Nov
18

Reality sets in for the Rangers

By

You have to hand it to new Rangers owners Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan. They’ve shown confidence, even cockiness, since taking over the Rangers. Even before they beat the Yankees in the ALCS they claimed that they had what it took to retain Cliff Lee. Ryan in particular has been outspoken in this stance. Yet it appears that in the last couple of days that has changed.

It started yesterday, when Ryan told SI’s Jon Heyman that he thinks Lee is “about ready to entertain offers.” The most aggressive offers will likely come from the Yankees, Rangers, and Nationals, but we could see a dozen or more teams submit proposals. Now that we’re a step further in the process, are the Rangers as confident as before?

Apparently not. Nolan Ryan talked to Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal. Costa’s tweet says it all:

Nolan Ryan said he expects Yankees to outbid Rangers for Cliff Lee. Said they’ll try to sell appeal of Texas, but didn’t sound confident.

The appeal of Texas is that Lee wouldn’t have to pay state income tax on about half of his salary, and that he’d be a bit closer to his home in Little Rock. The appeal of New York is that he’ll earn more money and he’ll be in an environment where the front office will consistently surround him with elite talent. And, in my biased view, it being New York City makes it appealing enough.

This situation likely won’t play out until the Winter Meetings, but it does appear that the Yanks have the situation well at hand. It will mean big changes in the future, but I’m sure the Yankees are well aware of the obstacles they’ll face with multiple $20 million contracts on the books.

Categories : Hot Stove League
  • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

    All your Cliff Lee are belong to us.

    • FIPster Doofus

      Hahaha, I was just coming in to post this.

      • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

        GMTA

  • Big Stein

    And, in my biased view, it being New York City makes it appealing enough.
    ————————

    Too bad he’s not single. It’ll be hard to really enjoy NYC when you got a ball and chain attached to your ankles.

    Maybe he can pull a Mantle/Clinton and leave the wife and kids back in Arkansas during the season.

    • Dalelama

      Unfortunately Clinton didn’t leave his in Arkansas…LOL

    • Brian in NH

      Not everybody loves the city life. Seems like Lee is a guy who really enjoys nature and the outdoors. there is not much of that in New York City. Granted, he’s on the road for a good portion of the year, but living in/near NYC doesn’t have the same appeal for everyone. I’d personally rather live near Boston, San Francisco, or Seattle.

  • http://twitter.com/AndrewLeighNYC Andrew

    Wait so that TV deal and the drunk and disorderly NY fans and the magical 2010 claw-and-antlers run might not keep Cliff Lee in Texas? Color me shocked and appalled! I feel like I’ve been duped all this time.

    • Not Tank the Frank

      I know. And ESPN kept telling me Lee would be a better fit in Texas because their team is younger and will be better for a long time with a deeper farm system.

      Woops.

      No mention of how the Yankees have been the or one of the best teams in baseball for sixteen years. Nevermind the Yankees farm system. They’re going to have cost controlled stars and roll players and they simply won’t be outspent for a player they want. The Yankees can’t be stopped. Reality check time, Texas.

      • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

        Hoping against hope. Going to be another long winter up in beantown.

  • Sal

    Lee and CC. I can’t wait. I would say they are the best 1-2 combo in baseball. Who would the number 1 starter be?

    • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

      CC would be. It’s his 3rd season in NY, he gets priority. But it doesn’t matter really.

      1A. CC
      1B. Lee
      3. Pettitte
      4. Hughes
      5. AJ

    • Corporate Scum (formerly Joe West’s Music Career)

      AJ Burnett of course.

    • Big Stein

      I would say they are the best 1-2 combo in baseball.
      ———————————–

      Ridiculous. How can they be better than Casey Kelly and John Lackey?!!?

      • vin

        You mean Casey Kelly and Casey Kelly. He has no problem going back to back.

        • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

          He’s a regular modern-day Old Hoss Radbourn.

        • I Voted for Kodos

          He’s learning to Venditte this offseason. He’ll throw the first game with his right arm and the second with his left.

          I heard he’s also practicing throwing with each foot so that he can throw 4 out of every 5 games.

          • vin

            Now you’re just being silly.

            He starts on Monday and Tuesday… and plays SS Wednesday-Friday. Then takes the mound again on Saturday and Sunday.

            • I Voted for Kodos

              You know, somehow I managed to forget that he was Honus Wagner when not on the mound.

    • MikeD

      CC would still remain #1. Lee will be the new guy. Now if Lee pitches better than CC that might change for 2012, but not at the start.

      I would also expect if that came through that CC would be the guy to pitch the first game in the postseason simply because he has shown willingness to go on three days rest where Lee has not.

    • John

      But Boston has 8 aces…

      • Jobu

        I hear that they are adding a second mound to their stadium so the can start two pitchers at once. As it is, one ace has to wait their turn behind the mound so they can switch after each batter.

      • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

        8? That’s really underselling it.

        • Mattchu12

          No kidding. Casey Kelly can pitch eight games straight on his own.

      • murakami

        16 with mirrors

    • Mattchu12

      Lincecum and Cain could edge them, but I think I’d agree they’d be the best in the AL.

      • Total Dominication

        Lee>>Lincecum
        CC>>>>>Cain

  • Steve

    The tax thing is overblown – if he goes to Texas there is a good chance he would remain an Arkansas resident (of course Lee would try and claim TX residency, but it might be difficult) in which case he would pay tax on all his income – if Arkansas resident he would pay 7% tax on all income and then get a credit for taxes paid elsewhere.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

      Baseball players pay state income tax on where they play. If the Rangers plays six games in New York next year, Rangers players will pay tax on 6/162 of their salary to the State of New York. So no, he won’t be paying to Arkansas.

      • Sayid J.

        Boom.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        Oh, he will in all likelihood be paying something to Arkansas if he is an Arkansas resident. He will receive a credit for taxes paid to other jurisdictions, but could still wind up owing Arkansas some state income tax.

  • Yank the Frank

    Lets not count the chickens yet. We thought we had him once before.

    • Big Stein

      Chickens?

      What’s the chicken to duck exchange ratio? I’m long on ducks and short on pigeon derivative options.

      • Yank the Frank

        In Lee’s neck of the woods chickens and ducks will go a long way, pigeons not so much.

      • Chris

        What’s the exchange rate of Schrute bucks to Stanley nickels?

  • bottom line

    Four $20 mill contracts can be managed, assuming some contributions from the farm. With, say, seven young salary-controlled players Yanks should be fine (so long as CC and Cliff are healthy and effective of course). I think we can get seven from among Zeus, Romine, Killer B’s, Warren, Stoneburner, Nunez, Laird etc. Will still be able to replace Cano, Swish and Grandy in three or four years as those fairly large contracts come off the books. Only downside, IMO, less margin for error if guys making big bucks go down.

    • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

      The Yankees still have the flexibility to add players mid-season if they need to. I think it’s why Hal sticks to a soft cap on the payroll before the season, so the team can still allocate an additional 5-10 million to be used during the season to plug holes. Don’t forget he approved taking on Berkman/Wood money this year when they were deemed necessary to fill holes.

  • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

    I guess Nolan’s wealthy oil buddies weren’t willing to pony up millions of their own cash just to retain a single pitcher.

    • FIPster Doofus

      The Yankees drink your milkshake, Texas. They drink it up!

      • http://twitter.com/firstheart42 seimiya

        It brings Cliff Lee to the yard, I hear.

  • vin

    Smart move by the Rangers… even if its nothing more than reality for them. Better off putting that money towards extending the likes of Hamilton, Cruz, Kinsler, Wilson, Holland, etc. As great as Cliff Lee is, that contract would completely hamstring them.

    • RL

      I think they’ve been through something like this before …

      • http://twitter.com/Carlosological Carlosologist

        Did it involve a worldbeating SS?

        • RL

          Something like that, if I recall correctly …

  • The Ancient Mariner

    I wouldn’t count my chickens before they hatched just yet.

    • RL

      We’ve been through this before. It’s easier to count chickens before they hatch. After they hatch, they run around too much.

    • Big Stein

      I’m making a killing on the chicken egg futures arbitrage index.

      Sure it’s a bubble, but when the market bursts they’ll make great omelets.

  • http://twitter.com/simmonsclass Sam

    Lee: Guys, the Yankees offered more money, have a better team, have shown the ability and willingness to spend money, and play in New York. What can you do for me?

    Ryan: Do you remember the Alamo?

    • Mattchu12

      Honestly, with their youth and yet still high caliber ball club, if the Rangers are willing to pay me near what the Yankees are willing to pay me, I gotta admit that I’d take more than a little while to think about it.

      The Rangers made the Yankees look REALLY old during the ALCS.

      • Big Stein

        Yeah, pitching in 109 degree heat for three months is a blast.

      • vin

        The Yanks didn’t look old against the Twins. It’s funny how a team looks old when they lose. Outside of Rivera, the most important players on the Yankees are in and around their primes – Tex, Cano, CC, Swisher, Granderson, Hughes, Gardner.

        This narrative needs to end.

        • Mattchu12

          I never said I’d pick the Rangers over the Yankees, or that we weren’t going to be good long term. I’m just saying that the Rangers have a lot of young exciting talent when you think about Andrus, Kinsler, Hamilton, Cruz, Moreland, Wilson, Felix, and Holland.

      • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

        Who sucked in the ALCS? CC and Hughes. Who knows, though, they might have made Hughes look 25.

      • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

        They just looked terrible. They didn’t necessarily look old. And all that excitement and youth couldn’t stop the Rangers from looking even worse in the WS.

  • nathan

    I hope they XRay and MRI the heck out of his back, oblique and shoulder. Another 20 Mill player, 2014 and beyond will be ugly as heck.

    • Poopy Pants

      Stop being rational.

  • http://161ststreet.wordpress.com Chris A

    I have no problem believing that Ryan thinks the Yankees will outbid the Rangers, but why announce it to the media? Does it help his team in anyway?

    • nathan

      Lulling the Yanks?

    • vin

      Not sure if it helps the Rangers, but it makes them more sympathetic, and explains to the fans that Cliff Lee is just another all-about-the-money player*.

      * and so is every single player… as they should be.

      • Avi

        I had Chris’ same question and thought of what Vin said as the most logical reason.
        I don’t think they’re trying to lull the Yankees.
        A) I don’t think Grand Pa Ryan is that smart.
        B) The Yankees gauge the price of Lee based on their conversations with his agent. Not By a comment made in the press by one of Texas’ front office people.

        • vin

          I think you nailed it with B. I believe the Yanks met with Lee, and said they would go to a certain number ($ and years). Then when the Rangers met with Lee, they were made fully aware of the Yanks’ willingness to go to that number.

          There ability to spend with the Yanks up to that point was speculation on the Rangers behalf. That meeting in Arkansas gave them an idea as to what kind of business the Yanks mean.

          And on top of that, Nolan gets to spin this to his fan base that they will not be the highest bidder (probably not by a long shot), and must put the honus on Lee to choose Texas because of the team, the fans, the bbq, whatever.

          It’s a PR move at this point. Kind of like the Brewers offering CC 5/100 when everyone knew the Yanks were willing to blow that out of the water. Helps them save face by at least offering a contract.

    • toad

      Who knows. I wouldn’t take it as a concession, though.

  • Kenny Powers

    TEXAS IS FUCKIN OUT, NEW YORK IS FUCKIN IN!

  • Big Stein

    When Lee signs, watch Texas will finally make good on their numerous threats to secede from the Union.

    Don’t mess with tex-mex!

    • http://twitter.com/firstheart42 seimiya

      Thank god. I think this country could do with a little less Texas.

  • Jimbo

    Nolan Ryan is the Pat Reiley of baseball, I wouldn’t trust anything he says untill Lee is signed, sealed delivered.

  • Sal

    Years 4 and five of Lee’s contract may get dicey.

    • MikeD

      True, so that means years six and seven will really be messy!

    • YankeesJunkie

      That is true for any long term contract. Lee has had some muscle problems, but those are lot less scary than actual back bone problems with the vertebrae and such.

  • pat

    YOU CAN’T HANG WITH US B*TCH!

  • ShuutoHeat

    But everything in Texas is BIGGER.
    That’s a selling point right? Right guys?

    • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

      everything but the payroll.

      • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

        and the trophy case.

        • ShuutoHeat

          I’m sure the trophy case is big…
          Big and empty.

          • SteveD

            That is hilarious!!!! roflmao.

        • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

          Boom.

  • Sean C

    Shouldn’t everyone in the league know that the Yankees can (and will if they want/need to) blow everyone else’s offer out of the water? I’m not sure why this seems like a recent development to Ryan…

    I can’t wait for everyone to start bitching about salary caps and money-hungry players always going to the rich, asshole NY Yankees. They can complain all they want while I enjoy watching Lee don the pinstripes and mow down batters.