Tagged: Cliff Lee

Text message convo. between Lee and Kinsler

Here is a text message conversation between Ian Kinsler and Cliff Lee, via the New York Times. Currently, Rangers executives are meeting with Lee at his Arkansas home:

Kinser: “Well, just sign whatever they give you.”


Lee: “Let’s see what happens.”


Kinsler: “[I enjoyed being your teammate.]”


Lee: “I do, too, but we have to wait it out.”


Kinsler: “Just sign it.”


Lee: *Sent an image of a deer that a friend had shot*

This is nothing deliberate, but it is clear that Lee has not made his mind up yet. Even if he does want to stay in Texas, he is clearly willing to take other offers. 

Advertisements

The free agent market is officially open

As of 12 am ET, the free agent market is
officially open. Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford will be
receiving quite a lot of phone calls. Lee is expected to go
to either the Rangers or Yankees, while Crawford has not
drawn much interest as of now, with just the Red Sox showing
minimal interest. Derek Jeter might also get some calls from
teams. It is 99.9% certain that he will go to the Yankees,
but, if something goes wrong, you never
know.

Stuff on Cliff Lee

Here is a quote from right after Game 6 of the ALCS from Cliff Lee: 

“I love this city. I love my teammates. It’s going to be a good team for years to come. For my family, this couldn’t be a better situation.
“Free agency is when a player finally gets a choice, and I’m looking forward to that. There are so many things that can happen. I’m just more focused on helping this team win a World Series. If we do that it would be hard to walk away.”
While this quote is very ambiguous, the only logical presumption one could make would be that Lee is leaning towards the Rangers. However, I happen to think these quotes are bogus, as nothing every matters until the offers are made.
To make matters worse for the Yankees, Lee’s wife was apparently greeted rather unfriendly by Yankees fans when she watched the game at Yankee Stadium. She said she took it personally and that she was unhappy. Who knows if that will affect Lees decision.
The Rangers will have money available. They are dumping half their payroll this offseason. However, they have a bunch of players leaving who they will probably try to resign. Bengie Molina, Matt Treanor, and Jorge Cantu could fit that mold. And that isn’t anything compared to what they are going to have to pay Nelson Cruz, who is eligible for arbitration.
With the money Lee is set to be offered from the Yankees, it is doubtful that the Rangers will be able to compete, unless they are considering letting most of the team walk. But that’s highly unlikely.

Offseason financial breakdown

The Yankees dump $68 million off their payroll this offseason. Assuming that is the number the Yankees will work with (it may go up or down) here is a possible breakdown of how that money could be used.

Free agents:

Cliff Lee: $30 M
Re-signings:

Derek Jeter: $15 M
Andy Pettitte: $8 M
Mariano Rivera: $8 M

Arbitration eligibles:

Phil Hughes: $1 M
Joba Chamberlaiin: $1 M
Boone Logan: $1 M
This is a very rough estimate. But assuming those numbers are around reality, the Yankees will have around $3 M to play around with once all of these players are locked up. Again, the Yankees may have more money to use, but the general idea here is that they will not have enough to sign another big free agent after Cliff Lee.

It doesn’t matter what Cliff Lee wants

A lot of people seem to think that the Rangers winning the World Series means that Cliff Lee will want to return to Texas. Yes, that would make sense for most players. Usually, the team that succeeds attracts the best players.

However, this is the New York Yankees we are talking about. Just like it didn’t matter what CC Sabathia said about coming to New York, it won’t matter what Cliff Lee says. The Yankees are going to offer him an amount of money that he will not be able to say no to. Just like what happened with Sabathia.