with Lee. The Rangers will likely increase their earlier offer by adding a sixth year.

It's hard to imagine the Rangers going to seven years. It was hard enough for the Rangers to convince themselves to go to a six-year deal for a 32-year-old pitcher.

The years matter, because it means a huge difference in total dollars. With the Yankees offering something in the neighborhood of $23-25 million per season, Lee would be leaving a gigantic amount of money on the table if he signs a shorter contract.

Players almost never leave gigantic amounts of money on the table.

The Rangers had hoped that their other advantages -- the lack of a state income tax, and the short commute to Lee's Arkansas home, among other things -- would make up for the difference in money. But it's looking again like the difference in money will be too much to overcome.

Before the Yankees went to seven years, Ryan's statements Wednesday night had seemed to give the Rangers a chance.

"It really comes down to whether we're willing to go to six years," he said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram . "I'm probably more there today than I have been the last few days about six years, realizing that if you're going to have Cliff Lee pitching for you, that's probably what you're looking at."

Ryan told the writers that the Rangers don't want to get in a bidding war with the Yankees, and that what they preferred instead was a number for Lee that they could say yes or no to.

Unlike the Yankees, the Rangers would seem to have a viable Plan B behind Lee, and perhaps even a Plan C. Rangers officials reiterated Wednesday that if the team can't sign Lee, the Rangers will make a strong effort to acquire Zack Greinke in a trade with the Royals.

The Royals, who came to the Winter Meetings planning to explore the Greinke market, now believe they will be able to trade their young ace.

Greinke isn't as viable second choice for the Yankees, because some club officials believe it would be risky to bring him to New York. It's hard to imagine what the Yankees' backup plan would be now, although part of it would likely be to work to persuade Andy Pettitte to delay retirement.

Until now, one person familiar with the Yankees' plans suggested Wednesday, Pettitte was likely headed into retirement, in part because the Yankees were not planning to offer him as much money as he made this year. One reason for the pay cut, the person suggested, was to save money for the pursuit of Lee.

Now, that pursuit seems harder, even as it has gained more importance.

It's not great to be the Yankees now. But it sure is great to be Cliff Lee.


Comments

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 14, 2012 6:40 pm
 

'It's good to be Cliff Lee'

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 30, 2011 9:52 pm
 

'It's good to be Cliff Lee'

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Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 23, 2011 7:03 pm
 

'It's good to be Cliff Lee'

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 1:40 pm
 

'It's good to be Cliff Lee'




Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 7:14 pm
 

'It's good to be Cliff Lee'




Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 2:46 pm
 

'It's good to be Cliff Lee'

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Tomly
Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 22, 2011 6:56 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Nov 30, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2010 10:41 am
 

'It's good to be Cliff Lee'

To McSherry.
 I didnt dismiss Lackey. He's just a tad overratted. He rarely starts a full season and I believe hasn't won more than 15 games in any season. Beckett is a fast ball pitcher that basically looks like he lost his fastball and hasnt figured out how to pitch otherwise. Dice-K has shown to have arm troubles as well. Its not a slam dunk the Red Sox will run away with it. However with the way the Rays are dismantling their team it will be a two team race with the Sox and Yanks back fighting for the East lead. One of the three catchers will stick for the yanks. That will be the one with the most offensive potential. The yankees are known to over hype their famr players and I wont deny that. However To have those young catchers are an asset not a hinderance. In addition. the yanks still have plenty of young arms. Nova, Besantes to name two that either will be chips or one will crack the rotation. The gap is closed between the yanks and sox as far as payroll. I beleive the sox will be at 180 this year. in essense thats an A-rod difference between the two teams. Jorge Posada will be off the books at the end of this year and most likely you will see ALex Rodriquez become the DH in 2012. The yanks will always be in buy mode so either Jeter moves to 3b in 2012 and they sign a SS or the yankees will pick up a defensive 3b with some pop. Jeter will also see a decline in innings played this year with either Nunez or Pena subbing him in the late innings for defense. It started to happen this year with him, if you watched all the games. Im not a head in the clouds fan, I just know what the yanks have and will admit that they have to add Cliff Lee due to the moves the Red Sox made. This rivary makes baseball fun and see no problem with what the Sox did. Just remember all the experts had the Sox winning the east last year with the 'pitching and defense"moves they made. Which by all accounts didnt work out to well. As for the rest of the fans that bash the system. Dont blame the teams that make and spend money. Blame the commissioner for not installing a cap. also both the yanks and the Red Sox are over the luxary tax this year and "donate" a ton of cash to the rest of the league in revenue sharing. Blame your owner for not spending that money also. 



Since: Nov 30, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2010 10:40 am
 

'It's good to be Cliff Lee'

To McSherry.
 I didnt dismiss Lackey. He's just a tad overratted. He rarely starts a full season and I believe hasn't won more than 15 games in any season. Beckett is a fast ball pitcher that basically looks like he lost his fastball and hasnt figured out how to pitch otherwise. Dice-K has shown to have arm troubles as well. Its not a slam dunk the Red Sox will run away with it. However with the way the Rays are dismantling their team it will be a two team race with the Sox and Yanks back fighting for the East lead. One of the three catchers will stick for the yanks. That will be the one with the most offensive potential. The yankees are known to over hype their famr players and I wont deny that. However To have those young catchers are an asset not a hinderance. In addition. the yanks still have plenty of young arms. Nova, Besantes to name two that either will be chips or one will crack the rotation. The gap is closed between the yanks and sox as far as payroll. I beleive the sox will be at 180 this year. in essense thats an A-rod difference between the two teams. Jorge Posada will be off the books at the end of this year and most likely you will see ALex Rodriquez become the DH in 2012. The yanks will always be in buy mode so either Jeter moves to 3b in 2012 and they sign a SS or the yankees will pick up a defensive 3b with some pop. Jeter will also see a decline in innings played this year with either Nunez or Pena subbing him in the late innings for defense. It started to happen this year with him, if you watched all the games. Im not a head in the clouds fan, I just know what the yanks have and will admit that they have to add Cliff Lee due to the moves the Red Sox made. This rivary makes baseball fun and see no problem with what the Sox did. Just remember all the experts had the Sox winning the east last year with the 'pitching and defense"moves they made. Which by all accounts didnt work out to well. As for the rest of the fans that bash the system. Dont blame the teams that make and spend money. Blame the commissioner for not installing a cap. also both the yanks and the Red Sox are over the luxary tax this year and "donate" a ton of cash to the rest of the league in revenue sharing. Blame your owner for not spending that money also. 



Since: Feb 2, 2007
Posted on: December 10, 2010 6:00 pm
 

'It's good to be Cliff Lee'

I wouldnt say the yankees farm system is a mess they are ranked i believe 15th in the league.  they actually have alot of lower level talent.  what they dont have is many impact prospects past montero.  But when did the yankees ever need a farm system anyway.  and when was the last time we traded a prospect that actually was any good.


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