If a Cliff Lee deal is going to get done this week, they’ll have to get things moving pretty quickly. We heard last week that his agent, Darek Braunecker, wasn’t going to take any offers until the Winter Meetings commenced. “He wants to be the ringmaster at the winter meetings,” said a source of ESPN New York’s Wallace Matthews. Yet here we are, almost done with Day 2 of the Winter Meetings, and Braunecker still hasn’t started fielding offers, according to Ken Rosenthal.
The Yankees have refrained from making an offer to Lee at the request of his agent, Darek Braunecker, according to sources in contact with the club.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, anxious to close a deal, has privately expressed his frustration to others at the winter meetings about the team’s inability to move the negotiations along, sources say.
Emphasis mine. The Yankees’ interest in Lee is universally known, and Braunecker is going to use this to his advantage. His strategy apparently includes making the Yankees sweat. With no viable alternatives readily available, there’s not much that the Yankees can do about this. All they can do is continue to wait for Braunecker to accept an offer.
There is hope, though, that the situation gets moving tonight. Marc Carig reports that Brian Cashman will meet with Braunecker tonight. We’ve heard a slew of rumors today, including a team, not necessarily the Nationals, willing to offer seven years. It appears to go hand-in-hand with rumors we’ve heard already, which mostly sound like a ploy to get the Yankees’ offer to six, or maybe even seven, years. There’s a chance we could find out more on that front in a few hours.
It is interesting that the two sides are meeting tonight, after moving slowly through the process to this point. It almost resembles the CC Sabathia situation from two years ago. That situation moved slowly — not at all, really, since the Yankees made an offer in mid-November and didn’t hear back until the Meetings — but it started to gain steam not on Tuesday during the day, but Tuesday evening. I’m not as optimistic that something moves with Lee tonight. Then again, I wasn’t at all optimistic that Cashman would get anything done with Sabathia at the 2008 meetings.
For right now we’re left with a mostly unclear situation. Maybe it becomes clearer after Braunecker meets with Cashman this evening. But even if it does I don’t expect anything to get done this week. Lee and his agent are going to take their time getting something done, no matter what other teams think of it.