Open Thread: Moose


(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

I dunno why, but I felt like posting a Mike Mussina picture today. Moose is easily one of my all-time favorite Yankees, and I can’t think of a long-term pitching contract that worked out better. I figured this was appropriate given all the Cliff Lee madness. Sometimes these things go according to plan, if not better.

Anyway, this is your open thread for the night. All three of the hockey locals are in action, plus there’s a ton of college football on. Pitchers and catcher report in 65 days, you know. Enjoy.

Categories : Open Thread


  1. bexarama says:

    I can’t think of a long-term pitching contract that worked out better.

    But but but. No ring!!

  2. art vandelay says:

    hey, see that fuzzy person in the background, that’s me !

  3. Andrew says:

    I always loved the Moose even when he was on the O’s, mostly because I thought the stretch was cool as a kid and he was good. Went to his first start as a Yankee, was driven into a near-homicidal rage when Carl Everett broke up his perfect game. We also share a birthday. I enjoyed seeing him all goateed and weird looking when I think YES filmed him out in the sticks of PA coaching basketball or whatever.

  4. ZZ says:

    Between 12:01 and 8 AM Monday I bet Braunecker leaks where Lee is going. Big stories don’t get leaked on the weekend. Not enough juice. Not enough attention on a Saturday or Sunday. Lee has his mind made up and he is getting ready to be the center of attention Monday. Book it.

    • Andrew says:

      Yeah I totally agree but I think it’s early enough tomorrow night for it to make all the Monday morning papers and what not. But it’s clearly designed at this point for the Lee news to dominate the Monday news cycle and then continue to be talked about during the entire week.

      Lee’s agent has done a pretty killer job for his client in the negotiations, I must say.

    • ultimate913 says:

      I don’t think I’ll last that long. This is killing me.

    • bexarama says:

      I’ll tell you the exact time Lee’s decision is getting leaked: five minutes after I go to bed that day.

      • ZZ says:

        As long as your not Grandma Bex I think you’ll be up. Andrew is right that if their plan is to leak this thing to get the most media attention as I suspect, it will be early enough to get in the papers.

  5. Wodde says:

    Mussina really should have pitched in 2009

  6. rek4gehrig says:

    What the heck is Lee still thinking about?

    • bexarama says:

      Literally filling up a swimming pool with money and rolling around in it.

      • Mike Axisa says:

        Like Scrooge McDuck.

      • radnom says:

        For everyone who was joking yesterday that the RAB DDOS attack was related to Wikileaks you were probably not incorrect.
        As part of the Wikileaks campaign, software for performing such and attack was mass distributed along with detailed instructions on how to use it. Any moron could figure it out. I’m not familiar with RAB’s security measures or server situations but considering how much the site’s performance varies based on the amount of traffic they have at any given time it probably wouldn’t take much to bring it down. So my guess is one (or a couple) really bored people instead of a coordinated group.

    • ZZ says:

      There is no incentive for him to leak his decision this weekend. Best case scenario you make the Yankees or Rangers sweat enough that they bump up their offer. Other benefits of waiting is that he looks like a good guy with all these stories that more time=seriously considering taking less money to stay with the Rangers and he is the center of the media world on Monday.

    • Hughesheretoabuse says:

      I honestly dont understand whats the big deal with the waiting and how it favors Texas…..for all we know, he could be taking his time to find a home in the NJ/NY area, schools, and the cost of living there

  7. ultimate913 says:

    From a Texas Rangers blog:

    incarceratedbob is his Twitter handle

    MLB BREAKING NEWS Source – Has informed IBN that Cliff Lee & especially his “WIFE” rather stay in Texas then take the Yankees money

    Don’t shoot the messenger but he posts on and is pretty credible there.


  8. Mike Axisa says:

    I just realized that I’m covering at MLBTR tomorrow night. Chances are I’ll have to deal with the Cliff Lee shit storm. Yay.

  9. bonestock94 says:


  10. Matt DiBari says:

    One of my absolute all time favorites. I’d to see him return to the Yankees or YES in some capacity.

  11. Wil Nieves #1 Fan says:

    I was thinking about Moose today too, Mike. Funny. And YES aired Mussina’s Yankeeography. Tomorrow please post a picture of Wil Nieves.

  12. JM says:

    It’s pretty sad when I try to have a conversation with my dad about non-Pujols NL players and he barely has heard of them. He knows all of the AL guys, but for whatever reason he basically ignores the NL.

  13. Sal says:

    Gut Feeling; Are we getting Lee?

  14. Wes says:

    Just watched a recorded MLB Hot Stove and they said Lee would be one of the first free agents to ditch the high money in the last fifteen to twenty years. Crazy. They also said they expect Cash to pursue Greinke for what it’s worth (probably not much). But just thinking about the Yanks losing out on a big time FA that they coveted so much would be a big blow to both the fans and the organization.

  15. JM says:

    Cliff Lee said he’s all about the money so the whole “He likes Texas more” has little to no effect. Also, trying to tell the commenters at MLBTR that the tax has nothing to do with this is not even worth trying. I don’t even know why I did.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      Commenting at MLBTR is a bad idea in general. Too many jackasses.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Yeah I tried to educate them on the tax stuff as well. I would have been better off slamming my wiener in a sliding glass door for an hour.

    • ZZ says:

      Don’t be silly JM.

      It was all about the money when the rumors were mystery teams had higher offers. Now that the Yankees have the highest offer, it is no longer all about the money.

    • Kiersten says:

      Cliff Lee has made it perfectly clear to the Indians, Phillies, Mariners, and Rangers that he wants to cash in on his one shot at free agency. That’s what makes me believe he’s going where the money is. The Yankees have the money and the shot at winning, plus he and CC are buddies and Lee has already proved he can handle the pressure of pitching in a big market in the Northeast.

      • Shakshuka says:

        I agree, this whole charade may simply be because he wants to make it seem like he really wants Texas, but NY offered more money and how could I turn it down.

  16. I feel pretty good about CC’s recruiting though. I feel as if CC just does that kind of stuff 10x better than Harrison could for the Rangers. I mean, after all, CC and Lee were team mates much longer than Harrison and Lee.

  17. JM says:

    I’m concerned that Cliff Lee is going to Texas because every little thing that people are saying is either “Yankees aren’t optimistic” and “Lee wants to go back to Texas”. I know the sources are unreliable and vague, but there just doesn’t seem to be one ounce of optimism for the Yankees side of things, regardless if they offered more money.

  18. Teh Comp Pick says:

    If the Yanks can’t get Lee, they should just build a package around Montero for Casey Kelley. Maybe if they do get Lee they should do that too. Montero, Slade, and 2 B’s should get it done.

  19. ChrisR says:

    Something I just remembered, didn’t Cliff Lee also liked Philly and was supposedly working out an extension at the time?

  20. Sal says:

    If we get him it would be kind of a lose-win situation. He may good for 4 of the 7 seasons that he would pitch for us.

  21. YankeeDoodle says:


    MLB Source: Lee tells teammates he will return to Rangers

    Just on ESPNNews

  22. China Joe says:

    Seriously though, there’s a creepy Lebron James vibe settling over all of this. I remember thinking “never would a bigtime free agent take less money to play for a team with shitty fans” and then WHAMMO!

  23. sk says:

    Moose was a class act and one of the best 50 pitchers in the history of baseball. He continues to be a class act in his community today – period

  24. Kiersten says:


    My second favorite Yankee behind Paul O'Neill.

  25. bexarama says:

    I’m just not looking forward to the articles written when this thing is all over.

    Lee to NYY: LOL HAVE FUN WITH THAT CONTRACT IN TWO YEARS (this won’t happen if Texas gets him), Boston is still the favorite, etc.


    • mbonzo says:

      You forgot about the doublemystery.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      I expect titles such as “Money no longer buys happiness for Yankees” if Lee stays with Texas, and “Yanks’ panic move won’t stop loaded Sox” if he signs with New York.

    • Reggie C. says:

      I can deal with the Lee haters if Lee ends up signing.

      What’s the alternative … oh yeah, watching helplessly as Cashman guts the entire system to pry Greinke from the Royals. Seriously, its an absolute institutional disaster in the making if Lee re-ups with the Rangers.

      • Jimmy McNulty says:

        Yeah, there’s plan B…but the plan Bs are decidedly worse. Honestly they’d be better off taking the “…or bust” option.

      • bexarama says:

        It’s never an “absolute institutional disaster” if you miss out on one player.

        • Jimmy McNulty says:

          To be fair, for the Yankees an “absolute institutional disaster” means missing the playoffs or a first round exit and the Red Sox winning the World Series, while you empty the farm on a worse pitcher. Which could easily happen if you miss out on a player of Cliff Lee’s caliber.

          • bexarama says:

            To be fair, for the Yankees an “absolute institutional disaster” means missing the playoffs or a first round exit

            No, I’d think that’d be not making the playoffs for several years.

            and the Red Sox winning the World Series

            Uh, WGAF what another team does after the Yankees are out. Would it be any better if the Rays won? The Blue Jays? My goodness you are obsessed with Boston.

            By your qualifications 2007 was an absolute institutional disaster, but they won the WS two years later. So it clearly didn’t devastate them too badly.

            • Jimmy McNulty says:

              To both you and JGS, the Yankees have higher standards than most teams. When you spend 200M+ a year, and have a stadium with 2300 dollar seats you expect to be one of the two or three best teams in baseball each year. Unrealistic? Yes. Factual? I woud say so. And stop being obtuse, the Red Sox winning the World Series is FAR worse for the fans, maybe not the organization, than any other team winning a World Series. So you’re saying 2010 was a worse year than 2004 or 2007? You’re honestly telling me that these pictures are equally vomit inducing:



              • JGS says:

                When you spend 200M+ a year, and have a stadium with 2300 dollar seats you expect to be one of the two or three best teams in baseball each year

                That’s true, but just because they don’t win the World Series doesn’t mean they weren’t one of the three top teams of the year. Anything can happen in a short series and the playoffs are all about getting hot at the right time. The 2006 Cardinals won 83 games in the regular season, and the 1987 Twins went 29-52 on the road. Both teams won the World Series. Neither were anything resembling the two or three best teams of the year.

                the Red Sox winning the World Series is FAR worse for the fans, maybe not the organization, than any other team winning a World Series. So you’re saying 2010 was a worse year than 2004 or 2007?

                2004 was far worse because Boston went through Yankees to get there in the most gut-wrenching fashion imaginable. In 2007, once the Yankees were eliminated I ceased to give a crap.

                As for 2010, I was actively rooting for the Giants and happy for them when they won (disclaimer: I really can’t stand the Rangers, and that has very little to do with this years ALCS).

                • Jimmy McNulty says:

                  Yeah, 2010 wasn’t a bad year all things considered, I wouldn’t call it a good one, but there were positives along with the negatives. Javy and AJ sucked, but they had a hell of a team that just decided to forget how to swing a bat in October. They made some good additions (Granderson and Melky was addition by subtraction) Phil Hughes showed some potential, the farm had a good year, Gardner gave the team reasons to show faith in him, and Cano had an awesome year.

                  For reasons other than hating Boston, the Red Sox winning the World Series is worse than other teams winning the WS. If they win a WS it shows that the Yankees have very serious sustainable competition. If the Rays win it, that could be bad…if the people in St. Pete allow a new stadium to be built; but the Rays, Os, or Jays don’t have the resources that Boston does. While Theo gets overrated he’s a pretty good GM who tends to make good decisions, and the team is a cash cow. That’s what makes them winning a World Series worse.

                  • AndrewYF says:

                    “I wouldn’t call it a good one”

                    Jesus Christ.

                    • Jimmy McNulty says:

                      A-Rod’s injury and down year, Posada’s injuries, Javier Vazquez, AJ Burnett, Jeter’s down year, Pettitte’s back issues, Gardner’s broken wrist, the offense not showing up at all in October, and Joba’s issues in the bullpen. There were downs to the ups. I’d call it a fair year.

                  • JGS says:

                    For reasons other than hating Boston, the Red Sox winning the World Series is worse than other teams winning the WS. If they win a WS it shows that the Yankees have very serious sustainable competition

                    The Red Sox making the playoffs on a consistent basis is what proves that the Yankees have very serious sustainable competition (and who ever said they didn’t?). Once there, winning the WS or not winning the WS doesn’t make a difference. Every single team in baseball is capable of an 11-5, 11-6 run against good teams.

                    • Jimmy McNulty says:

                      World Series Victory = Increased Revenue. That’s what makes it a problem.

                    • JGS says:

                      Boston has plenty of revenue whether or not they win it all. The WS bonus doesn’t make them any more or less threatening.

                    • Jimmy McNulty says:

                      Really? Wow. I mean, the WS victory gave them the confidence to sign Lowell to a four year deal. I don’t think they bring back Lowell if they didn’t win the Series…while that ended up biting them in the ass, I don’t think tings will always be that way.

                    • JGS says:

                      The increased revenue from the WS was not the difference between being able to afford to resign Lowell and not being able to resign Lowell.

                      And if you think they sign bad contracts with the WS revenue, maybe you should be rooting for them to win ;)

                • AndrewYF says:

                  I was resigned to a Boston WS after the Rockies fluked their way to an improbably NL pennant, so it didn’t really bother me too badly.

                  I was even a little happy for little Jonny Lester, who has become one of my favorite non-Yankees.

              • bexarama says:

                Every team wants to be the best team in baseball every year, I’d think.

                You spun your original “institutional disaster” post as, well, having to do with the institution/the FO. Now you change it to what the fans think? And yes, it does suck significantly more to me when the Red Sox win. But it sucks when any team that is not the Yankees wins. I dunno how the FO looks at it, but was 2006 really less of a disaster/failure/however you want to look at it than 2007? 2004 was pretty clearly an organizational embarrassment but that was a special case.

                Lincecum is pretty gross.

                • Jimmy McNulty says:

                  I’m pretty sure the Royals, Pirates, and Astros would be happy with not finishing in the basement. The Marlins and the Rays would be happy with filling half the stadium every night. Yes, the fans have to do with the institution…the organization is nothing with out the fans. Everyone talks about the resources the Yankees have, but people forget the biggest resource that they have is the most dedicated fanbase in all of sports.

                  Lincecum is pretty gross.

                  This and Cliff Lee’s wife is why I think women shouldn’t have opinions. ;)

          • JGS says:

            means missing the playoffs or a first round exit and the Red Sox winning the World Series


            Nope, 2007 was not an institutional disaster.

            • Jimmy McNulty says:

              2007 was a pretty shitty year…they missed out on Johan Santana, rushed Joba Chamberlain to the bullpen costing him precious development time and missed the playoffs the next year. Oh yeah, Phil Hughes also tweaked a Hammy in the middle of a no hitter. The only reason they were saved is because they had three free agents that they were able to sign to take them to the promised land. (not that I have an issue with that)

              • JGS says:

                Missing out on Johan worked out pretty well I’d say

                The organizational mistake wasn’t in bringing Joba up as a reliever in 2007. The big club needed relievers and he was more than capable. Lots of pitchers start out in the bullpen. The organizational mistake in Joba’s development was keeping him in the bullpen to start 2008.

                Phil’s injury sucked, but hardly constituted an organizational disaster.

                • Jimmy McNulty says:

                  Yeah, I’m glad they missed out on Johan…it’s baseball though, the long term can change quickly. Look at Jose Reyes and Grady Sizemore, long term positives could turn into negatives quickly. Also look at Ryan Dempster he turned into an asset quite quickly too. As far as Joba Chamberlain, the bullpen wasn’t the bad decision. The bullpen in 2007 was a bad decision. He wasn’t exactly a seasoned college pitcher like Tim Lincecum or David Price, he was a fat oft injured college pitcher with mechanics issues and lots of potential. If they let him have a full year of starting in 2007, and let him start in 2008 until August and then moved him to the pen I wouldn’t have an issue with it. The fact that they gave him 80 innings in the minors as a starter is what I have a problem with. The Joba Chamberlain situation was a pretty big hit to the organization.

      • candyforstalin says:

        sorry but i had to laugh at that.

      • Mike Axisa says:

        If they don’t sign Lee, I bet Cash waits until the season to get someone big. He’ll add someone to eat innings in the meantime, but if the Yanks lose out on Lee, every other team knows they’re desperate and instantly jack up the price.

        • AndrewYF says:

          I wonder who they’d spend their money on, if they don’t get Lee? Would it be possible for the Yankee payroll to dip under $200M?

        • Jimmy McNulty says:

          Yeah there’s that too. Cashman and this current ownership seems too smart to not freak out over one rough season. No need in overpaying if you don’t have to. If they miss out on Cliff Lee hopefully Felix Hernandez or something demands a trade around June or something.

    • DJH says:

      Yeah, Plus imagine if the Yanks went out and got Greinke.

      Yanks lose Cliff Lee one of the best postseason pitchers of all time, who has ice in his veins! Then they get a meantal midget who is sure to crumble under pressure, they got no shot to beat the boys in Beantown now!

    • Jimmy McNulty says:

      Then don’t read the articles…it’s not that hard to find sites that will only write pieces that are favorable to the Yankees.

  26. mbonzo says:

    I beginning to hope that the Yankees don’t sign Cliff Lee, since hoping he would sign here has done nothing but make me read hundreds of twitter posts on him going to Southbeach.

  27. ultimate913 says:

    The Yankees should be like the Knicks after the LeBron rejection and have a deal immediately ready and in place for a SP incase(which now seems likely to me) they don’t get Lee.

  28. James A says:

    I think Cliff may be waiting to try and get the Yankees to panic and boost their offer, but in my opinion they should if its the difference between getting him or not. It’s not that Lee is necessarily worth it, though he is really really good, its just the holes in their rotation and the dropoff in options after him. I say Cashman flies down to Arkansas, gives him the Godfather offer of 7-175, and we wrap this thing off. This is a guy who has a 2.98 ERA and K/BB of over 5 for the last 3 years, and has dominated the playoffs. No more messing around, lets give him an offer he cant refuse.

    • “I say Cashman flies down to Arkansas, gives him the Godfather offer of 7-175, and we wrap this thing off.”

      Maybe Cashman should just bring the Godfather with him when negotiating a deal with Lee. Have Lee sit on a chair with the contract right in front of him, and the Godfather staring down behind Lee’s shoulder.

      • mbonzo says:

        I think if Cashman doesn’t hear from him by next week he’ll offer him a better contract in total dollars and give him an ultimatum.

    • AndrewYF says:

      If this were the case, and Lee were simply waiting on the Yankees to boost their offer before he accepts it, why in the world would the Yankees do it, if Lee’s only desire was to get the most money? They’re already offering the most money.

  29. mbonzo says:

    I really don’t get what he would like so much about Texas

    -Taxes are cheaper, but its minimal considering he only has to claim on home games and will probablly claim residency somewhere else. Yankees have 25% of total mlb market revenue while the Rangers have about 7-8%. Thats should translate to 3x the endorsements.

    -Rangers have younger players. Yea, younger players who they won’t be able to afford in 2 years because of Lee’s contract. Do you really expect half the 2010 players to be there in 2013? Their farm system rules, but they’re gonna have to trade away a lot of that talent to keep up with losing their young stars.

    -Proximity, what a load of bs. Living 5.5 hours to your house does not mean you live close. If Lee lived in West Virginia would the media be saying he might choose NY because he lives so close to NY.

    Thats really all the the Rangers have that NY doesn’t. I’ve heard he can’t hunt in NY… these people seriously don’t understand geography do they? Yankees have the advantage of money, chances of winnings, years, and being with his and his families’ “best” friends, the Sabathia family. He was ready to buy CC’s neighbors house in July before the Yankees trade fell apart, and now, 5 months later, people are forgetting how quickly he wanted to move to NY. Steinbrenner was right, it should behoove Lee to be a Yankee. He said him and CC always talked about winning a WS together, he wouldn’t throw away all his money and dreams to take a chance in Texas.

    • Tom Zig says:

      Yeah the whole “you can’t hunt in NY” is a load of crap. You just can’t hunt in NYC.

    • ZZ says:

      People with Lee’s financial worth don’t travel long distances by car.

    • China Joe says:

      Don’t forget, if Hamilton gets hurt again, and he’s been hurt most of his career, then the Rangers are all-but-sunk. And if the Cowboys are halfway decent than nobody will care about baseball.

      • mbonzo says:

        Hamiltons a free agent in 2013. Don’t think he’ll be a Ranger in 2013 is they sign Lee.

        • It'sATarp says:

          i don’t think the Rangers are thinking that far ahead….Honestly they seem too high on themselves after the WS run where everything fell in their favor…

        • Jimmy McNulty says:

          He’s kinda injury prone…I’m not sure the Rangers would want him in three years.

        • matt says:

          Wilson, Hamilton and Cruz all are gonna need to be paid relatively soon. If TX goes 7 for Lee, you assume they’re letting CJ walk, certainly letting Vlad walk, most likely trying to move Young. Hamilton will command a huge deal, Cruz still has his arb years, but he’s going to get very expensive very quickly, TX would be wise to let Lee walk and re-up with Cruz now, see if you can buy out some of those free agent years. Nice team, to me, beyond Cliff, Hamilton and Cruz are the guys who give it even a prayer of being special.

          TX can let Lee walk and still easily win that division, esp. with Anaheim going oh for the world again. Then maybe they have the flexibility to re-up with CJ and Hamilton and get creative with Cruz, while using a good farm prior to the ’12 season to acquire a good cost-controlled starter. It’s really by far the better long term plan for them.

          • It'sATarp says:

            my feelings exactly. The Rangers won w/o Lee but suddenly they make him out to the need all pitcher b/c of what he did int he post season. It’s not the case. By signing a huge deal for Lee might affect them in the future when they actually will need to start paying for their young players. And when they happen they might realize maybe all that money for one guy isn’t such a great idea for a small/medium market club. Then when thye realize they don’t have enough money to go around…the Team “built around” Lee the 30+ year old will start to fall apart

            Also Fangraphs noted that Lee in Arlington showed increase in HR/9, HR per FB yet his BABIP remained relatively the same.…Rangers like i said before right now are thinking with their gut being overconfident and high off that play off run rather than with their heads.

  30. It'sATarp says:

    I hope Lee is taking this long because he needs to packs his bags and pick out a house in NY….okay but seriously i think Lee stays in texas b/c of the 6 years + option deal that Texas rolled out in desperation. And i honestly hope that contracts bites them in the ass like Arod’s since Lee will consists 25% of their payroll if he signs.

    • AndrewYF says:

      I don’t, I like Texas as an actual good team in the AL West. It was getting tiring hearing all the ‘Angels are a model franchise’ bullshit, just because they had zero competition.

      • It'sATarp says:

        Nolan Ryan and co annoys the living shit out of me. They seem overly cocky for a franchise with one good season under the belt.

  31. EndlessMike says:

    the only way Mussina will get to the hall of fame is by buying a ticket to see Marioano Rivera induction ceremony.

    • Nah, Moose gets in because he was one of the best pitchers of his day.

    • China Joe says:

      What? Considering the era he pitched in, Moose stacks up with the best of his generation, just a notch below the Maddux-Pedro-Johnson level. I think he matches up well with Glavine, and Glavin will be in the Hall because he stuck around for 300 wins

      • Glavine is so overrated it’s not even funny. Moose is pretty damn underrated and he deserves his shot at enshrinement.

      • Steve H says:

        I think he’s significantly better than Glavine. If you went back to the beginning of their careers and swapped places, there’s no way Moose doesn’t end up with 300+ wins. Close to 20 years in the NL on good teams as opposed to close to 20 years in the the AL BEast, for half of it on the Orioles getting to face both the Sox and the Yankees. Glavine in the AL East would have been done a lot sooner, Moose would have dominated even more in the NL.

      • China Joe says:

        yea, I’d take him over Glavine any day of the week…I meant that Glavine will be in because of the wins, and if they take Glavine than they would have to take Moose. His case matches up well.

    • JGS says:

      Barometer time:

      Do you think Andy Pettitte deserves to be in the Hall of Fame?

    • Kiersten says:

      Moose will get in. Sadly, I think without that 20-win season in 2008, he wouldn’t. So good for him that he got it.

  32. ChrisR says:

    If Moose was inducted, which hat will he be wearing?

  33. China Joe says:

    One thing about Mussina that I always found a bit tragic: he was at his best, I think, in the 97 playoffs and the 2004 playoffs. In 97 he set the American league playoff strikeout record and still lost, in 2004 he had John Lieber and 3 corpses behind him and the Yankees still almost made the WS.

  34. mbonzo says:

    The Yankee heard Lee loves hunting Moose so they’re offering upping their offering and including Musinna in their 7 year contract.

  35. matt says:

    Cliff Lee has had an awful lot of opportunities during this process to signal that his preference would be return to TX – and frankly if that’s what he actually wanted, it would have absolutely been in his interest to have overtly availed himself of some of those opportunities, at least subtly, if for no other reason than to see how high the Yanks would go. On the contrary, he’s availed himself of none of those opportunities.

    I’ll be the first to take an awful long walk of shame if I’m wrong, but as someone who (allegedly) negotiates for a living, first as a finance attorney, now as a banker (yeah, that gives me absolutely no special insight into this situation, but hey, you actually need to bring a little ego to maximize negotiating leverage), the single most meaningful moment of these negotiations was Lee’s being unwilling to meet Texas’s request that he just flat out let them know the terms under which he’d sign with them. If there was ever going to be a point where any iota of a preference to go back to TX was in evidence, it would have been then – at minimum, he could’ve said 7/161, or something along the lines of what most rational folks believe is the highest the Yanks will go. He could have maintained virtually all of his leverage while at the same time greatly facilitating Texas’s ability to put together a proposal that might be workable in short order.

    Instead, it took his agent literally three seconds to shoot down the Rangers’ request in that sense and to just instruct them to make their best offer in a vacuum. Basically a blind auction. Sometimes people get so lost in the intricacies and conspiracies surrounding a negotiation that they fail to consider that the most obviously evidenced position is the real position. Lee has never wavered from the position that he wants all interested clubs to give him their best offers without that offer being at all informed by any stated demands/desired parameters from the Lee Camp (at least as far as we know).

    Read: he’s going to take the best offer, period. And unless it’s the Yanks that decide to walk away from seven years, the Yanks offer will be the best offer. The income tax savings are not nearly as cut and dry as folks often think and TX isn’t going to be able to go both the years and the AAV of CC’s deal – they may get to seven years somehow, with vesting options, backloading (read: less present value, which is an inherently inferior offer assuming a non-deflationary environment), etc. I don’t have any idea as to the reliability of the rumored 5/100 that TX was reportedly using as a base for its menu of options, but categorically, they can’t get from 5/100 to a straight 7/161, which is the CC deal and which I think is what the Yanks will top off with and in the process get their guy.

    Whether it’s a good deal is obviously a separate question (I’d argue all things considered, it’s a deal that needs to be made and should be made).

    CC was a guy who I thought might really take less to stay on the west coast. Literally every word that’s come out of Cliff Lee’s mouth, and out of the mouth of his agent makes it pretty evident that the overriding objective is, in his first and perhaps only, shot at a mega free agent deal, he’s taking the cash and taking his turn in the spotlight.

    Not to mention, it was reported by at least two reputable sources (Sherman being one, and while he may be a hack as a columnist, he’s an outstanding reporter, he was all over the Lee trade), that Cliff was furious at Jack Z. for bailing on the NY deal and shipping him to TX. Mrs. Lee was already in town looking at houses with Amber Sabathia. Not like the dude’s got any special connection to Texas anyway. BTW, that might have been different if TX had won the series or if Lee had pitched as well against the Giants as in the AL playoffs. I can see walking away from a club you’ve just carried to their ever world title, earning you permanent legend status, for one of the clubs you eliminated along the way, as awfully tricky. So thank you San Francisco. I’m sure Nolan Ryan’s a prince of a guy, but you don’t make a business decision based on his being the front man for the Greenberg ownership group. Not as if Cliff’s gonna be just hopping in the car and driving to Arkansas either, he’s going private jet, and he’ll get there more or less as quickly from NY as he would from TX. Not to mention, yeah TX happened to play a hell of an ALCS (while the Yanks played remarkably poorly), and they’re a nice club, (but remember, CJ, Hamilton and Cruz are gonna have to get paid soon too) but the Yanks are obviously the odds on favorite to be the better club over the life of the deal, he’s well suited for YSII, and I can’t imagine that his panacea is really working 8 innings each turn through in 110 degree heat in a hitter’s park.

    Maybe I’m dead wrong, lord knows it’s happened before. But I think Lee’s been picturing his pinstripes since the last out of the World Series and I’d be shocked if the deal doesn’t get done – unless somehow the Yanks decide they can’t go seven years.

    • mbonzo says:

      I totally agree. I really think if the media had no word in all of this, it would be obvious the Yankees are the favorites with the bigger offer and his past with Sabathia. They really want this to be an interesting event though, so they make it sound like he’s on the fence between the two sides. I see this all the time in politics. In 2008 it was clear 2 months before the election that Obama would beat McCain but up until election night the media said it was undecided. Its typical entertainment, if you want real analysis listen to matt. I actually think Jon Heyman has done a good job of analyzing everything so far, unlike the other writers making the most ridiculous speculations.

      • Anthony Murillo says:

        I honestly believe that Cliff Lee is hoping and praying that the Texas Rangers offer him a better deal than what the Yankees have offered him. Judging by what we know, the Yankees have offered him the best contract. He’s obviously hoping the Rangers can offer him what the Yankees have and if they do, he’ll accept.


        • mbonzo says:

          You’re one flaw is thats not obvious. The Rangers made the best offer a long time ago and he didn’t accept, he waited for the Yankees. And its been back and forth ever since. You think the best offers are on the table but we don’t even know what offers are there. The numbers could be exactly the same for all we know. He’s using time to figure this out, and he’s gonna wait long enough to ask the team he wants to go to for a little bit extra to get the deal done. Same thing happened with Tex. Mike and Joe mentioned on their RAB show that if Lee asks them for a million more a year, they’re probably gonna do it just to get this over with. The longer he waits, the more likely the team will do it. This wait has changed nothing about who’s more likely to sign Lee.

          • StatBoy says:

            The entire argument was that Cliff Lee is going to take the largest offer. It is extremely likely (but not certain) that said offer will be made by the Yankees, but if the Rangers make the largest offer and he takes it then it doesn’t make the argument wrong.

            At this point it’s safe to assume that he wants the most money and the evidence of this dates way back to last winter and the Roy Halladay trade. The Phillies traded Cliff Lee and a big reason for that was that they could not agree with him on a below-market extension and decided they’d trade for Halladay and extend him. Cliff Lee has said from the beginning he wants to hit the open market. That sounds to me like somebody whose main goal is to get as much money as possible regardless of who it’s coming from.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      This post has renewed my Lee-related optimism. Well done, and thanks.

      • James A says:

        Fully agreed. although this isnt from a media source, this is the most well written and thought out take i’ve seen yet and I will sleep more soundly tonight because of it. Although I do agree that at the end of the day, none of us really know. we can only feel optimistic

    • Moshe Mandel says:

      This may be the most lucid, well reasoned comment in the history of RAB. Even if you end up being wrong, this is an accurate reading of the situation unclouded by the assumption that Lee loves Texas despite his never actually saying anything to that end. Bravo.

    • bexarama says:

      This is a really excellent comment, and even if he does end up staying in Texas I think you’ve hit every point and analyzed it really, really well.

      (And from a commenter with a first name only male handle! I am especially impressed. ;) )

    • JGS says:

      Very well said

      ::stands and applauds::

    • “If there was ever going to be a point where any iota of a preference to go back to TX was in evidence, it would have been then – at minimum, he could’ve said 7/161, or something along the lines of what most rational folks believe is the highest the Yanks will go. He could have maintained virtually all of his leverage while at the same time greatly facilitating Texas’s ability to put together a proposal that might be workable in short order.”

      I love this kind of conversation (I have a similar professional background to yours, sure that has something to do with it). I have one idea that runs a bit counter to your idea…

      Yes, if he wanted to go to TX he could have just told them what it would take to sign him. But, on the other hand, if he told them “it’ll take 7/$161,” like you said, and they said no, he might have lost out on his real preference. If he really does want Texas, but wants them to make their best offer possible, then telling them a number is maybe not what he should have done.

      It’s like when people constantly say things like “make him an offer and give him a tight time-deadline to respond, force him to make a choice!” What they miss when they say that is that if your goal is to get the guy, then it’s not in your best interest to put an ultimatum on the situation and raise the chances the guy won’t sign with you. I think Lee might have created a similar dynamic if he had acceded to Ryan’s request that he let Texas know what it would take to sign him. What if the number he gave to Texas was too high for Texas, and they said no, but he actually wanted to sign there? He would have acted against his best interest and shot himself in the foot a bit, if that had happened. Additionally, if he knows they can’t match that number, it is in his best interest to let Texas bid up to whatever their best off would be, before making his decision. If, at the end of the day, he wants to go back to Texas, he should put them in a situation in which they have to continue bidding and get to as high a number as they can go… Which looks like exactly what he did.

      (I’m not saying he wants to go back to Texas or that he has signalled so, just getting that out there before anyone jumps on this comment. I just don’t necessarily think that his failure to play by Texas’s rules when they asked him for a number is evidence that he doesn’t want to go there. I think it’s just evidence that he wants everyone to give him their best number possible before he makes his decision.)

      • And to put it another way, as I’m still thinking about this… I just don’t think you can use his failure to make an offer to Texas, as Texas requested, to say “well he could have signaled an interest in Texas by giving them a number,” because it’s not in his best interest to have done so even if Texas is his top choice. Not sure if I made that clear above, but that’s what I was trying to get at.

    • Jerome S says:

      I do believe that I am in love.

    • This made me braingasm.

    • ultimate913 says:

      There were a few words in here I couldn’t understand, but you just won yourself an internet.

      Very well done, sir.

    • Tucker says:

      I completely agree. Good stuff. I’d like to add that for the past two years, Cliff Lee has been pretty much the only thing standing between the Yankees and the world series (difference between ’09 and ’10 is that the Rangers had better pitching depth than PHI). He could see going to New York as a chance to join two of the best in the post-season together against everyone else.

    • Greg G. says:


      I just want to echo what others have said…this is a fabulous post. Should there be a HOF for RAB posts, this should be inducted on the first ballot! :-)

      Greg G.

    • Wayne says:

      Matt’s post is very well written, but his logic is at best fatuous when it comes to the following statement:

      “If there was ever going to be a point where any iota of a preference to go back to TX was in evidence, it would have been then – at minimum, he could’ve said 7/161, or something along the lines of what most rational folks believe is the highest the Yanks will go. He could have maintained virtually all of his leverage . . .”

      And what would have happened to Lee’s leverage if Texas responded by saying something like this?

      “7/161 is insane; that’s way beyond our budget limitations. Thanks for your contributions in 2010 and good luck in the future, but we’d rather trade for Greinke than pay 25% of our budget to one player.”

      That would have left Lee with only one serious option: the Yankees. And all of his negotiating leverage over the Yankees would have been gone once Texas pulled out of the negotiations. The Yankees only raised their offer(s) to Lee because Texas stayed in the bidding.

      Lee’s agent did the only smart thing when he rejected “Texas’s request that he just flat out let them know the terms under which he’d sign with them.” The bidding for Lee has gotten financially absurd precisely because Lee’s agent kept the two major players in play (i.e., the Yankees and Rangers). Had one dropped out, Lee’s leverage would have gone out the proverbial window.

      Having said the above, I’m afraid we’re going to loose out on Lee. I just have a bad vibe about this. I hope I’m wrong because I think we have very little chance of overtaking Boston in 2011 (given their recent moves) if we don’t sign Lee.

      I currently don’t see any trade scenarios on the market that would put us over the top, unless Cashman could pull off something unbelievable like getting King Felix. Greinke, unfortunately, would likely end up being another Aj head-case in New York: great one start and awful the next two starts.

      • “That would have left Lee with only one serious option: the Yankees. And all of his negotiating leverage over the Yankees would have been gone once Texas pulled out of the negotiations. The Yankees only raised their offer(s) to Lee because Texas stayed in the bidding.”

        Yup. I think it was a good post, but I think that for the reasons Wayne and and I stated above matt was a little bit off in his analysis. Even if Texas is Lee’s top choice he would have done the same thing regarding Texas’s request that Lee let them know what it would take to sign him, his failure to submit a number to Texas really doesn’t tell us anything on that front (and at the very least doesn’t tell us what matt implied it tells us).

        • matt says:

          Thanks for all the kind comments, though I do agree with you, Mondesi, to an extent and always respect your thinking. First, while there are always leaks, the incentives here very much align for both Lee and TX to keep a very tight lid on any “here’s what it’s going to take to get me” number if such number isn’t really in Lee’s ballpark. Lee has no incentive to leak that offer, because then, as noted, the Yanks are just bidding against themselves. TX has no incentive either, they’re in a much better position allowing the Yanks to believe they may have made a comparable or perhaps even superior offer, if nothing else to drive up the price, but also in that even if TX wasn’t initially ballpark, there’s no need to close the door, sever the relationship just yet. E.G., in some hypothetical world, maybe the Yanks see his medicals on the back and get cold feet over seven years, maybe Mrs. Lee really was so egregiously offended by a couple fans that she’s driving this train to Texas even if it’s an inferior deal. Everybody is operating with incomplete information but I’d suggest that the info that is available is much more credible as to the parameters of what the Yanks can offer – they may not want to, but they quite clearly can offer a straight 7/161, no vesting options, no backloading, no getting creative, in fact with CC they actually paid him a lump sum signing bonus which increased the present value of that deal. Taking into account literally everything I’ve read, no matter how much I trust it, as well as my own judgment, my guess is that TX very badly wanted to stick at five guaranteed years but may well have ponied up a sixth guaranteed, but I’d be truly shocked if they can do 6 at 23m/per, let alone 7. I actually thought TX offering 5/100 was pretty decently impressive and if they did tack on the extra year, I just can’t see it being more than 6/120; maybe there’s some kind of vesting option that can get him a 7th guaranteed; maybe they’re backloading to a significant extent and trying to fool people into thinking that seven guaranteed years at a total value of say 165m, but with 65m of that money being paid out in years 7-10 or 7-12 is actually a more valuable package, with a higher AAV. Of course, that’s simply silly and one suspects that Lee’s agent, who’s frankly handled this like an absolute champ – not a single misstep yet, so far as I’m concerned – is gonna pick right up on that.

          Maybe I should have phrased the argument in the sense that Lee has not lifted a finger to indicate even 0.1% inclination to take a lesser deal from the Rangers. Mondesi is absolutely right, that’d it be foolish to give those kinds of indicators publicly, but as between Lee and TX privately (and we don’t know that this didn’t happen), if you accept the premise that the parameters of where the Yanks are likely to max out are probably better defined at this stage than in the case of TX, if Lee’s trying to navigate this thing so he gets back to TX he could have internally greased those wheels by giving TX a number, even if such number is higher than where anyone expects the Yanks to go. Handled with discretion, Lee could’ve thrown TX a tiny bit of an informational advantage without sacrificing considerable leverage had he so chosen.

          It seems obvious to me that they’re running a straight blind auction. Highest bidder wins. No statement or action Lee and his team have ever spoken or taken suggests that Lee’s taking a discount from anybody. If ever there’s been a player who has so overtly eliminated any trace of sentimentality from the process and consistently positioned himself as primed to just take the largest offer, I haven’t seen him. Now, that might just mean that Cliff Lee and his agent are just unbelievably shrewd. Like out of this world disciplined. But no one’s yet shown me any facts that suggest that Lee has some special affinity for the Rangers. He was there half a year and it wasn’t where he wanted to be sent. Absolutely, it’s a special thing to lead a club to its first postseason wins and to have eliminated the Yanks. But even assuming that he’s not just a straight mercenary, Lee’s now 0-2 in the World Series and if he’s as shrewd as he appears, he knows that TX can’t pay him while simultaneously paying the other guys that that club needs to be not just pretty good, but potentially special. Granted, the path to the postseason is going to be easier out of the west, but it’s tough to objectively argue, ALCS duly noted, that TX is even better than the Yanks now, let alone project as better over the next seven years.

          BTW, I’ve cut my ALCS rant out, this is already a book, but really the upshot was that the Yanks didn’t hit, TX had an insanely high .babip, Colby dominated both Lewis-Hughes games and frankly, Joe Girardi mismanaged egregiously in the sixth inning of game 4 and in the top of the 5th and onward in game 6. So egregiously that I literally worried (coupled with the fact that physically, he didn’t look like he knew where he was or what he was doing in game 6, particularly the Hughes mound visit after he threw away the IBB) if he had just completely frozen. I’m talking stuff Joe T, who I was more than glad to send on his way, would have done in his sleep. Say what you will about what Joe Torre, but with the sole exception of game 4 of the ALDS at DET in ’06, he understood the concept of an elimination game. Joe T essentially retired Roger Clemens twice to win elimination games; he didn’t dick around even with guys he trusted (e.g., Mussina, game 5 at ANH, ’05, though if you ask me Joe should have gone to Randy a few batters earlier; but Bubba Crosby taking out Sheff wasn’t on Moose nor easily anticipated; see also Game 4, ’07, v. Cleveland, no hesitation in getting his ace, Wang, 4 outs into the game). But I digress.

          Mondesi, always enjoy your posts, man, it’s a pleasure. Probably if I had it over again, I’d just go with, all the evidence we have suggests Lee will take the most valuable package and all the evidence we have suggests that the Yanks are better positioned to offer that package. But what I absolutely see a complete absence of is some kind of soul searching, some deep love for the Rangers tearing at Cliff. To the extent personal stuff factors in at all, all I know to be fact is that Cliff and CC are buddies, their wives are buddies and the wives have already house hunted in the area. My understanding is that while not close friends, that Cliff and Andy also like each other a lot. Whose to say the sentimental draw isn’t a chance to front a staff of three sick lefty amigos? That’s at least speculation grounded in some tiny modicum of potential fact.

          Thanks again for all the responses.

          • (I’m running out the door but I want to take a look at this comment later and get back to you, just wanted to give you a heads-up in case you want to check back in… If I have the time and have anything to add I’ll come back later. Take it easy.)

            • matt says:

              you also man, fwiw, I think Sherman pegs this nearly perfeclty in his latest series of tweets (reproduced only in part, except for “feeling the pessimism”, look maybe they don’t do the deal, but I still don’t see where this negativity is rooted in any kind of fact; if he signs tonight, he’ll have taken like five days longer than it took CC, one would think he’s been dicking around for months. And given my belief that he’s signed, sealed and delivered to the highest bidder, I see the extra time as just more evidence that he knows he’s going to NY but doesn’t want to leave even a drop of leverage on the table. Good for him, Braunecker (sp?) has blown me away in his handling of these negotiations Eerie how such a different approach than what Boras would have rolled with is going to yield probably an identical result. Either of those guys can represent me any day Does Braunecker still represent AJ by the way? I hadn’t even considered that, the possibility of there being a relationship there, but no idea if he stayed with AJ after the Toronto deal.


              # Based on gut, not reporting, I think Lee camp has used time expertly to discomfort #Yankees, get edgy to 1 last time up offer, seal deal about 4 hours ago via ÜberTwitter

              # @KeithOlbermann feel the pessimism, too. But everyone talked to in July said Lee was jacked for Yanks when looked like getting traded there about 5 hours ago via ÜberTwitter

              # Think Heyman has just right, everything I hear #Yankees at 7 yrs, #Rangers 6 for Lee. Big $ gap, but Lee still weighing both offers

              # @ricksass Fans. I see patience Lee camp has shown as good negotiating tactic plus nothing wrong with taking time for such important decision

              I think Cash’s categorical (to the extent he’s allowed to make categorical statements – “we will not negotiate with Alex if he opts out” – though so long as Hal keeps Hank with the horses, I think he can – statement to the effect that the Yanks will not increase their offer is most likely rooted in his knowledge that NY’s offer has Texas blown out of the water and it’s time to sign. One could certainly read it the other way and I sure would like to know which unnamed Yankee personnel believe their shot at doing this deal is 50-50.

              My take: Lee signs with the Yanks within the next 24 hours for a virtual replica of the CC deal, 7/160 give or take, with maybe a little wrinkle like going to 7/165 to make it the highest AAV pitching contract, but without the Sabathia signing bonus. Also think their will be a player opt out after year three and while economically, of course, those really do redound solely to the benefit of the player, hence their design, it wouldn’t faze me here for a second because I know for damn sure that the Yanks need Cliff Lee the next couple years but I don’t know that they’ll need him in years 4-7 and in the highly unlikely event that some other club wants to pony up, or Lee gets stupid and opts out thinking the Yanks will give him a raise despite no other competitive bids (only Hank S. does those deals), the situation may well be such where the Yanks would gladly wave goodbye. I’m in the camp that actually thinks it’s more or less a decent deal anyway, I think Cliff is that good and profiles to age extremely well – I just want that back gone over 100 times. And if things fall just right, it may be a good long time before the Yanks need to pony up these kinds of megadeals for starters, CC, Cliff and Phil should be mainstays, I think they badly need Andy back for one last hurrah and I also firmly believe that AJ will revert upward to essentially a league average back of rotation guy, if someone can’t at least get him to the level of being a great #5 going forward, something’s very wrong. But really that front three buys the club plenty of time to fill out the back end with cost controlled options.

              And my gosh, for a smart dude is Brian Cashman really so foolish as to not only declare Joba the starter DOA, but to do so just so Joba can be a low-leverage middle reliever. Maybe, maybe, it’s a different story if the dude’s closing, but that spot’s pretty well spoken for and if somehow the club misses on Lee or Petrite it’s just batshit insane not to put him firmly in the rotation on day one of camp. My gosh, if anything just to get his value back to where you might even get a good utility guy for him. I digress again haha. This is me really really not wanting to spread statistics for trading comps tonight, I need one day without Excel.

              • Just stopping in again since I said I would, but unfortunately I just don’t have the energy necessary to read all this and respond again. I’m just tired/burned out on C.Lee convo/not motivated enough to read all this. Pitchers/catchers can’t report soon enough, huh.

    • Jonathan says:

      Excellent points, Matt.

      In Texas hold-em if you know you are holding the winning cards it is in your best interest for the other guy to bet.

      This is why I believe he turned down the offer to name the terms. I believe he wants to pitch for Texas but want Yankee type money.

  36. China Joe says:

    My favorite Mussina story: My 72 year old grandma came in while we were watching one of his starts, and he had a runner on first and did his patented bend-over-look-at-first stretch move, and grandma says, “That pitcher has a nice rear end…not like most pitchers, they usually have a big ol ass.”

  37. mbonzo says:

    Guys and gals, post who you think Cliff Lee will go to and your percent of confidence. I want to get an idea of what the average RABer thinks so far. I’ll average it all out in the end.

  38. Jerome S says:

    Where’d TJSC go? I feel like he hasn’t been here in a while…


  39. Cliff Lee: The Winner Finishes Second

    At this point, I’d recommend that both fans start rooting for the other side, as the ‘winning’ the Cliff Lee sweepstakes has all the makings of a classic Pyrrhic victory.

    The age aspect of any deal is easy to see, as no matter the length, Lee will be well into the downside of his career during the latter part of the contract. The bigger risk is simply Lee himself. It’s easy to forget that this is a pitcher just three years removed from pitching his way back to the minor leagues, with the Indians trading him away as much of over the risk of him declining as to his potential price tag.

    And there is simply Lee the pitcher. Even the great version of Lee is succeeding mostly on nearly super-natural command. While his pure stuff is far too good to be classified solely as a finesse arm, it’s hardly the arsenal of a power pitcher, and to be the Cy Young-level pitcher, he can afford no degradation in his ability to not only throw strikes, but to place his pitches nearly perfectly in the zone. When that’s not happening, Lee falls from elite to very hittable, with game one of last year’s World Series serving as our most recent exhibit. The chances of Lee being the pitcher he’s been over the last few seasons two years from now are slim, four years from now, tiny, and six years from now? Unfathomable.


    I’d agree with all of this, except for the fact that if the Yanks miss out on Lee and Andy retires, then Ivan Nova is our #4 and the next two guys on the depth chart are David Phelps and Hector Noesi. Hello Joba the starter part duex.

    • Jerome S says:

      7 year contract = high risk/ high reward. Someone’s gotta do it, and for the Rangers it could equal either a)the beginnings of a dynasty or b) the beginning of another hellish decade. For the Yanks it’s a)a dynasty or b)another absorbable albatross.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      I like the analysis and I agree. I hope the offer for 7 years has a significant cut in AAV or is extremely frontloaded.

    • bonestock94 says:

      “It’s easy to forget that this is a pitcher just three years removed from pitching his way back to the minor leagues, with the Indians trading him away as much of over the risk of him declining as to his potential price tag.”

      I’d be lying if I said this doesn’t loom large in my head. I still much prefer signing Lee to losing top prospects though.

      • Steve H says:

        You could have said the same thing about Halladay once upon a time too. Granted Halladay was younger, but Lee certainly good be (and appears to be) a late bloomer.

        • bonestock94 says:

          Yea, theres just always that tinge of paranoia. The fact that its “only” 3 years away makes you wonder sometimes. His whole repertoire has changed though, his pitch selection is pretty different.

    • Kiersten says:

      “When Lee is pitching well, he’s unhittable, when he’s missing his spots, he sucks.”

      Um pretty sure this is true of any pitcher that’s ever pitched.

      • bonestock94 says:

        Not sure if that quote is valid in Lee’s case, but theres definitely pitchers that are like an on/off switch and others that labor through mediocre starts and manage to keep the opposition’s score reasonable.

      • Bingo. As if power pitchers like Roger Clemens and AJ Burnett never get hit hard.

      • JobaWockeeZ says:

        Some pitchers can make up bad command with good stuff. Like CC or Price. Lee doesn’t have that overpowering stuff which explains his relatively low K rate. Article didn’t word it right but perhaps ‘Lee relies more on great command with not as great pure stuff.

  40. Steve H says:

    If you could sign Lee to a 1 year deal with team options in perpetuity, how many would do you think you would end up excersising?

  41. Incarcerated Bob just tweeted that Lee’s lemon pound cake really sucks.

    I think he means Sarah.

  42. King Yankees says:

    Moose is my favorite player of all time.

  43. TJ says:

    If Lee signs the bigger issue becomes what to do With AJ and will Pettitte return. Both make up 2 of the potential 5 starters. Lee doesn’t solve all the problems. Not getting him leaves 3 spots that are problems potentially. Even if Pettitte returns can we really assume that he won’t see the DL at all? The pitching problems are deeper than just Lee.

    Also the bullpen still has no reliable 8th inning set up to mo. The pen is very weak.

    It might be better if Lee stays in Texas and the Yanks can use the money to bring in a better overall number of arm rather than overpay for an elite arm.

    • Well, there’s always Scott Dow…ooooh sorrry.

    • Steve H says:

      They only have 25 rosters spots. Most of them are filled, so you can’t just sign a ton of relievers and see which ones work out. The Yankees have good arms in the pen and good reserves in the minors, which is all you can ask for. Teams that build the bullpen through free agency usually fail due to the nature of relievers.

    • Xstar7 says:

      But if we don’t sign lee we’ll get pummeled by Bostons lineup made up entirely of future first ballot hall of famers.

    • Sean C says:

      The bullpen’s fine. We don’t need a Soriano, et al. type A free agent for the bullpen. It’s insanity. Don’t be surprised if Cashman takes a chance on another CHoP or trade during the season. This has been his M.O. for a few seasons. How many more Marte’s does it take to realize signing a big name reliever for several years is, usually, a bad idea.

  44. King Yankees says:

    Not that it matters now, but why would Crawford be the Plan B if we had missed out on Lee? Most people would agree that Crawford would not be worth the extra $15+ million over Gardner, and why would that change if Lee was not signed? They’re two completely different players: a superstar outfielder and a superstar pitcher. I know the Yankees have money, and a lot of it, but if they had really gone strong after Crawford in the event that Lee went to Texas, that would have seemed like spending money for the sake of spending money.

  45. mbonzo says:

    Here is out Cliff Lee confidence poll so far.

    Keep posting your confidence if you haven’t yet.

    • Call me crazy, but isn’t a post largely made up of Yankee fans sort of . . ummm . . . unscientific?

    • Sean C says:

      Yankees: 60%.

      I don’t feel great about the Yankees’ chances of signing Lee, but I feel that we can offer/have offered the better deal to him. From a pure money perspective, I favor the Yanks. All of this other speculative nonsense is white noise as far as I’m concerned. I’m sick of it, and I just want Lee to sign somewhere so everyone involved can move on.

      Ok, my rant is finished.

  46. I need a post idea for tomorrow morning.

  47. TJ says:

    Here are some potential free agents to consider if Yanks do or don’t get Lee and/or Pettitte retires:

    Chris Young
    Jeff Francis
    Freddy Garcia

    Those are at least veteran arms that wont cost any young talent. Probably they will come cheap. Some have injuries and might be cheap gambles.

    Isn’t it a reasonable plan B to grab a couple of these arms, keep the young talent, and/or give Mitre/Nova/etc a chance at the 5th spot.

    Rotation with lee

    Pettitte? OR One of the FA’s above to the fifth spot or Nova
    AJ 4th if Pettitte Retires

    Then the pen? Do the Yanks really have money to upgrade the pen if Lee signs?

  48. Big Bertha says:

    It don’t matter who we get, if it ain’t Cliff Lee we ain’t getting to the WS or maybe even the playoffs. We wouldn’t be better than Texas and we wouldn’t be better than Boston. Just like last year was determined by where Cliff Lee went, this year will be too. If we don’t get Lee, it’s over.

  49. China Joe says:

    If we don’t get Lee, how about turning Jeter into a starter:
    -he throws fairly hard
    -he’s under team control for at least 3 years
    -you don’t have to worry about his diminished range
    -you don’t have to worry about his diminshed bat
    -he’s a proven winner!!!1!! and for a pitcher, wins are all that matters!11!!1!

  50. TJ says:

    My guess is that we know tomorrow who Lee Picks. If he stays in TX and Pettitte retires, WOW! Hughes becomes our Number Two with headcase AJ at #3. Potentially Headcase Grienke somewhere in there. No fifth, maybe no bullpen help. A rookie Catcher or an injury prone version of Cervelli. A fading DH. A left side of the infield that are both overpaid and fading. A CF that can’t hit lefties. A LFer that’s solid at the bottom of the lineup.

    And Cashman is somehow a good GM?

    • mbonzo says:

      But if the Yankees sign Lee… all is well.

      • mbonzo says:

        Just to make you a little more confident. If the Yankees don’t sign him I think they’re gonna trade for a veteran like Buehrle and go hard after a young pitcher or give Joba a shot.

    • bexarama says:

      So your solution in all your brilliant GM wisdom is signing Erik Bedard or Jeremy Bonderman?

      • Steve H says:

        I love how he lists a ton of problems, but those would magically disappear if Lee and Pettitte sign? So Lee signing would make Grandy hit LHP, make Jeter, A-Rod and Posada reverse the aging process, make AJ not a headcase (which is fucking stupid to say anyway), make Montero not a rookie or make Martin healthy, etc, etc, etc.

    • candyforstalin says:

      i agree. he’s an absolute institutional disaster.

      • TJ says:

        Boston honestly seems like they have done a much better job over the past few years. They have holes too, but the pitching desperation isn’t there. With a lower budget too.

        • AndrewYF says:

          “Boston honestly seems like they have done a much better job over the past few years.”

          Over the past few years, the Yankees have won the World Series and gone to Game 6 of the ALCS. Meanwhile, Boston has not won a single playoff game.

        • JGS says:

          This from the team that gave Tim Wakefield, Scott Atchison, and Felix Doubront 23 starts in 2010, and that was the year of FIVE ACES.

          2009 was the year of EPIC PITCHING DEPTH, and they had to drag Paul Byrd out of retirement in late August.

          Grass is always greener.

        • bonestock94 says:

          How absurd.

        • bexarama says:

          They have holes too, but the pitching desperation isn’t there

          That’s because, for better or worse, they have a full rotation for next season already. That rotation includes Josh Beckett coming off a massive down year, John Lackey – ditto, and Dice-K. The Beckett extension and Lackey contract already aren’t looking pretty.

          Also, this isn’t even true, did you see what they did in 2009? Only Beckett and Lester (who were both very good) started 30 games for them. Penny started 24 and was fucking awful. Wakefield started 21, and was average. The rest of the starts was split between a (pre-2010, so not very good) Clay Buchholz, Dice-K who blew, and then an assortment of Justin Masterson, John Smoltz, Paul Byrd, Junichi Tazawa, and Michael Bowden, all of who were rancid apart from Masterson, who was just okay.

    • Needs more work. You’re definitely not at virginia yankee or Big Bertha level yet. Keep at it, and one day you might be a good troll.

    • AndrewYF says:

      Churchill supported the Japanese, said he would not choose communism over Nazi-ism, and said that Hitler could go down as the man who restored honor to a shattered Nation. Now all of Britain is being bombarded by the Nazis, and somehow he’s a good leader during this war?

  51. Teh Comp Pick says:

    What I want is a joint announcement of Lee, Andy, and Russell Martin. That way Cashman can tweet: Hey boywonder, I see your two lefties, and I raise you a French-Canadian

  52. mbonzo says:

    Nolan Ryan thinks there will be a decision monday.;c_id=tex
    Last sentence in that article.

  53. TJ says:

    Is it possible that another team will or has made Lee a stupidly high offer like the Nats did with Werth? Maybe that’s whats stalling everything? Is it possible a team could be on the radar and keep it that quiet? The Angels as the mystery team?

    • mbonzo says:

      Angels and Red Sox were the double mystery. Red Sox offered something ridiculous low but for 7 years to bring the prices up. Heyman said somewhere that the Angels offer was low too and they couldn’t compete with the Yankees. From what I gather, the Rangers offered him a 6 year deal with a 7 year option.

  54. yankees1717 says:

    random idea, could we give lee a short term deal with lots of player options? i’ll lay it out.
    2011: 25MM salary
    2012: 25MM salary
    2013: 23MM player option
    2014: 23MM player option
    2015: 22MM player option
    2016: 21MM player option
    2017: 20MM player option
    lee has a ton of flexibility, and he can earn as much as 7/159, and how much more than that can you ask? and when you add that he has a ton of flexibility to opt out at any given time, i don’t see how he could turn that down.

    on top of this, this isn’t a terrible deal for the yankees either. it’s basically offering a 7/159, which we seem willing to do, and if he opts out as some point it isn’t the worst thing because, well, we save a lot of money then. so while so lose just a little long term stability (as in not knowing exactly how long he’ll be here), i think this is a deal the team could live with.

    so, i think this would be a great contract for lee, and the yanks could offer it with no qualms. thoughts?

    • candyforstalin says:

      that’s brilliant.

    • mbonzo says:

      No way a team would risk that uncertainty year to year. This basically guarantees the Yankees pay him for less than he’s worth since he’ll leave if he can produce one good season and get a couple million more. Player options are dangerous, 5 of them are even more dangerous. He may come to the Yankees and ask for a player option like CC has though, and also some incentives to make the deal go through. 5 of them is asking for a bad contract.

      • yankees1717 says:

        how is it any worse than a straight up 7/161, which may be where we’re headed? i say if this is what it takes we have to do it.

        • mbonzo says:

          Because a contract that long is a risk. It becomes either a good contract or a bad contract based on how well he plays. Under the circumstances of your contract, he’ll either play bad and stay with the Yankees or play well and opt for more money. You’re begging for the Yankees to be stuck with a bad contract.

          • yankees1717 says:

            Because a contract that long is a risk. It becomes either a good contract or a bad contract based on how well he plays.

            how is this any different from a 7/161?

            Under the circumstances of your contract, he’ll either play bad and stay with the Yankees or play well and opt for more money.

            Maybe, but would you rather not have him at all?

            You’re begging for the Yankees to be stuck with a bad contract.
            again, how does this have any more risk than a 7/161

            • mbonzo says:

              Well I would want Lee at 7/161 if it gives him the chance to actually pitch $161m worth out of his arm. Its like a lottery ticket, you are either gonna win on it or lose or sometimes you get your money back. But a contract with all player options means you have very little chance to win since he’d try to get more money for his arm. The more player options you add the less chance you win and get a good contract. This is why these types of contracts are never done.

              I’d rather not have him with that contract because I don’t want the Yankees to have to eat up all that money and not have the chance to have a great pitcher. Its too much of a gamble.

  55. TJ says:

    Honestly, how many of you are sick of this and would like to see a salary cap? It’s the same thing every year with the same teams involved for the top players. I’d rather see an NFL salary structure and better competitiveness with more teams in the playoffs, agree?

    • mbonzo says:

      A salary cap in MLB is about as likely as Cliff Lee to the Expos. No way would I want a cap.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      All a salary cap does is put more money in the owners’ pockets.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      Zero percent chance I’ll ever get sick of this.

    • bexarama says:

      Honestly, how many of you are sick of this and would like to see a salary cap?

      No one

      • mbonzo says:

        I would like to see the luxury tax cap lowered to $120m or maybe even lower. The cap should cover the top 15% of teams. Yankees have to pay the owners of the Pirates every year to build a losing team. It seems like the Producers to me, you get more money with a flop than a hit.

        • mbonzo says:

          Didn’t complete my rant. Anyway if there were 5 teams contributing to a luxury tax, I couldn’t see the rules on how to use the money stay as lenient as they are. Seems like the Yankees aren’t saying anything since they can afford it, and don’t want the smaller teams to demand a salary cap instead. I just want to see more competition between teams. Theres no reason the Pirates should lose 18 consecutive seasons.

        • ZZ says:

          The luxury tax goes to MLB.

          Revenue sharing is distributed to teams like the Pirates.

          If the luxury tax was lowered, there would be even less incentive for other teams to spend.

          • MikeD says:

            I believe that the largest part of the luxury tax goes fund player benefits, which is why the player’s union supported it. Another chunk goes to fund the growth of MLB in other countries.

            The Luxury Tax is really just a Yankee Tax, since it was purposely set at a level that almost no other club would exceed, but the Yankees. Even the Red Sox contruct their contracts so they pretty much always come in right under the Luxury Tax. So it seems the Yankees are funding player benefits and the growth of the game in other countries.

  56. China Joe says:

    Considering Lee’s agent said he’d come back to Texas for a six-year deal, if Texas had made a 6 year offer with a 7th year option, don’t you think they would have made it public like his agent did?

    • mbonzo says:

      Where and when did he say that?

      • China Joe says:

        Couple of days ago, before the Crawford signing, that was the big story, Braunecker let it leak that Lee would stay in Texas if they guaranteed him 6 years. then crawford signed and the Yankees jumped to 7 years and all hell broke loose.

        • mbonzo says:

          Can’t find an article. I remember Ryan asking Braunecker what it would take to get Lee in Texas, but he never got a straight answer.

          • China Joe says:

            Hmm…I thought it was a Jon Heyman update, but maybe I was wrong. There were so many supposed agent leaks that maybe I got confused

  57. JobaWockeeZ says:

    Lee was reportedly making his decision by the weekened and now people expect its Monday.

    So I guess he’ll sign on Christmas Day by the time this is over.

  58. candyforstalin says:

    anyone else absolutely and totally, quite uncontrollably dying to see somewhere?

  59. If you haven’t been following @OldHossRadbourn and @MarcCarig on Twitter for the last hour, make sure you check it out.

    Great stuff.

  60. Anthony Murillo says:

    This Lee thing is driving me insane. If he signs, it’ll be so freaking amazing but if he doesn’t…oy.

    • mbonzo says:

      I have faith in Cashman. He’s not gonna sit idly if Lee heads to Texas. I’m sure the Yankees will pull something off we haven’t thought of yet. This is why the decisions are best left to the guys making all the money.

  61. Brian says:

    Not for nothing, but if Lee signs in Texas I won’t be devastated.

    The Yanks had a pretty good season last year with the same pitching staff. CC has been as advertised, Hughes should improve on an already solid year, Andy will be back (no way he leaves the Yanks high and dry if they are out of options), AJ can’t be much worse. I’m sure Cash will make some sort of low level move for a 5 – starter option while kicking the tires on Greinke or Nolasco.

    Don’t get me wrong here, I want Lee in the rotation, but 7 years is a long time. If Texas gives him a deal like that, they’ll be screwed and it won’t be long before the Yanks can have their pick from Hamilton, Cruz and Kinsler because there is no way the Rangers will be able to afford them all long term.

    • Monteroisdinero says:

      I agree with this. Maybe it will make us hungrier and more motivated and we can have our own antler sign like the Rangers! I suggest everytime we hit a double/triple/HR a Yankee sticks his middle 3 fingers in the air. Read between the lines MLB!

      On the Moose topic, I remember Moose hitting lefty. Why is it that there are so many more righty throwers/lefty batters (Cano/Grandy etc) and so few lefty throwers/righty batters? Not talking switch hitters here.

      Years ago, Cleon Jones was a great lefty outfielder who hit right handed but there are not too many of them.

  62. teddy says:

    minnesota roof felt apart, this could really messed with the giants

  63. Not Tank the Frank says:

    Jon Heyman says the Rangers initial offer to Lee was 5/100. We know that the Yankees initially offered a six year deal worth about $140 and we also know they have since increased their offer to as much as seven years worth around $160MM as part of their “menu” of offers.

    I simply can’t see how the Rangers can even come close to this, given their initial offer. The Yankees have offered a guaranteed seventh year while the Rangers have (reportedly) maxed out at six with some fancy options and perks to up to value of the contract.

    Personally, given the information we have that seems most credible, I don’t think the Rangers offer can even approach the Yankees offer and Lee is simply playing the game and waiting until Monday to make big news.

  64. JobaTheHeat62 says:

    The Moose is my favorite Yankee all time…He joined the Yankees right when I got to the age of really seriously watching the sport, so I remember so many awesome games he pitched. I will always wonder what would have happened if he came back in 2009. Would we have still won it all? I think we may have challenged the 1998 win total with that rotation of CC, AJ, Moose, and Andy. but would the 4 man rotation still win like the 3 man rotation did in the playoffs?

    also fuck Carl Everett.

  65. Zach says:

    I felt so bad for Moose that he made it to the series twice… and didn’t get a ring in either of them. 01 wasn’t just Mo blowing the save in that awful 9th inning, it was the fact we couldn’t hit pitchers (there were others besides Schilling and Johnson),our defense was horrible and our starting pitching and bullpen got clobbered.
    To be honest, I’m amazed we made it to the Series in 01,as the dynasty WAS on its last legs by then.

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