Feinsand: Nats to offer Lee seven-year contract


Via Mark Feinsand, the Nationals are preparing to offer Cliff Lee a seven-year contract, someplace the Yankees don’t appear to be willing to go. Jon Heyman adds that contract length is very important to Lee, and it’s hard to believe someone would match seven years, let alone exceed it. That said, Adam Kilgore spoke to some people in the Nats’ front office that shot the report right down. “Not happening” and “zero chance” were the quotes du jour.

Update (12:25 p.m.): Jon Heyman reports that the Nationals are not interested in Lee and won’t be offering him seven years. Team to make offer, team later denies it. News at 11.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League


  1. YankeesJunkie says:

    The Rangers and Yankees might vomit if Lee goes to Washington even if it is for seven years.

  2. Even as a Yankees fan, I like to see them get out bid. Especially when its by so much.

  3. B-Rando says:

    It seems odd to me that Cliff would prefer a 7 year deal. If he went for a 5 year deal at maximum dollars, which we know he could get given the market…he could then re-up for a 2 or 3 year deal when he is 37. Unless the Nats pull another Werth and just open the bank vault AND give him 7 years, it seems to make more sense for him to go 5 years. Have all the teams involved get in a bidding war and nab yourself something close to 30 mil/year for 5 years.

    Its like Jeters situation had he signed that 7 yr/118.5 mil contract the Yanks proposed instead of the 10 year/189 mil one. He would have been in line for a new contract at the end of his age 32 season after one of his best seasons. He would have cashed in, again.

    Its obviously not a direct correlation because Lee will be 37 at the end of 5 years, but it is comparable in the sense that after 7 years, Lee may not be desirable anymore.

    • Not to be mean but this post was pointless.

      Lee stands to gain nothing by not taking the most years.

      At 37 unless hes still at his peak(which is doubtful) he wont see the 20mm+ he will now.

      • Jorge says:

        ….at which point he will be so filthy rich that it really shouldn’t matter.

      • Hughesus Christo says:

        I bet Mike Mussina would have liked that first NYY deal to be 7 years.

      • Sayid J. says:

        That’s just not true. As Mike insinuated on Twitter earlier this morning, if the Nats offer were 7 years at 19 per year and the yankees offer 6 years at 23 per year, it ends up being 7/133 and 6/138. He could get less years, more money and have a better chance of getting another decent sized deal in 6 years.

      • Chris says:

        At Lee’s age, you’re correct. But there are cases where players push for longer deals when cutting it a year or two shorter would likely lead to a second big payday – think about how different A-Rods contract would be if he were a FA today instead of 3 years ago.

      • B-Rando says:

        Take it easy there brosephine. It was just an idea. Obviously it involves a ton of risk and as baseball agents go, they tend to avoid risk at all costs.

        The point I was trying to make is that a team offering a 7 year deal, will most certainly be offering a lower average annual salary. With the players at hand, Lee has the potential to drive up the cost of a 5 or 6 year deal to the point where it will be similar (not exactly matching) a 7 year deal from whomever. If thats the case, a shorter deal makes sense because it gives him another shot at free agency closer to his prime years.

        Obviously this is just an idea I’m throwing out there. I’m not taking it too seriously, neither should you.

      • RL says:

        Lee stands to gain nothing by not taking the most years money.


    • Ed says:

      Two things you’re missing:

      1) Pitchers get hurt a lot. Far more than position players, and the injuries tend to be more severe. If you’re a pitcher, you want to guarantee as much as you possibly can. Betting on being healthy at 37 is a bad idea.

      2) Right now whatever contract Lee signs will be for top dollar. Even if he stays healthy, his stuff will have declined by the time he reaches 37. Unless he pulls off a Randy Johnson career arc, whatever contract he signs at 37 will be worth a lot less per year than one he signs at 32.

      Your ideas make sense for a younger player, but Lee hit free agency too late to try things like that.

      • B-Rando says:

        I agree, its just an idea. The point I’m trying to make is that a team(s) that goes 7 years will be offering some lesser average annual salary. With the players that are involved, Lee has the potential to make very close to the same amount on a 5 year deal, that he would on some 7 year deal.

        I agree a younger player would definitely fit this sort of strategy better, but I thought it was worth bringing up anyway for Lee.

        • Ed says:

          I think most of us are assuming that the 7 year deal would be for a similar or only slightly lower AAV.

          Similar money over more years would be bad for Lee both for the reasons you mentioned, and due to the value of money over time. I doubt he’d even consider a deal like that.

    • Jobu says:

      Or he could begin to decline over the course of his five year deal not not be able to generate $35M in his next contract. He could also get injured over the course of the next five years. It would be really hard to walk away from even $30M guaranteed over the final two years of that contract. Now if he got an opt out after year 4, that would be another matter entirely.

    • Jonathan says:

      The only reason i see Lee taking less years is if the 7 year offer is like $140 from a team like the Nationals and the 6 year offer is for $138 or so. I would think that he could get more than $2MM after 6 years and this is just me speculating and hoping, that $2MM isn’t enough to make him go to a non contender when he could be on the Yankees.

      Here is a secondary thing to debate. While it would take a Randy Johnson like second half of his career, and I don’t think it will happen, I’ve been wondering what would be best for his HOF chances. Would coming to the yankees and racking up 20+ win season be more valuable to voters than say if he went to the NL and was winning like 14 a year but putting up amazing other stats? I hope by the time he’s up for HOF consideration the voters are more into the latter stats than wins. What do you guys think?

  4. Jorge says:

    You can either get paid well for an extra year, C. Pfifer Lee, and pitch meaningless games, or you can win championships and worry about 2017 later.

  5. A.D. says:

    Jon Heyman adds that contract length is very important to Lee

    Not really sure why this is true, you would figure the money would be more important, you can always sign another contract (and if you can’t, then its better you made more money before falling off a cliff).

    Otherwise if anyone, especially the Nationals wants to go completely nuts in signing Lee, then have at it.

    • vin says:

      “Not really sure why this is true, you would figure the money would be more important, ”

      The concept of years being the most important factor is agent-speak for money being the most important factor. The easiest way to substantially increase the total value of the contract is to add another year or two.

      I guarantee Cliff Lee would take a 6/144 (24/yr) over a 7/147 (21/yr).

    • tomaconda says:

      so length is important? or is it the overall size that really matters?

    • Shaun says:

      I think he’s just tired of being the hired gun, traded around to bring you to the WS and then moved at the end of the season. He’s been on 3 teams in two years, he wants to stay in one place for as long as possible.

  6. LarryM.,Fl. says:

    No matter the team Lee will be much richer even the length at the dollars to sign should not be the issue to Lee. A five year contract at 23 million (115 million) more than enough for Lee. He would be 38 at the end of contract, enough is enough.

    I prefer development of players, trades and reasonable FA signings (non Iconic considered). I enjoy a competitive team which has the opportunity to win, not win now and eight years later content again. This will occur with all the long term contracts to older players, Arod, Jeter and Lee? too much money and time.

  7. Hughesus Christo says:

    This would suck, but I’m also kind of happy to see Washington spending money to make money. We should hope this plan works (general plan, not Lee) so the cheapskates can stfu.

  8. Jobu says:

    What the hell has gotten into the Nationals. They are tossing money around like . . . well like Hank!

    • vin says:

      or Minaya.

    • Chris says:

      How else are they going to get free agents to come to Washington? They’ve had the highest offers on a number of free agents (like Tex) that have turned them down because they suck.

      Considering that the owner is (I believe) the richest owner in the sport and they are in a relatively large market (and a lot of people willing to pay a lot of money to impress clients) they shouldn’t be too constrained by excess spending.

      • king of fruitless hypotheticals says:

        I went to a Natinals game and there were no suits there at all. Lobbying and Gov’t contracting rules make it difficult to take govt employees to events like that.

        Having said that, lots of folks skirt the rules, and I bet the sky boxes were packed with happy suits…

  9. I’d like to think that Lee would go to the place where he has the best shot to win a title now and get the most years and money. New York is the only place where he can get that.

    • jsbrendog (returns) says:

      i dunno man. in 2 yrs when strasburg comes back and harper is a yr closer and zimmerman is entering his prime if you add lee and werth…dude…

  10. Craig says:

    How long before the Nats can reasonably expect to contend? 2011? No. 2012? Eh, probably not yet. I’d say 2013 at the earliest with Jordan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg healthy and (presumably) productive to go along with R. Zimmerman, Werth and MAYBE Bryce Harper.

    Let’s just hope that Lee accepts fewer years for a near guarantee to contend over the length of his contract instead of seven years and some question marks.

    • Pasqua says:

      If they were to pull this off, I would assume that they’re loading up for a run at a title NOW. By the time a guy like Harper really hits his stride, guys like Werth might be fading. If they do have the money (and it looks like they do) this might be an “all-in” type of approach by the Nats.

      • Craig says:

        But even with Lee, the Nats won’t contend in 2011. Probably not 2012 either. The point you make about Werth fading by the time Harper is ready to contribute is just another reason for Lee to take fewer years from the Yankees instead of signing a 7 year deal with the Nats (a.k.a. a death sentence).

  11. rek4gehrig says:

    Ninja Nats

  12. Pasqua says:

    If I know the Nats, there’s NO WAY they would let a guy in the middle years of his career sign a 7-year contract that would virtually guarantee his inability to perform at a high level in the later years of the deal.

    Oh. Wait…

  13. Monteroisdinero says:

    Bush went to Washington for 8! Seriously, I think the Yanks should let him go. Cliff Lee will never win a world series. He doesn’t care if this is true and he acccepts. Money, then years, then winning…

  14. Monteroisdinero says:

    he just wants his hacks as a #9 batter

  15. A.D. says:

    Personally I think this makes more sense than the Werth deal, with the Giants teaching us if you have pitching you can throw hitting against the wall until something sticks, a rotation of Lee, Strasburg, Zimmerman, Detwiller, and Lannan could be quite good in a few years, and they can presumably build a serviceable lineup around Zimmerman and now Werth

  16. This is exactly why I wanted the Yankees to get Dan Haren. He was the perfect number #2 and wouldn’t have cost too much.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      Hear, hear.

    • Granderslam says:


    • Jonathan says:

      amen. it made sense at the time and for the future. i guess we really don’t know what they asked for but at the least I wish Towers was there when they traded him so they could have gotten more out of the Angels….what an atrocious trade. He’s comparable to Greinke and with a similar contract and we could have had him for presumably less than half of what it would cost to get Greinke. Greinke clearly has a higher upside but i think his risks were much higher too.

  17. ZZ says:

    When a New York beat writer is scooping an offer from the Washington Nationals, typically not a great sign for the truth of the rumor :lol:

    • Steve H says:

      Exactly. I see this as a sign that Lee’s team wants the Yankees to make their offer. When the NY writer scoops a Nationals offer, and the Nationals deny it within an hour, is there any doubt it came from Lee’s camp, to NY???

  18. Yank the Frank says:

    This sounds bogus. Where are the Nat’s getting their money? It’s certainly not from attendance, they were 14th lowest out of 16 teams last year.

  19. Granderslam says:

    I wonder if Lee’s Agent is planting info in the media to make rival clubs believe there is a team willing to go 7…when there really isn’t.

  20. RL says:

    Don’t know how much truth there is to this, but if Lee has to go anywhere other than the Yankees (at an agreeable contract price/length), then let it be a NL team! Also agree it’s not the worst thing if someone outbids the Yankees for a player that they really wanted. The Yankees will compete anyway. I just hope they do so without giving up too many top prospects.

  21. Anthony Murillo says:

    Heyman and Adam Kilgore are saying there’s nothing to the Lee/National rumor.

  22. nathan says:

    Nats with Soren, Strasburg, Zimmerman (and Zimmerman), Lee, Werth, Harper could be a really good team. It doesnt take much to excel in the NL. Though they have the Phils to contend with.

    I can see how Nats can sell this vision to Lee. Lee has waited till 32 for his payday, he is not going to a place that offers more of a chance for WS, he is going to a place where he will make the most money. Also, dont rule out a CC type opt out clause if its the Nats. I hope Cash$$ forgets abt Lee if its 5+ years.

  23. Big Stein says:

    It’s a sign and trade deal.

    The sign Lee and then turn around and trade him along with Strasburg to SD for Casey Kelly

  24. Do the Nats really want to commit that much money over that many years to just Werth and Lee? Their farm system better be loaded.

  25. mbonzo says:

    Theres now another 7 year team. Suuuurre there is.

  26. Johnny says:

    I admit it. It’s me, Johnny “The Boss” Romano, manager of the Staten Island Clowns, an over-30 men’s softball league. Long time, first time. Yo, yo!!

    Me and the boys are planning to offer Lee a seven-year deal to pitch for the Clowns, but not sure we can go higher than $200 a year. A Heyman rumor says years are the most important thing to him, so I think we have a chance. I’m hoping a 7/1,400 deal with all the free beer he can drink (only after the games!!) will seal the deal. We might even go up to eight years, although Franky “The Slicer” Tegora, our catcher who works behind the meat counter at Rosie’s Deli during the day, is concerned he might not have enough fastball left for slow-pitch softball at 40. Not sure. He has a vowel on the end of his name, and all, so that’s good enough for me!

  27. Wil Nieves #1 Fan says:

    I would offer Lee 8 years but he would only get paid for the first 6.

  28. JerseyDutch says:

    Could we offer him seven years but pay him in Trident Layers for the last two?

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