Nov
21

Yankees willing to offer Cliff Lee five years, $120M

By

Via Nick Cafardo, “word is” that the Yankees are prepared to offer Cliff Lee a five-year contract worth $115-120M, which would be $23-24M annually. Cafardo adds that the Rangers are prepared to “determined to match whatever it gets up to,” but Nolan Ryan has said otherwise. The Nationals are said to be pursuing the lefty as well, but I’m not sure anyone considers them a real threat.

The Yanks have already done the meet-and-greet thing with Lee and his family, as has Texas, so we’re getting to the point where everyone will have to walk the walk after talking the talk. Five years and $120M is basically market value for Lee and I think we’d all be happy if he signs for that price. In the end, I suspect we’ll see a sixth year added, possibly in the form of an option with a hefty buyout.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League
  • bonestock94

    Finally the show begins

  • Ultimate Yankee Warrior (James)

    This has disaster written all over it.

    • Mike HC

      I love Lee, and the Yanks kind of have to do it, but there are definitely a bunch of red flags saying this might not be the best idea.

      • Ted Nelson

        Can you elaborate?

        How many times in recent history has a guy who has been a top, top pitcher in baseball through his early 30s suddenly fallen off a cliff in his mid-30s?

        • Mike HC

          I am all for the signing really. I guess I was just being a bit doomsday thinking about his injury problems down the stretch and his 3.98 era for Texas. Also, the fact that he broke out at such an old age makes me believe his prime may be a bit shorter lived then a guy who has dominated since his early or mid 20′s. Nothing definitive, just some things that popped into my mind after reading the original comment.

          • http://twitter.com/kschmidt2 Kiersten

            He missed a few starts cause his back was bothering him. That’s hardly an “injury problem.” Find me a starter who pitched a significant amount of years in the majors and never missed a start.

            And a 3.98 ERA over 3 months, oh noes!

            • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS
              • http://twitter.com/kschmidt2 Kiersten

                Ok, but Barry Zito sucks.

            • Mike HC

              None of that would prevent me from signing him. But they are definitely things you have to take into account. At least I would. Maybe you would not.

          • Ted Nelson

            I think the late start may be a good thing… A lot of early bloomers throw out their arm by or before they’re 30.

            A real craftsman tends to improve with age up to a point.

            Injury is definitely a concern, but I would only say a little more with Lee than anyone. Everyone would love a dominant 24 year old like Felix on a 5/120 deal, but my bet is that he actually might be MORE likely than Lee to throw his arm out.

            • Mike HC

              I’m with you really. I would sign him.

          • Dave Leon

            You’re right in that he became a great pitcher at an old age, but I think he will do well into his mid-30s. He’s not an overpowering pitcher, he relies on movement, location and change of speed. A guy like that can pitch into his mid-30s easily. I feel he’s a pitcher, not a thrower; just look at Andy Pettitte.

          • Jay

            Tell that to Randy Couture!!

        • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

          Pedro Martinez comes to mind (94 ERA+ from age 34 to the present from a guy who was the greatest pitcher in history at his peak), but he isn’t a comp for Lee at all.

          Everyone else I can think of (Mark Mulder? Jason Schmidt?) had massive injuries.

          • Ted Nelson

            Yeah, Pedro is one. I think he had already slightly torn his rotator cuff in Boston in his early 30s, though.

            Injuries are definitely a concern, but from a little research it seems they are a lot more likely to occur to premium pitchers in their late 20s actually. Mulder and Webb, for example, were in their 20s. Schmidt was in his 30s. While I can understand why people would assume a 36 year old dominant pitcher is a much bigger injury risk than a 28 year old dominant pitcher… I just don’t know if that is or is not the case. Below I provide a bunch of dominant pitchers who mostly did very well in their mid-30s. That doesn’t mean Lee WILL, just that there’s plenty of reason to believe he can. And that signing a younger pitcher might not mean too much injury wise.

            • dalelama

              Does anyone know if the Yankees would get some type of insurance in case of injury?

              • Ted Nelson

                I don’t know exactly how it works… but the real worry would be that he sustains a lingering injury where he can pitch, just not well… Now you have a bad pitcher making $23 mill per.

                I know NBA teams collect insurance on most contracts if guys are out for the year (i.e. serious risks like Eddy Curry and Amare Stoudamire’s contracts are uninsured, but most are). I don’t know how even that works on a guy missing a few games, weeks, or months.

        • Poopy Pants

          What’s a top, top pitcher?

    • mike c

      it also has multiple world series championships written all over it too

    • ultimate913

      Not as much as the new Jeter contract.

      • Nostra-artist

        Bingo. I think Lee will age well, he’s more about control than he is about stuff. Andy is similar yet never had Lee’s ridiculous control. He should be effective as long as he stays healthy, and his health track record is good.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      When you have a shortage of answers from within the only move is to spend money on free agents. Which means more than likely you’re going to overpay. Do the Yankees want to have that much money tied up in 3 pitchers no they don’t but they really don’t have a choice.

      • Ted Nelson

        I don’t think it’s really the only move. If the Yankees didn’t have their resources the move would probably be to use Nova and/or Joba in the rotation and push the Killer Bs and co. as hard as they can handle… or to sign some lower lever FAs… or to trade for a starter… The Yankees do have tons of resources, though, and the MLB system encourages them to spend their money to buy talent.

        • The Big City of Dreams

          No you’re right it’s not the only move but it’s something they will do first because all it cost is money and a draft pick.

  • http://fmylife.com Bryan L

    I’d be overjoyed if Lee took this.

    • Mike HC

      Didn’t Halladay only get like 3 or 4 years at 20 million per? I think most people would prefer Halladay to Lee as well. I guess having the Yanks in the mix gives that extra year or two, and extra 3-4 million per. Lee should be overjoyed that he was offered this.

      • http://fmylife.com Bryan L

        There are extension contract negotiations, and then there are free agent contract negotiations.

        • Mike HC

          Good point. It did seem a bit low to me at the time as well though.

      • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

        3/60 with an option for a fourth year at $20M. Big difference though–during that negotiation, Halladay couldn’t field offers from other teams.

        • Mike HC

          Yea, Lee does deserve his money. He has been great.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cecala Joseph Cecala

    Breaking News: After hearing Lee offer, Jeter wants the same one.

    • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

      ietc

    • http://www.retire21.org Mike R.- Retire 21

      Update: Jeter’s agent is perplexed that the Yankees have not written up the contract after his client’s request.

      • Nostra-artist

        Casey Close is “baffled” by the Yanks latest offer. He is also said to “perplexed” by sabermetrics, “confused” by algebra and “dazzled” by bright shiny objects.

        • Betty Lizard

          ietc

          • JAG

            +1

            • Bulldozer

              Just curious, but would you guys be upset at a Mo contract for 2/32 for the same reasons?

              • Sayid J.

                Mo is still producing at an elite level. Jeter is not.

                • Bulldozer

                  Um, that proves nothing about his value. Would it shock you to hear that Jeter was way more valuable than Mo last year even though Mo was producing at an Elite level?

                  • Bulldozer

                    According to Fangraphs, Jeter last “outplayed” his contract in 2009 when he was worth $32mm. Mo last “outplayed” his contract in 2005, when he was worth $10.8mm. Shocking, I know.

                    • Sayid J.

                      No, really not so shocking. I completely understand that Jeter is more valuable that Mariano.

                      No need for “Um, that proves nothing about his value.” No need to be a jackass. I would not be upset with Mariano making 16 million per year because closers of his quality generally earn similar (obviously a little bit less) on the open market. So just because Fangraphs may deem his value to be one thing, it really means nothing in the open market. In the real world there is something called market value, where Mariano making 16 million would only be making slightly above his market value. If Jeter made $20 million a year, let alone 16, he’d be getting paid above his market value by quite a bit.

                      Thanks for talking down to me like I were a child.

                    • http://twitter.com/marcos_aguirre Marcos

                      Problem is, fangraphs (and everyone else) bases their whole system on WAR. and WAR is notoriously stingy on relievers, even closers like Mo. So it’s a flawed system.

                    • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

                      WAR is stingy on relievers because they pitch like 3% of a team’s innings and scrubs like Kevin Gregg can be effective, negating much of the “above replacement” part.

                    • Bulldozer

                      Ok, Sayid, I really wasn’t trying to be a jackass. But, other teams decisions to overpay relievers should not give the Yanks’ FO reason to do the same.

                      Ok, Marcos, all I am hearing is that fWAR doesn’t support my idea, so it’s flawed. Sorry to get all KLaw on you ,but what value system would you use?

                    • Bulldozer

                      Dirty Pena, two things. fWAR calculates for leverage of innings pitched, so Mo’s innings are weighted more valuably than Gregg’s, and maybe the value of a player is inherently low because he is only in on 3% of the innings.

        • Mike HC

          hhaha

    • Bulldozer

      Mo now wants 5 years too.

  • Yo Quiero Montero (formerly LarryF)

    Older players/huge money/decreased incentive$/health issues

    At least we have Gardy and Montero (still).

    • http://www.facebook.com/cecala Joseph Cecala

      But then it is either trade the farm for a pitcher or have Nova start. Lee >>>>> Trade >>> Nova.

    • Ted Nelson

      It doesn’t make that much sense to just lump all older players together and assume they are all the same… I expect a lot more on this site.

      • camilo gerardo

        This site, LarryF does not equal.

        If i were running the business, i mean team, i would go with joba/Nova instead of offering the contract to Lee. we can win, right now

  • jack lv nv

    That seems a bit high for an opener.. That being said it leads you to believe that they will not be denied. Risky but who other than the Yankees could do this for that length.

  • Tom Swift

    Whether you go six years out or not depends on whether you think the addition of Lee makes it likely that we win the WS at least 2 of those six years. If you think so, I think you have to do this. But first we have to see if anyone can top 5 yrs. $120 MM.

  • Gonzo

    I really don’t think the Yanks will need to go to 6 years. I hope to hell they don’t have to go to that commitment.

  • Doug

    honestly, don’t see them going north of CC’s $23M per. because if they do, it only increases the likelihood of sabathia opting out after next season.

    • mbonzo

      Compared to the contract he has now, I don’t think he’ll be opting out for a couple million extra. I could see him doing it if he has a CY Young year, and wouldn’t blame him for it, but if its a matter of $6-$9 million compared to what he gets now, I don’t think he’ll go to the trouble. The 2012 starting pitchers are slightly better than this years too.

      • Doug

        “but if its a matter of $6-$9 million compared to what he gets now, I don’t think he’ll go to the trouble.”

        what trouble is it to him? i don’t get this.

        also when i took a quick glance the other day at next year’s FA pitching class, no names jumped out at me. did i miss something?

        • Gonzo

          You are right. Next year’s SP FA class sucks. CC would be a very valuable commodity if he opted out.

          • Doug

            and it’s probably more the years than the $. if lee signs a 5-yr deal taking him from age 33-37, cc’s probably gonna want to opt out of a contract taking him “only” from 32-35.

          • mbonzo

            It might suck in comparison to the 2009 FA, but compared to this year’s, its better.

        • mbonzo

          Sabathia has said before that he doesn’t want to opt out because his family has now settled down in NJ. I wouldn’t blame him if he did, but the opt-out was there because he was unsure about how his family would react to NY. http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/b.....2/24090767

          The 2012 class isn’t much better than 2011, but at least Buerhle can be viewed as another ace. Although not in the same class, Wilson, Carpenter, Jackson, and possibly (a low possibility) Kazmir will be more competition for CC than anyone is to Lee this year.

          • Doug

            “but at least Buerhle can be viewed as another ace.”

            not for the yanks he’s not. and not for most other teams, imo

            • mbonzo

              Well look at the teams wanting Lee now, they’re all desperate for someone to lead the staff except the Yankees. These will probably be the same teams looking for an ace next year. The Nats, Rangers, Cubs, Dodgers, and Astros would all consider Buerle their veteran ace.

              • Doug

                the cubs, dodgers, and astros haven’t been linked to lee in any way. and like gonzo said, buerhle has hinted that he may retire

                • mbonzo

                  Yup not linked at all.
                  http://twitter.com/SI_JonHeyma.....2728725504

                  Buerhle said its possible he retires but he also said that he’d be interesting discussing an extension, so I am sure he’ll be a free agent in 2012 whether he retires that year or not, he’ll want to hear what teams have to offer.

                  • Doug

                    okay, but how about something more recent than 2 weeks ago

                    • Gonzo

                      Either way, it shows that demand for CC would be pretty nice. Also, if the economy keeps slowly improving next year, we could get bigger contracts. That would also improve CC’s leverage.

                    • Doug

                      indeed it would, gonzo. you can be sure he’s watching these negotiations very carefully.

                    • mbonzo

                      These are the teams interested in an Ace in 2011. If you want the GMs to call you personally and tell you that want an ace I’ll see what I can do.

              • Gonzo

                I think you just proved our point that CC would be in the driver’s seat. Also, Buerhle might retire.

              • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

                Your definition of ‘ace’ seems to be different than everyone else.

                Would Buerhle be a veteran presence on a pitching staff? Yes, but that’s not an ‘ace’

                • Doug

                  and you know what kind of contract a veteran presence gets….3/30, not 5/$100M+ like lee and cc

                • mbonzo

                  He’s got a career 120 ERA+ while CC has a 123 ERA+.

                  He’s not CC, but he could definitely make a case as an ace. Just because he’s not a strike out pitcher with the glitz and glamor stats that the media loves, doesn’t mean you can ignore him as an ace. He’s posted over 200 innings a year since 2001, his second year in the bigs. CC is considered a horse, and he has less IP than Buehrle.

                  • Gonzo

                    Since CC turned 25 he has never posted an ERA+ of less than 134. Since Buerhle has turned 25, he has turned in one season higher than ERA+ 134.

                    • Doug

                      and that was 6 years ago

                    • mbonzo

                      I never said Buehrle was better, in fact I said 2 or 3 times that CC is a better pitcher, but Buehrle will be competition for teams seeking an Ace. Which free agent in 2011 could be considered close the Buehrle?

                    • Doug

                      none, mbonzo, true…but that alone doesn’t make buerhle an ace

                    • Gonzo

                      My point is that he is not at all competition for CC. CC is above and beyond better. A team would see Buerhle as Plan B, not as a Plan Ab to CC. Much like anyone this year would be Plan B to Cliff Lee.

                    • mbonzo

                      Well if CC prices himself at $25 mil for 5-6 years, teams will drop out when they know they could sign Buehrle for much less and who would probably want less years.

                      Teams like the Yankees won’t consider Buehrle, but imagine if Buehrle was available this year. Half the teams involved would make Buehrle their priority instead of Lee when they see the Yankees offer. Its just silly to argue that good pitching will not compete with CC’s market.

                    • Doug

                      yes, if buerhle decides to pitch, as arguably the best FA pitcher available outside of CC, he’d probably garner 3 year deals for $30-$40M.

                      but still has nothing to do with the original premise that CC’s likely to opt out if lee signs for 5+ years at $23-$25M per

                    • Gonzo

                      Um, no. It’s silly to argue that Buerhle is competition for CC in an open market. The original point was that CC could better the remaining original contract. Stop throwing out red herrings like 5-6/25mm.

                      You act as if CC’s agent is going to advise him on what he can get based on what Buerhle is doing, which is pretty silly.

                      Teams will drop out because of price, not because, “Oh snap, Buerhle is not retiring! Hang up on CC this instant.”

                    • Bulldozer

                      Buerhle wasn’t even the best pitcher on his team and you think he’s an Ace?

                    • mbonzo

                      Remember when Holliday took a price hit last year because Bay was also on the market?

                      This year, many teams will look at Werth rather than Crawford only because he’ll be cheaper. Competition happens in free agency. CC will have more competition than Lee does this year. CC would get a raise if he opted out, but he’s not gonna have the same leverage as Lee. If you read my original post, I said he could easily get $6-9 million more for the remaining 4 years. What he’s gonna get is gonna be partially based on what his competition in the market is, even if its Buehrle, Kazmir, Wilson, or whomever.

                    • Gonzo

                      A) The gap between CC and Buerhle is much larger than Holliday and Bay.
                      B) Holliday could have gotten more than a $120mm!!! Sure he took less because of Bay. The Cards sure lowballed him.

                  • Total Dominication

                    He’s well past his prime though. Pedro Martinez has a career 154 ERA+, but he wouldn’t be considered an ace on the FA market.

                    • mbonzo

                      He’ll be the same age as Lee with better career numbers and more IP. His 2010 might have been meh, but his recent years have been his best ever.

                    • Doug

                      mbonzo, 2001 and 2005 say hello

                    • mbonzo

                      Meant to say some of his best years. His 2005 was his best, but you could argue 2007-2009 was better than 2001.

                    • Doug

                      his WHIP in 2001 was 1.066, by far the best of his career

                    • http://www.twitter.com/jordansmed JGS

                      Best career WHIP but his walk rates and strikeout rates were identical to the rest of his career. That .248 BABIP sticks out a lot (his second lowest was .281 in 2002. 2001 and 2002 are the only years he has given up less than a hit per inning)

          • Doug

            oh, and i know what he’s said, but if he thinks he can get an extra year or two at $25M per, he’s gonna opt out. don’t care how much he loves new jersey.

          • Gonzo

            Yeah, I am gonna go out on a limb and say that it wouldn’t be the first time an athlete said something and then changed his mind because of money.

            Buerhle might retire. Kazmir is pretty much toast.

  • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

    If this is going to be the initial offer to Lee, it means that they’re prepared to go higher. I don’t see how the Rangers can possibly outbid them.

    • Ted Nelson

      Maybe, but maybe they just saw what the market for him was a made an offer they thought was likely to win… If no one else will outbid 5/120, they probably don’t have to go much higher.

  • http://twitter.com/kschmidt2 Kiersten

    I want Cliff Lee and I want him NOW.

  • pete

    very aroused

  • Thomas Tu

    I dare the Rangers to match 24M a year. I dare them.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    Please take this. A CC deal would suck.

  • Reggie C.

    I can see the 6th year option being offered if the Lee camp were so inclined to demand it. I’m not sure if the 6th year would be triggered solely by the player (Lee), but a buy-out in the high seven figures wouldn’t shock me.

  • patricia morgan

    i don’t understand the furor, lee lost the 2 world series games he pitched

    • Ted Nelson

      Incorrect… Lee is 2-2 in the World Series, for whatever that’s worth.

      • http://twitter.com/SteeeeveO Steve O.

        That’s even worse. Is he a winner, or is he a loser??? Where is his identity??? Is his name even Cliff Lee??? I find that hard to believe.

        • Ted Nelson

          No: Clifton Lee…

    • yankees1717

      that’s an enormous SSS. you really can’t judge a guy on 2 starts.

      • Gonzo

        Pffft, you’re not trying hard enough.

      • Plank

        I judge people I meet at social functions on much, much less information. But I don’t think that’s really what you meant.

    • Betty Lizard

      Yeah, it’d be much better to never get to the World Series than to risk losing two games.

      Let’s not hire anyone.

  • I am not the droids you’re looking for

    The Yanks bid is essentially perfect (if leaked accurately). No one else will guarantee either a sixth year, or a higher AAV, let alone both. Book it. The Yanks may tack on a couple mil overall, and possibly a sixth year option with a hefty (>$5mm) buyout. But this is essentially the deal he signs

  • Teh Compensation Pick

    I think 5/120 is with the option and hefty (5mil) buyout on a sixth year. I say that because I cannot imagine them giving an AAV higher than CC’s deal.

    • Doug

      agree, said this earlier.

  • Ted Nelson

    Is it a risk to sign anyone to a long-term $23+ mill per deal? Yes. A pitcher? Yes. A player already in their 30? Yes. However, so many people are posting that it’s a forgone conclusion this is a stupid move because of age and not just the money…

    35-37 year old season ERA+s:

    Randy Johnson: 186, 181, 188 (career 136)
    Andy Pettitte: 112, 98, 111 (career 117)
    David Wells: 127, 102, 123 (career 108)
    Tom Glavine: 125, 140, 93 (career 118)

    35-27 IP:

    Randy Johnson: 271, 248, 249
    Andy Pettitte: 215, 204, 194
    David Wells: 214, 231, 229
    Tom Glavine: 219, 224, 183

    Fact is that there’s plenty of precedent of lefties who were strong through their mid-30s. Anyone have some counter-examples? Going back over the past 20 years I don’t see too many 30 year old Cy Young winner, or Cy Young winners period, who fell off a cliff. (Johan is still a 130 ERA+ guy and only 31 last season. Zito fell of the cliff right when he got to SF at 29… and he was never as good as Lee to start with. Webb got injured, he is only 30 now though. Pedro is about it. )

    Righties:

    Clemens: ERA+ 174, 103, 131 (career 143)… IP 234, 187, 204
    Maddux: ERA+ 146, 159, 108 (career 132)… IP 233, 199, 218
    Halladay was 33 last season and going strong.

    I would really like to see if kept to 5 years, even if that means more front-loaded $. I think there’s a better chance this deal works out for the Yankees than not, though.

  • nsalem

    Warren Spahn had an ERA+
    year 40 125
    year 41 123
    year 42 124

    He also won over 60 games over that 3 year period (1961-1963).

  • nathan

    I hope they dont start with this offer. Given Lee’s age, injury history this is too much.

  • Dick

    I call bullshit.

    Nick Cafardo is a known yankee hater. He’s just trying to stir the pot. And really, with the vast number of reporters covering the yanks and all the rumor mongers out there (like Heyman and Rosenthal), it’s unlikely that they all got scooped by a 2nd string boston scribe.

    • Teh Comp Pick

      Well said.

    • Mike HC

      Yea, I have to keep reminding myself to take all these rumors with a grain of salt. I mean, they could be true, who knows?

  • Dick

    If they give Lee a higher AAV contract then CC, then CC will opt out at the end of the year.

    • mbonzo
      • MikeD

        Saying that in August 2010 means nothing when November 2011 rolls around. The opt-out is worth money, as A-Rod showed. Let’s say CC has another 20-win season, or even puts up a Cy Young season. If Lee signs for a higher annual average than CC, I think the chances are high that CC is some way uses the opt out for additional cash, even if he does it in a more subtle way than A-Rod did.

  • JackC

    I’m sure someone has figured this out, but I haven’t seen it much mentioned — how will Texas’ lack of state income tax affect the equation? Wouldn’t allow them to offer less than the Thanks and still allow Lee to net more?

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Theres a post on this but the lower income taxes in Texas only count for half of Lee’s games. The other half are in the states he played games in.

      Lee wouldn’t lose a significant amount of money should he rather go to NY.

      • dalelama

        I think if the Rangers pay $1.2M per season less it would be equivalent to the Yankees as far as net cash goes.

  • http://fresnosports.blogspot.com/ cofuzz

    If not Lee, what’s Plan B?
    I address some options you might not have seen to this point in coming out of the West Coast!

  • http://www.masterfofnothing.com Mr Will

    The bigger question to ponder: Name one pitcher who got progressively better pitching in the homer friendly Rangers Ballpark? I can’t think of anyone, Kenny Rogers notwithstanding…Cliff is going to New York for better or worse.

  • LEOLUCCA RANDISI

    The sooner we sighn Lee the better then all the chips will fall in to place and 28 will be ours….