Cliff Lee has at least one seven-year deal on the table from the Yanks. Actually, he’s got a variety of proposed deals from both the Yankees and the Rangers. And he’s still thinking. To me, this means that he’s going to sign with the Rangers. Maybe later today, or over the weekend. The New York papers will be chock full of panic but our man Steven Goldman says not to worry:
Lee might help in the short term, but if the price is too high, they have other choices. Six months from now, Manny Banuelos could be ready to take his stuff up to the Bronx—again, just because the Yankees handled Hughes and Chamberlain like they’d never had a young pitcher before (in fairness, in many ways they hadn’t), not everyone has to advance by baby steps. There is a school of thought that says that once a pitcher reaches a certain level of proficiency in the minors, all a team achieves by keeping him down there is not greater learning, but a greater risk or arm injury as they roll pitches off his odometer.
…I don’t really want to hear about Lee anymore, because I don’t view Lee as the Ultimate Nullifier, the Encyclopedic Panacea. There are other things that need to happen as well, but we don’t hear about them, because all the eggs seem to be in this one left-handed basket. It may also be that because of these numbers—31, 37, 35, 30, 30, 39, 39, 34, and 41—I can’t get too excited by the addition of a 32, no matter how good. The only way the Yankees are going to continue to win consistently is with the addition of a 22, and a 23, and even the odd 27 if need be. Maybe Lee is the next Warren Spahn and he will pitch well into his 40s. I have no way of knowing if that is the case. What I do know is that there was only one Warren Spahn, and you could wait on the corner for a long time before you see another.