Well, I keep trying to write a Cliff Lee post and the latest news keeps changing. Yesterday the reported rumor, which remains unconfirmed, was that two “mystery teams,” not the Yankees or Rangers, were willing to offer a seven year contract. This seems hard to swallow, however, since at that point the Yankees hadn’t even been given the chance to make an official offer. Today, we heard that New York may be plotting a six-year, $140-150 million offer, which sounds to me much more probable, but also like the outer edge of reasonableness. By now they may well have made it. And in his Winter Meetings press conference today, Joe Girardi called Lee “everything you want” and described him as “important” to the Yankees’ plans.
I wouldn’t be too upset if the Yanks miss out on Lee – as Cliff Corcoran and others have pointed out this offseason, there’s very good reason to be wary of signing a pitcher like Lee to a big, long term contract. It would help the Yankees next year but likely trip them up by 2015, if not sooner. And while I would love to watch Cliff Lee pitch every five days, because the man is an artist, I just don’t know that it will justify the long-term price.
Anyway, the absolute latest news is that Lee’s agent is leaving the winter meetings (with the cryptic words “We’re going somewhere.” Right. I hope he meant “we’re getting somewhere,” but that’s only slightly more illuminating). So nobody knows anything yet.
UPDATE: The Yankees did indeed make an offer today, widely reported as six years and in the neighborhood of $140 million. I’ll be curious to see if there really was any “mystery team” out there willing to go seven years.