Open Thread: Priorities


Cliff Lee apparently enjoyed his time in Philly. May we never post a picture of him again. (AP/Matt Slocum)

In a post on MLB Trade Rumors this morning, Tim Dierkes made an excellent point about what we learned from the Cliff Lee signing:

“It’s unfair to make assumptions about a player’s priorities.”

We sometimes take for granted that a player will go wherever the money leads him — well, at least Jason does. But sometimes there’s more at play than a 9 percent difference in salary, even if that 9 percent amounts to $13 million. Lee had his destination in mind, and he apparently made that his first priority.*

*To an extent, of course. There was word that a seven-year offer would have kept him in Texas.

When you’re looking at a baseball free agent, there are a few basic factors to consider: 1) Team/chances of winning, 2) money, 3) location. There are more, I’m sure, and No. 3 is somewhat tied to No. 1. But I want to see how everyone rates these in their minds. If you were a premier free agent, how would you weigh offers?

I’d really like to say that chances of winning come first, followed by money and then location. But I’m in no position to make such a judgement, since I have a hard time imagining millions being thrown my way. Would I be able to take a little less to play in a place that will give me the greatest satisfaction? Or would I succumb to the extra dollars? For now I’m sticking to my story. But I’m sure I would reconsider if I ever found myself in Lee’s situation.

So we’ll start with that question for the open thread. And then we’ll move on to everything else we like to discuss in these things.

Categories : Open Thread


  1. Thomas Cassidy says:

    So what do the Yankees do now that they missed out on Lee?

  2. Bryan L says:

    1) Team/chances of winning. (If I was a Free Agent, I would NEVER play for a team like the Nats or the Pirates)
    2) Money. (Gotta get the $ somehow right?)
    3) Location. (Definitely matters, but nowhere close to the other two._

    Winning a ring would be by far my biggest priority.

  3. I get why so many people go so far to the “it’s about the money” side of things… I mean, in most cases it is mostly about the money, and it’s frustrating to constantly be told people want to be elsewhere and only come to NY for the money but just love other cities for whatever reason. But yeah… I’m glad we can kind of do-away with that line of thinking, at least to the extreme that some people take it.

    Money matters, but it’s not the only thing these guys, or most people for that matter, consider. We’re talking about long-term commitments here that have wide-ranging and deep effects on people’s lives, sometimes other things factor into these decisions. We don’t need to react to people who go to one dumb extreme by going to the opposite extreme.

    • Moshe Mandel says:

      Let’s not make it entirely about that other stuff also, though. The Rangers said today that if they had guaranteed the 7th year (thus having the best offer), he would have agreed to go there. As for the Yankee offer, Lee essentially bet on himself. If he is still effective in 5 seasons, the Phillies offer will turn out to be the best financial offer. If not, the Yankee offer will have been best. It wasn’t entirely about the money, and he clearly wanted to be in Philly, but the idea that he turned down an absurd amount of money is simply not accurate (and I know that you didnt necessarily say anything directly to the contrary, this just seemed like a pertinent place to put this).

      • Dirty Pena says:

        If he is still effective in 5 seasons, the Phillies offer will turn out to be the best financial offer.

        A hundred times this. I’m getting pretty sick of reading stories suggesting that Lee is working for the Phillies at minimum wage.

        • Moshe Mandel says:

          To be fair, that’s still a risky bet, although I bet in the mind of an athlete as confident as Lee, it seems much less risky than it does to us.

          • Dirty Pena says:

            Exactly. Athletes are a confident bunch. I’d bet Lee did the math and said “You know what? When this deal is done, I’m pretty sure I can go out and get more than 1 year for ~10 million bucks” (which is about all he’d need to cover the difference if the 6th year vests)

      • “Let’s not make it entirely about that other stuff also, though.”

        I agree, the whole point of my comment is that you can’t go to either extreme.

  4. It'sATarp says:

    i posed this on another forum and earlier …just wondering:
    Joba ( minimal value in the pen since cashman isn’t moving him back) , romine (blocked by Montero/sanchez), Betance (Banuelos has higher upside and Brackman is closer to be a 5th starter and mlb ready) and Nunez or another IF prospect (IF set for the next few years) for Grienke would you do it?

    • Kiersten says:

      I would, the Royals wouldn’t.

    • Plank says:

      Why would the Royals do that?

      Every trade proposal you think of, you should be able to defend from both team’s perspectives.

      • Dirty Pena says:

        Much as I hate random trade proposals, there’s overwhelming evidence to suggest that any trade of a star always ends up being for less than is widely presumed. I think the above actually would get it done.

        • Plank says:

          I disagree, but that would be awesome. I would rather have Greinke for the next 7 years than Cliff Lee for the same money.

          • Dirty Pena says:

            I’m not trying to be an ass, and I think your line of thinking is more common than mine, but name one star who’s been traded in the past few years where you said to yourself “Wow, that’s as much/more than I thought he’d be worth in a trade.”

            • Dirty Pena says:

              It seems to be a common misconception that it would take all these elite prospects. Look at the returns for Johan, Haren, Marcum, Victor, Bay, Halladay, Lee. Halladay’s was probably the best and it certainly wasn’t overwhelming.

            • Yeah you make a decent point. The problem is we tend to evaluate these ideas in a vacuum because we don’t really know what the trade-market is or how these teams value different players (their own and other teams’).

              I do think hypothetical trade proposals suck though, I don’t disagree with that axiom. We just have no idea how these things work themselves out.

            • Plank says:

              It’s not that there are players who have gotten a bigger haul than the one above, it’s that any player who could get a haul as big as Greinke never gets traded. Adrian Gonzalez is a premier first baseman who is 29. He got a similar package to the one above.

              A premier first baseman with one cheap year left gets nowhere near a 27 year old pitcher one year removed from a CYA with 2 years of cheap service left.

              • Dirty Pena says:

                Well, really I didn’t want to get into the specifics of Greinke and/or what it would take to get him, I just thought it was a good spot to make the general point. One minor qualm: I’m not sure I’d call $13.5M per year “cheap,” especially to a team like the Royals.

            • radnom says:

              Thank you thank you. Outside of a few trolls people here are really really good about not posting ridiculous proposals but there is wayyyyyyyy too much of a swing in the other direction from otherwise rational posters.

              name one star who’s been traded in the past few years where you said to yourself “Wow, that’s as much/more than I thought he’d be worth in a trade.”

              It’s rare, but maybe the second Dan Haren trade (A’s -> Diamondbacks)? That’s my top example.

              • Plank says:

                The teixeira trade to Atlanta was another biggie. Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus, and Salty is quite a haul. Especially when Salty was a premier prospect.

              • Jimmy McNulty says:

                Yeah, and even the deals that get hauls, very rarely (except Beckett) you’ll see a top 20 prospect traded. I mean, I think the reasonable posters have taken trade proposals the other way. There’s no way Greinke will get Montero/Banuelos/ and to other top ten prospects in the system or some of the other crazy proposals I’ve seen.

                • It'sATarp says:

                  okay the Deal i proposed above is going to give Royals (according to Baseball america) our best pitching prospect at 3, romine our number 6 prospect and nunez our 8th prospect along with Joba who is mlb ready and still have some potential. That is a considerable haul considering the other big pitching trades recently.

                  if we go by the Pinstripe bible 10 prospects, we’d be giving our number 2 in Romine, 7th in betance and nunez is unrated (but our best IF prospect) and Jonba was our former top prospect…so by no means the proposal when i thought about it was trying to make it one sided deal. i was trying to balance quantity and quality. and while i highly doubt it ever happens i was just throwing it out there to see if it was proposed i wanted to see what people think.

            • Danimal says:

              I remember when Marcus Camby was traded for some air force 1′s a bag of balls and a weight machine. With that jump shot, I didn’t think he’d even be worth that!

        • Kiersten says:

          I think Gardner instead of Nunez could get it done.

          • Plank says:

            I think there’s no way a deal gets done without Montero being included.

            Part of that is the media aspect of getting the other team’s best prospect. Even if that player isn’t particularly great (Kelly), including the best prospect is a must for trading away a major star with a good contract.

    • twac00 says:

      I was thinking something built around Betances and Romine too. I don’t think the Royals would want Joba back since he’s already arbitration eligible. I was thinking something along the lines of Betances, Romine, Warren, and Adams. I think that’s a pretty fair trade proposal. Warren and Adams can be switched out based on the Royals’ preferences. Of course this is all based on whether the Yankees feel Greinke can handle NY.


    You know what? If Lee disliked NY or simply didn’t want to play here, so be it. He would have been nice to have but we move on without him. The Yankees are a weaker team without him, yes, but there’s plenty to be positive about and the Yankees farm system is stacked with more talent than it’s had in the last decade.

    Today was a dagger in the heart of Yankee fans everywhere. It’s a banner day for haters everywhere. But I’m confident it’ll get better and excited about what we might see in 2011 – especially from the young guys like Montero.

    • Just wanted to add my two-cents here, obviously this is all totally subjective/personal so I’m not telling you you’re wrong or anything of the sort…

      I didn’t feel the dagger in my heart today. Yes – I wasn’t as gung-ho on the Lee thing as other people were, so I guess it might be true that I just wasn’t as invested in it… But at the same time, I always want to see the Yanks get better, and the idea of a rotation headed by CC/Lee would have been sick and even the people who might have been wary of the contractual commitment had to have been pretty amped-up about the possibility of Lee joining the Yanks. I just don’t get that upset about offseason transactions… Whatever happens, this is a good team, moving forward. Losing in the playoffs, that’ll always be a dagger in the heart. Losing a free agency chase? Disappointing for a little while, but quickly forgotten (for me, at least). The Yankees didn’t even lose a baseball game today, we have the whole 2011 season to go.

  6. Pat D says:

    I’ve always felt that money is money and there probably isn’t anything I couldn’t do with $120 million that I could with $150 million. I don’t know if I’d be able to live in New York, I’ve lived in a relatively rural area for 22 years, and lived in a small town for 7 years before that.

    Right now my priority is to stay awake at work.

  7. bexarama says:

    Jeff Passan is an asshat.

    I know I said this already, I’m just repeating it.

  8. Steve H says:

    But I’m sure I would reconsider if I ever found myself in Lee’s situation.

    I agree. I’d love to say I’d put winning above all else, but these guys all have massive egos and take the money 99% of the time. Most of the guys who take less money to try and win are on the backside of their careers and haven’t won yet. Otherwise, it’s all about the paycheck.

  9. Kiersten says:

    Chance of winning – 50%
    Money – 45%
    Location – 10%

    Location wouldn’t matter much to me because that’s just where you’re playing 81 games, you don’t have to actually live there.
    Winning and money would have to be a balance. I wouldn’t take a lot less to go to the Yankees/Red Sox/Phillies/etc, but if the difference between a good team’s offer and a bad team’s is minimal, then I’d definitely go for the chance to win.

    In Lee’s case, he’s got a good chance to win in Philly too, so I think it came down to him enjoying his time there.

  10. Steve H says:

    So there has been a lot of “Yankees don’t think Greinke could make it in NY” stuff coming out the past few days. Even if that’s truly what the Yankees thought, it would be of no benefit to them to put that info out there. Anyone else think it’s a smokescreen? I don’t think Cashman makes a move on him immediately as he may appear vulnerable, but I’m not buying the recent leaks from the Yankees’ side. If they had zero interest in bringing him in, they wouldn’t go out of their way to let people know that.

    • Avi says:

      I don’t know, they’re saying some pretty strong things about him. This is Wally Mathews quoting a “Yankee insider” on Greinke today: “I doubt he would be a good fit playing in New York,” the source said. “His disorder isn’t like Randy Johnson’s. He doesn’t lash out, he turns inward like a turtle. I can’t imagine him performing well in this atmosphere.”
      I personally like Greinke but you have to understand Cashman and co have dealt with emotional insecurity manifesting itself in NY a lot. Chuck Knoblauch, Vazquez, Pavano, Kevin Brown are all guys that you can at least suspect had the added pressure of NY affect their performance. Heck, even a legendary talent like Arod struggled with it for a while, in his first season as a Yank and going 0-17 with runners in scoring position in the postseason between ’04 and ’08.

      • Steve H says:

        So why say it? If you completely take yourself out of the running for Greinke, it removes a bidder. Less bidders=less return and there’s a solid chance that when Greinke does get traded it’s going to be to someone the Yankees will have to deal with.

        • Avi says:

          I hear you, but I’m not sure saying this helps their bargaining position either. In the end KC is gonna take the best package that’s offered to them. Yanks are competing with other packages more than what their perceived desire for him is.

        • mike c says:

          when a player says “i don’t want to play in NY” and has the intangible issues he does, that’s a huge red flag

        • radnom says:

          Maybe they actually are legitimately not interested in him?

          If they don’t call up Moore and start making proposals what they say in the media is not going make a difference on the price for teams who are actually interested.

          Or maybe they are trying to drive the price down for themselves feigning disinterest.

          Or maybe this insider is being a dick and just leaking information without permission.

          Point is, there are lots of reasons why the report could be true. By your logic teams would NEVER truthfully say that they are not pursuing a player…..but this happens all the time. Maybe they are as tired as we are about hearing questions about him :)

  11. Sheepmeister says:

    As I told my friends who are philly fans. Your team is now just as bad as the yankees with a high payroll, and just trading for players then extending them (meaning they aren’t home grown players). You along with the Red Sox have now joined the “evil empire” club.

  12. Squishy Jello Person says:

    Guys, gals, do me a favor today, okay?

    Go find your friends and tell them how much you love them. Make sure they know.

  13. Avi says:

    Who exactly does Lee love so much in Philly? Halladay and Oswalt weren’t even there when he played for them. What does he like so much about Philly? I don’t get it.

  14. Jerome S. says:

    Truthfully, once the digits enter the nines, I can’t tell the difference.
    Fun fact: A-Rods contract is worth more than the GDP of Micronesia.

  15. candyforstalin says:

    the offers were all pretty similar in value, if you consider everything.

  16. Teh Comp Pick says:

    We know why this happened. Kristin Lee loves Philadelphia.


  17. Thomas Cassidy says:

    Sign Jerry Hariston, Jr., for one year at 1.2 million. Trade Nunez, Joba, and another prospect for Gavin Floyd?

  18. JeffG says:

    Money 90%

    Chance of winning 5%

    Location 5%

    I still think Cliff did not leave money on the table. He may have taken less guaranteed but the 24 per was the best offer. Head to head with the Yankee offer the 6th year of Yanks proposed Lee deal would have been less than 12 mil… as that is what the total money was apart. Probably feels he can more than likely beat that.

  19. Steve H says:

    Nice shoutout in the Globe to Joe’s Fangraphs piece on Lee alternatives ( .

  20. China Joe says:

    Game 2, 2011 World Series: Lee vs. Prior…

    BOOK IT!

    …or maybe they signed him to pull a Rick Ankiel and be our 4th outfielder. Can he hit lefties?

  21. mike c says:

    what to get the yankee fan in your life who has everything this holiday? the waterproof yankee fitted cap

  22. Jerome S. says:

    Free agency = good for baseball.

    Because Billy Beane’s shit doesn’t work in the playoffs.

  23. Monteroisdinero says:

    Lee studied the range of the AL gold glove SS and said:

    No way!

    • bexarama says:

      this is a “we. get. it.” comment but I did chuckle when Harold Reynolds said the Yankees were old and that’s why Cliff Lee went to the Phillies. Has anyone looked at the ages of the Phillies’ players lately?

      • Xstar7 says:

        But with a rotation like that how can they lose? They’re pretty much a lock to play the Red Sox in the world series (which will probably end in a tie since both teams are unbeateable.)

      • JGS says:

        Their ages next season:

        Carlos Ruiz (32)
        Ryan Howard (31)
        Chase Utley (32)
        Jimmy Rollins (32)
        Placido Polanco (35)
        Raul Ibanez (39)
        Shane Victorino (30)
        Domonic Brown (23)

        Brown is obviously a top prospect, but no one knows what he will actually give the team. Utley only played in 115 games this year, Rollins 88 (and has a .304 OBP for the last two years), and Howard showed some pretty troubling signs of decline. This is a team that went into Citi Field and got swept three games without scoring a single run and just lost their best hitter (Werth).

        Their rotation is excellent. But I can’t be the only one wondering if this team is prone to some major offensive problems.

        • Monteroisdinero says:

          I saw Domonic asking Jesus for his autograph at Scranton.

          Iron Pigs-what a name!

        • Xstar7 says:

          But their rotation is chock full of aces. Even more so than the Bosox who compensate by having a lineup chock full of future hall of famers.

          • JGS says:

            Including that three-game sweep at Citi Field, they went through a stretch where they scored runs in one inning out of forty. It doesn’t matter how good your pitching is, you won’t win like that.

            • Xstar7 says:

              Yeah but their offense did take alot of hits last season though. Much like the Red Sox. It wasn’t until their players like Utley and Rollins came back from their injuries that they ran away with their division crown. Their offense is still highly capable although they do have to replace guys like Ibanez soon.

              • JGS says:

                Rollins also hit .230/.298/.340 from June 22nd onward. Utley will hit, but they need some bounceback from Howard and big showings from Brown and Ruiz to make up for Werth’s absence.

    • JGS says:

      Fact: Jimmy Rollins and his .304 OBP in his last two seasons (1119 PAs) hurts the team much more than a shortstop with bad range.

  24. Beamish says:

    Back in the day when Bernie Williams signed his deal for $12.5 million/year salaries started to climb right after and a reporter allegedly asked him if he was bothered that guys were now getting $14M or $15M a year. Bernie allegedly replied: “What can I do with $14 million a year that I cannot do with $12.5 million a year?”

    Apocryphal story or not, I think the same thing was at work here. What can Lee do with $23 million a year he cannot do with $20 million a year? At some point those last dollars become very expensive in terms of where you play and how much you enjoy what you do.

  25. mike c says:

    remember when paul o’neill signed with the yankees for a fraction of what he would have gotten in the market because he just wanted to be a yankee and didn’t care about getting a megadeal?

  26. Avi says:

    Carlos Zambrano is owed $18M in 2011 and $18M for 2012 and has a $19.25M vesting option for 2013. Anyone know what the vesting option is based on? Can’t find it anywhere.

    • JGS says:

      How he finishes in the Cy Young voting


      • Avi says:

        Wow interesting. If Chicago would pick up some money on that contract, and it sounds like they would in order to unload him, he’s not a bad option (if he’s healthy, not sure he has been). Chances are it’s two years only. The only way it’s three years is if he’s really good in 2012. He’s still an effective pitcher.

  27. Mike says:

    1/ Chance of winning – Yankees 1 = Phillies 1
    2/ Money – Yankees 2 points (20% increse)> Phillies 0
    3/ Location – Yankees 0 point Phillies 1 point

    Total Yankees 3 point < Phillies 4. That would be Lee's thinking.

  28. ultimate913 says:

    Let’s go get some Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu Darvish next off season. It really doesn’t seem like the Yankees have better options.

    • James A says:

      Everyone hates on Yu on here, and its true that the posting fee makes it a much more annoying deal, but I’ve seen and read a lot of good things about him. Plus hes only 24 right now, I would be in full support of this move with Pettitte probably on his way out (if he isn’t already)

      • A.D. says:

        Everyone hates on Yu on here

        Probably because it’s hard to make a compelling case that Japanese pitchers have been worth their posting + contract

        • Plank says:

          There has never been a pitcher as good as Darvish in Japan.

        • Avi says:

          Yes %100.
          After Irabu and Dice-K all Japanese pitchers suck till they prove otherwise.
          If Darvish threw 100 MPH it would be one thing. I don’t want to hear about his command, wide variety of pitches or his Gyro-ball. Pass.

          • Plank says:

            You’re dismissing a pitcher because 2 people born in the same country as him were not as good as hoped.

            • Jimmy McNulty says:

              Yes. All NPB imports are shells of their former selves in the Majors. Every single one of them, even the good ones.

              • Plank says:

                Except for Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Matsui, Alfonso Soriano, Cecil Fielder, Hideo Nomo, and I’m sure others who don’t come immediately to mind.

                Obviously the stats can’t translate directly because MLB is better than NPB, but a lot of the dropoff in numbers comes from the players coming over right after their peak years to the MLB.

                • Jimmy McNulty says:

                  Nomo was pretty mediocre in the majors, nothing compared to his NPB seasons, Matsui was a 50HR bat in Japan, Soriano played in Japan for only a year, Ichiro! also is a much worse player than he was in Japan. Stop being obtuse.

                  • Plank says:

                    Why would you include that last sentence? You admit to dismissing every single Japanese player because of a few high profile busts to go along with a few high profile successes and you accuse me of being obtuse?

                  • Plank says:

                    Not to mention almost everything you wrote is untrue.

                    Nomo was a legit phenom when he came to the league. He had 3 good to great seasons and 5 pretty good seasons despite coming into the league at the age of 26.

                    Matsui certainly was better in Japan than in MLB, but he was still pretty good for the Yankees. He had a few all-star calliber seasons and a bunch of seasons a being a capable regular.

                    Soriano did only play for a year, so what is the logic for not counting him as a player that came over from Japan.

                    You didn’t even mention Cecil Fielder who was a monster in Japan then came to America and was a monster.

                    Ichiro is on his way to induction to the Hall of Fame. It’s even more impressive that he only started in the league at the age of 27.

                    You make vaguely racist insinuations, then you accuse me of being obtuse then come back with that crap? What’s wrong with you?

                    • Jimmy McNulty says:

                      Hideo Nomo had that excellent rookie season because no one has seen him, then he followed it up with a very good season and was decidedly below average after that. Awesome. Matsui was a great Yankee, but he was still a shell of his former NPB self. He was also on pace to be the greatest player in NPB history. Gold Glove center fielder with a 50 HR bat, he was on a Jet for Christsake. He was a good Yankee, but NEVER (outside of the World Series) the type of 50 HR bat he was in Japan. This is a fact. It’d be like Pujols all of the sudden hit .280/.370/.490, pretty good production but still a shell of what he was before. Alphonso Soriano is a very different case, it’s not like he’s Darvish or Matsui or anything where he had a career in Japan, he signed with the Yankees when he was what? 21. Ichiro? Yeah, every season after his rookie year he OPSed over .930 in Japan, couldn’t even crack .900 in the states…he’s a damn good player but not the guy he was in Japan. Cecil Fielder? Including him in this conversation is stupid beyond words. He was a monster in the states, he went to Japan to play everyday…of course he’d still be good when he came back…what the hell is the matter with you?

                      Vaguely racist insinuations? What? All I said is that the NPB imports are never as good as they were in Japan. Pitchers especially. You’ll get two good seasons out of them (them being the import pitchers) at most. Going from a weak league to the toughest division in sports? Are you shitting me? I never said they sucked, just that they’re never the player that they were in Japan.

                    • Plank says:

                      “You’re dismissing a pitcher because 2 people born in the same country as him were not as good as hoped.”

                      Yes. All NPB imports are shells of their former selves in the Majors. Every single one of them, even the good ones.

                      Those are your words. That is a vaguely racist insinuation. You are making uninformed conclusions about an entire nation of people based on nothing but their nationality and race.

                      For the record, you started the vitriol here, we were talking about Japanese players and you added in personal insults with no provocation.

                      Getting to the facts, Nomo had more than one good season and one okay season. Look at his numbers.

                      Did the league forget about him again from 1999 to 2003? Did he “trick” batters when he was 34 after 9 years in the league? He was a great pitcher.

                      Matsui was better in Japan just like every other player. It would be like expecting Montero to put up the same numbers in the majors that he would in AAA. The same player with the same abilities will have better numbers in NPB than in MLB. Just because his numbers were worse, doesn’t mean he isn’t still good. Matsui was never a great fielder. Centerfielders in Japan are more like Corner outfielders in MLB. The speed is in the corners and the sluggers are in center. Again, he came after his peak and was the player any rational person hoped he would be.

                      Ichiro is one of the best right fielders in baseball over the past decade. If he retired next season, he has a serious HOF case. Since he came into the league, he has been awesome. His numbers aren’t as good as they were in Japan. If he was playing in the Sally league his numbers would be a lot better too. Does that mean he’s not good? I don’t get how you could say he hasn’t been anything but a success. Literally every team in the league would take Ichiro’s production at RF over the past decade.

                      The only reason I can think of that you wouldn’t count Fielder and Soriano as coming over from the Japanese leagues has to do with skin color. Is that why they don’t count as Japanese league players to you?

                    • Jimmy McNulty says:

                      Those are your words. That is a vaguely racist insinuation. You are making uninformed conclusions about an entire nation of people based on nothing but their nationality and race.

                      No that is not racist. I’m referring to all long term NPB imports. Not Asians and not Japanese people.

                      Did the league forget about him again from 1999 to 2003? Did he “trick” batters when he was 34 after 9 years in the league? He was a great pitcher.

                      A great pitcher? He had one good season that was 2003, and even then it was mostly luck based. He was right around league average after that.

                      Matsui was better in Japan just like every other player. It would be like expecting Montero to put up the same numbers in the majors that he would in AAA. The same player with the same abilities will have better numbers in NPB than in MLB. Just because his numbers were worse, doesn’t mean he isn’t still good. Matsui was never a great fielder. Centerfielders in Japan are more like Corner outfielders in MLB. The speed is in the corners and the sluggers are in center. Again, he came after his peak and was the player any rational person hoped he would be.
                      Ichiro is one of the best right fielders in baseball over the past decade. If he retired next season, he has a serious HOF case. Since he came into the league, he has been awesome. His numbers aren’t as good as they were in Japan. If he was playing in the Sally league his numbers would be a lot better too. Does that mean he’s not good? I don’t get how you could say he hasn’t been anything but a success. Literally every team in the league would take Ichiro’s production at RF over the past decade.

                      This qualifies under the same category of ignorance. When players are in the minors they are developing, and some players have seasons in the majors that dominate any season that they had in minors. Name three NPB imports that have had seasons in the states like they did in Japan (and Fielder and Soriano don’t count for reasons I’ll describe later) you can’t compare the minors to NPB.

                      The only reason I can think of that you wouldn’t count Fielder and Soriano as coming over from the Japanese leagues has to do with skin color. Is that why they don’t count as Japanese league players to you?

                      Yes. Accuse those who disagree with you of racism. Great arguing technique. The reason why Fiedler doesn’t count is because he was a legitimate superstar when he went to NPB, of course he’d still be good when he came back. Soriano was in NPB at a age when a lot of players were still in the minors and he left at an age when a lot of players were still in the minors. So his time in the NPB can’t be compared to a Darvish, Nomo, Matsui, Ichiro, etc.

            • Avi says:

              Um yes. Dice-K and Irabu prove that being great in Japan means crap for MLB.
              Dice-K by the way, had much more hype than Darvish does (at this point anyway)
              What would make you think that Darvish will be ANY good?

              • Plank says:

                So, I’m curious. Is it a genetic disadvantage Japanese people? Is it how they are raised that they can’t be good baseball players?

                Does it extend to other Asians? Are Koreans and Taiwanese people also unable to be good at baseball?

                • Avi says:

                  I really don’t want to get into a long conversation about why Darvish is a waste of time (again). Darvish only has the recognition he does because of his performance in Japan. If he was an amateur free agent he wouldn’t get nearly the recognition he gets now because he doesn’t have the stuff that makes scouts say wow! His hype is largely based on his success in Japan.
                  Is it possible that Darvish comes over and has a successful ML career? Sure. But you’re much better off spending the money it’ll likely take to get him on a known MLB quantity.

              • Plank says:

                people have*

  29. Jerome S. says:

    Philadelphia has proven that they are the best team in baseball. No need to play 162 games anymore.

  30. first time lawng time says:

    Maybe Cliff Lee wanted to play in Philly instead of NY, because of happy memories there?

    IDK, but to me NY seems like a better place to play for him for the following reasons:
    - more money
    - more years (I think)
    - he’s good friends with CC
    - good chance of winning a ring
    - good pizza in NY (NY pizza > Philly cheesesteaks)

    I really don’t see why he chose Philly over NY. Do you think the whole Kristen Lee and fans incident had something to do with it? If it did factor in any way, that’s pretty dumb.

    Obviously it’s his decision, he can do what he wants, I don’t really care, and I respect it, but it just seemed NY was a more logical choice.

    Whatever. We beat him once, we can beat him again.

    • Steve H says:

      but it just seemed NY was a more logical choice.

      Using your logic maybe, but not Lee’s logic. I’m sure he had plenty of completely logical reasons for picking Philly. He didn’t make this decision on a whim, he’s had quite a while to think about where he was going to go and had 3 very strong contract offers.

      • Jimmy McNulty says:

        He wanted to spend time with reasonable, thoughtful, sensitive, and caring fans not like the obtuse bandwaggoner assholes that root for the Yankees.

    • Xstar7 says:

      NY was a better choice. Here’s to never having another post about Cliff Lee on this website ever again.

    • radnom says:

      I really don’t see why he chose Philly over NY.

      You can’t break things like this down rationally.

      It totally blows my mind why anyone would want to live in Kentucky yet there are people living there now (I think). Go figure.

    • mbonzo says:

      Considering how bad Phillie fans are, I don’t think Yankee fans were really that big of a deal, though I’ve seen some quotes which I don’t think are real. I just think he knew he would be happy in Philly and he would be surrounded by starting pitcher talent. Also, maybe all this Cliff Lee coverage over the last 2 weeks really turned him off to the media spotlight in the Bronx. If I was a player I’d love to come to the Yankees because I’m a fan but if I wasn’t I could easily see why I’d pick another contender over a stressful place like NY.

      • Xstar7 says:

        So what your’re saying is he couldn’t take the heat of pitching in NY? I can understand that but come on! The Yankees offered him more years, money, and a chance to win it all every year. It’s his loss choosing Philly over the greatest city in the world.

    • Stratman9652 says:

      It is pretty obvious why he would go there really and it was right in our faces the whole time. Texas fans were convinced that comfort would be the most important thing to Lee. Yankess fans were convinced money and chance of winning were the biggest draws.

      Philly offered all three. He pitched there before and made it obvious he wasn’t happy to leave in the first place, they are just as much a contender in the NL as the Yanks are in the AL, and hey, 5 years for 120 mill isn’t exactly chump change. I really can’t blame him a bit.

  31. first time lawng time says:

    Everybody acts like Phillies pitching is all that. They’ll crash at some point in the season.

    In 2010, everyone was like Yankees pitching is awesome. And they were on paper, look what happened from July-ALCS. Pretty awful (except ALDS).

    My point is that someone will probably get injured, someone will crash, and they won’t be all they’re cracked up to be.

    Halladay would be scary to face. Lee is not unbeatable (see: 2010 WS and 2009 WS game 5), Hamels isn’t as great as everyone says he is, and Roy Oswalt I know nothing about, but he doesn’t scare me.

    • The Real JobaWockeeZ says:

      Those 4 guys are much better than what the Yanks put out this year. We’re comparing Vazquez to like Oswalt. Even with hindsight gone Oswalt is clearly the far better pitcher. He may be the 4th starter but he’s a 1/2 anywhere else.

    • Xstar7 says:

      Oswalt and Hamels are a bit overrated. Halladay and Lee are the real deal though. They might be better than even Wainwright and Carpenter.

      • Mike Axisa says:

        I think Hamels is actually pretty damn underrated.

        • first time lawng time says:

          The only reason I think he’s overrated is because the inly time I’ve ever seen him pitch was the 2009 WS and he didn’t impress me. Also, a lot of people act like he’s this ace and he doesn’t seem that way to me.

          Just my opinion though.

    • radnom says:

      Everybody acts like Phillies pitching is all that. They’ll crash at some point in the season.

      They are not automatically handed a WS berth or anything but don’t be ridiculous. You would cream your pants if the Yankees had that rotation (I would too).

  32. hello9 says:

    Sign Bill Hall.
    Sign Kerry Wood.
    Sign Pedro Feliciano.
    Sign Brandon Webb.

    Take a flier on Bedard or Bonderman.
    Convince Pettitte to come back.

    Call it a day.

  33. China Joe says:

    Since he obviously has such fond memories of losing to the Yankees in the Series, here’s hoping we can oblige him again.

  34. first time lawng time says:

    Please tell me not all Phillies fans are like this. I hear they’re obnoxious, but this is just bad.

  35. Totes McGoates says:

    More pitching depth for the Sox!? OMGZ WE R DOOOMED!!!11!

  36. bexarama says:

    MLBN is naming the top fifty games of the past fifty years oooh.

  37. first time lawng time says:

    So apparently Boston signed Crawford and Boston fans think they have the best team ever (once they get a bullpen).

    I disagree with that. Not including pitching, I’d say they’re about even with the Yankees, maybe the Yankees are better.

    I don’t see what the fuss about Crawford is though. We have Gardner, and the only difference I see in them based on 2010 is that Crawford has more power. But Gardner is very good and when you have Jorge, Swisher, Teixeira, Cano, A-Rod on your team, power isn’t exactly a necessity.

    Just my opinion. IDK how they compare in terms of pitching though.

  38. FachoinaNYY says:

    I see the Yanks making a serious run at Carlos Zambrano…

    At this point Id support it so long as the specs given up arent too bad.

    • Xstar7 says:

      Too bad the yanks are in the AL. They could sure use Zambrano’s bat.

    • whozat says:

      I feel like Zambrano is AJ Burnett, but instead of being willing to admit when he’s terrible, he punches people in the dugout. The guy has control problems and is prone to blowups when things don’t go well…and the inability to throw strikes in the AL tends to MAKE things not go well.

      • I Voted 4 Kodos says:

        I feel like Zambrano is AJ Burnett, but instead of being willing to admit when he’s terrible, he punches people in the dugout.

        Maybe I’m just really tired, but this line made me laugh like an idiot.

      • Avi says:

        I think Zambrano is a good option assuming A) He’s healthy B) The Cubs pick up at least $12M total of the next two year. He’d then in effect cost the Yanks $12M a year for the next two years. There’s no way you take him on @ $18M a year. Houston picked up a large amount on Oswalt’s contract so it’s def possible the Cubs would do the same for Zambrano.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      No, he’s completely psycho. How come people are so quick to write off Greinke but ignore Zambrano’s much more well known issues? Imagine that dude struggling with 50,000 people booing him.


  39. Avi says:

    If the Yanks sign Pavano I’m officially done as a baseball fan; even if it’s just for one year at say $8M. I just won’t be able to hack it anymore.

  40. The Real JobaWockeeZ says:

    Hey Mike, you undoubtedly have researched about this stacked draft class right? Now with a first rounder what names do you think will interest the Yankees at 31?

    • Avi says:

      I would hope they take the best player available, though with the Yanks you never know. They could take a 10th rounder in the first round like they did this year. 3rd baseman Anthony Rendon is regarded as the #1 guy in the draft. Sonny Grey, Mathew Purke and Gerrit Cole are three top college arms. If any of those are available (they’ll only slide cuz of bonus demands) the Yanks will probably pounce.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      It’s far too early to speculate, so much is going to change between now and then. I don’t even know a thing about the high school class other than there’s a kid named Bubba Starling, and that’s pretty cool.

    • hello9 says:

      The ‘experts’ have been pretty bear-ish on this year’s yanks draft. Hopefully we can make up for that next year so that people will have a reason to head out to the games in Staten Island.

  41. Kiersten says:

    So get this.

    One of the sports reporters here told me that the only reason the Yankees are going to be decent next season is because they’re in an easy division.

    I’ll just leave it at that. Oh, and he’s a Mariner’s fan.

    • Avi says:

      What does he report for, the local high school paper?

    • I Voted 4 Kodos says:

      And he’s a sports reporter? Has he ever, you know, actually watched sports?

      • Kiersten says:

        His argument was that the Rays are going to suck cause they lost some players and then we got the Jays and Orioles.

        Then he went on and on about how the Yankees are old (how original) and the only guys on the team with their best days ahead of them are Hughes and Gardner. Then when I tried to say that we have virtually the same team as last year and that team was the third best in baseball, he twisted it to make it sound like I was bragging about being third best in baseball and in that case, he can brag about the Mariner’s 116-win season.

        He’s such an ass. I’m friends with his girlfriend though, she’s really sweet.

        • I Voted 4 Kodos says:

          That whole argument makes my brain hurt.

          I hate when friends are dating idiots. It’s always hard to not say something.

    • mbonzo says:

      I think you got trolled.

  42. candyforstalin says:

    any word on martin’s money?

  43. Nom Chompsky says:

    This is basically apropos of nothing, but why are people salivating so much over Carl Crawford in Boston’s lineup?

    I can’t count how many times I’ve heard people say things like, “wow, Boston’s lineup is beastly now with Crawford and AGon,” and it sort of baffles me. Adrian Gonzalez is an elite offensive player. Carl Crawford is not.

    He had a great year last year, and he’s definitely an improvement over Darnell McDonald/Ellsbury/Whoever else they run out there, but I’m not convinced that he’s that much better offensively than say, Luke Scott or David DeJesus. I feel like people see him (somewhat) rightfully, as an elite player and think that he’s an elite hitter, when in reality, he’s an average-ish left field hitter. I don’t think people would be going ga-ga over a Red Sox lineup that featured David DeJesus, and there’s a good chance they produce within .5 WAR of each other with the bat.

    • Kiersten says:

      I agree. Crawford never scared me as a (Devil) Ray, why would he scare me now?

      The Yankees beat the Red Sox when they had Ramirez/Ortiz back-to-back in their primes. I’m really not worried about Crawford and AGon.

      • Esteban says:

        Yea, it’s not great analysis, but I’ve never thought “oh no, Crawford is coming up, I hope he doesn’t hurt the Yankees.”

        I think his value is more subtle, with defense and baserunning being a large part of his value. On that note, I’ve never been completely convinced that offense and defense should have equal value in vale calculations (or close to it).

    • Ray Fuego says:

      I completely agree, He’s just Gardner with more pop.

      • MikeD says:

        …but without the plate discipline. Gardner draws more pitches and gets on base at a higher percentage…well, at least based on last year.

  44. MikeD says:

    It is about the money, or certainly more so than the media is reporting.

    Over the next five years, the Phillies will pay him $24 million a year, the highest annual average any pitcher will make in MLB, exceeding (for now) CC’s $23 million average. The Yankees seven-year contract has an annual average of $21 million. Those numbers are important. I’ve read Lee has a friendly competitive relationship with CC, where one tries to better the other. If he wasn’t going to beat CC’s total contract, he was going to make sure he gets more per year. Factoring in the reachable sixth-year option, he’s only leaving $13 million on the table, yet he’d have to pitch seven years on the Yankees to get that extra money, which means based on five years or six years, the Phillies offer to Lee is higher than the Yankees.

    So what did Lee give up? It wasn’t really money, since he will be making more with the Phillies than he would have with Yankees for the next five years. It was the security of knowing he had a seventh year with the Yankees.

    • J.R. says:

      I don’t think I would call the option easy to reach. 200 IP in his last year or 400 IP in his last 2, that’s going to be hard to get.

      • MikeD says:

        Agreed, although my guess is he’s going to do it, so there’s a little more personal feeling mixed in with that statement. It’s this whole theme of “wow, isn’t it great to see an athlete take less money” that’s gone overboard in the media. For the next five years, he’s making more than the Yankees offered and he is the highest paid pitcher in the game. Lee is taking less security further out, but as a competitor he’s not really worried about that. The story isn’t as “nice” as it’s being written.

  45. Avi says:

    Wouldn’t the Red Sox be scarier if they signed Cliff Lee instead of Crawford? The money is about the same. If they were willing to sign crawford will having Mike Cameron under contract for about $8M why couldn’t they sign Lee with Dice-Krap under contract for $10M?

  46. JonathanCold says:

    Assuming Pettitte retires, anyway to pull off a trade for both Carpenter and Buehrle?


    That frightens me right now.

    I know Zambrano is a bit of a lunatic, but I would not be opposed to a trade for him.


    Am I crazy?

    • candyforstalin says:


    • mbonzo says:

      Zambrano you’re crazy.

      Buehrle could be a great pickup. He’s very reliable/consistent and he’s been good enough to be the Yankees number 2. White Sox currently have 6 starting pitchers and could be looking to dump some money to help their reliever situation. Theres some questions about his contract that though, he’s got one year left on his contract, but had a vesting option for a 2012 season if he was traded. According to cot’s that vesting option no longer exists now that he has 10 and 5 rights. Basically he could be had for kinda cheap and he’d probably be a type A agent. Kenny Williams love strong relievers so a package could start with Brackman and another top 10 prospect.

      Carpenter would probably cost a little bit more because he’s been a better pitcher. He’d still be a great pickup and a type a agent (though its more unlikely the Yankees would offer him arbitration). I wouldn’t mind seeing both of them on the team next year but I don’t think the Yankees are going to trade so many guys for 2 rentals.

    • Ray Fuego says:

      I’ve always been a fan of Carpenter, I think he would be a good pick up.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      Buehrle and Carpenter aren’t going anywhere, and I don’t want anything to do with Zambrano.

  47. Michael Mirabella says:

    Having trouble with spyware virus on laptop, anyone have any ideas on how to fix it?

  48. JM says:

    Who could the Yankees get with a package of Romine+Betances/Banuelos/Brackman(or even 2 of them)+Nunez/Adams+Lower-Level Prospect?

    • bonestock94 says:


      • yankees1717 says:

        sure as hell not greinke. moore would have to be high to take that

        • bonestock94 says:

          Romine, Adams, 2/3 of the killer B’s, and a lower level prospect absolutely gets it done in my opinion.

          • It'sATarp says:

            Yea that was similiar to my proposal above. We give up our number 3, 6 and 8 prospects(according to baseball America) and i also threw in Joba who is mlb ready which the Royals are looking for. That’s not a bad haul in my opinion honestly since looking at other big pitcher trades…this haul is comparable…maybe not halladay level but we’re not trading for halladay. (plus even in the halladay trade phillies didn’t give up their top prospect Dominic Brown)

  49. yankees1717 says:

    i’m really trying to come up with a suitable SP option, so i’ll go team by team. Will list every pitcher good enough to trade for, but dismiss ones that are unrealistic. this post is AL only
    TB: Garza, shields, price. needless to say price is unavailable and the other two we’d have to overpay Friedman to get him to even consider inter-division.
    BOS: lester, buchholz: they would not even consider dealing them to us.
    BAL: matusz is the only one worth trading for, and I can’t see the o’s dealing him here.
    TOR: romero, cecil, morrow. i don’t know much about these guys, but i know they’re decent, i like morrow as a K guy, but again we’d have to overpay.
    MIN: really only liriano, unavailable
    CHW: buehrle, danks, floyd: all extensively discussed, would like danks or floyd, but no indication they are available.
    DET: verlander, scherzer, porcello: can’t see these guys being available. two of them are young big-upside guys and verlander is verlander.
    CLE: carmona? might be available but i really don’t want him he’d be a last resort
    KC: greinke, would take too much, i love him as a pitcher but i don’t wanna sell the farm
    TEX: colby or CJ, can’t see either being available, TEX is looking to add pitching not subtract
    OAK: anderson, gio, braden, cahill have been discussed, but i don’t think we match up with them. and i hate dallas, don’t like gio and cahill as pitchers, and have to pay a shitload for brett.
    LAA: weaver, haren: would actually like haren, weaver untouchable i presume, but i doubt they’d give us haren. still, i think he’d be worth a call.
    SEA: king, pipe dream
    so, to sum up my guys that are worth a call (not saying these guys are without their flaws)
    haren, anderson, danks, floyd, wilson, lewis, morrow, matusz, garza, greinke. feeble list, and most of them are really pipe dream. this is a tough market. any of these guys make sense?
    also, these guys are WORTH A CALL not “oh we should go get em”

    • yankees1717 says:

      NL time:
      PHI: halladay, oswalt, lee, hamels: won’t trade any of them, and i don’t want blanton at all
      NYM: santana, pelfrey, niese: probably wouldn’t trade these people to the yanks, and even so i dont want them. santana inj pelf and niese unimpressive.
      FLA: johnson, nolasco johnson untouchable, but i like nolasco. he may be one of the best options.
      WAS: nobody (man their staff sucks)
      ATL: lowe, hanson, hudson, jurrjens: don’t like lowe, too expensive and old, jurrjens had a horrific year, but hudson and hanson make sense. hudson as a stopgap wouldn’t cost that much, and while hanson would cost a lot he’s a really good pitcher.
      CIN: volquez, arroyo, leake, cueto: arroyo too expensive, volquez scary, leake probably unavailable, but i say cueto’s worth a call.
      STL: carpenter, wainwright: wain not a chance, but carpenter is a good idea as discussed.
      MIL: gallardo, marcum, wolf: wolf too pricey, marcum just traded for, gallardo probably not available but worth a call.
      HOU: wandy, myers: myers may have been flukey, and wandy is just scary. i guess he’s worth a call, but i don’t like him.
      CHC: dempster. not a bad idea, but the cubs staff sucks so it’s doubtful we could get him. but hey, it’s worth a shot.
      PIT: no one. they truly suck
      SF: cain, sanchez, madison, timmy: can’t see why they would give these up, but cain and sanchez worth a call, despite sanchez’s BB/9, he’s really good.
      SD: latos: why would they trade him?
      COL: ubaldo, JDLR: jdlr new contract, ubaldo untouchable
      LAD: kershaw, billingsley: kershaw untouchable, but why not make a call for billingsley
      ARI: terrible, kennedy might actually be their ace
      so, to sum up, the guys WORTH A CALL not “omg we need him”
      sanchez, cain, billingsley, dempster, wandy, gallardo, carpenter, cueto, hudson, hanson, nolasco

  50. China Joe says:

    Just curious: how would everyone feel if we had befallen the same fate as the Rangers, i.e. we traded Montero for Lee, made the Series, lost to the Giants, and Lee signed with the Phillies?

    I’ve been reading a few articles today to the effect of “If only the Yankees had traded for Lee, they would have signed him.” That’s f-ing crazy talk…it didn’t work for the Rangers and they offered him a higher contract. Why would that scenario work for us?

    • It'sATarp says:

      We’d would have won the WS and not spit on his wife! Then he would sign with us and go from Anakin the Savior to Vader pawn of the Empire.

    • MikeD says:

      It would feel even worse, because we gave up our best prospect in years, and then Lee rejected the team after being on the Yankees, even after the Yankees offered the most money.

      What Lee did yesterday was go back to a team he knows and liked playing for, and he did it by accepting an offer for more money than the Yankees offered over the next five years.

      No comparison between the two. For a Ranger fan, it must suck today.

  51. Greg Davenport says:

    I missed cliff lee until a news crew caught him at the airport. 120 million cliff was refusing to sign autographs for fans that respectfully had waited for his show of fan support. The piece was played later in the show and further saw the new philly being some what rude and “above it all” in his answers to writer’s that had waited to begin the newest story in the saga of Mr lee. WAIT A MINUTE, isn’t this the humanitarian that left millions behind to play for that pauper’s wage he received. I wish him luck for the sake of the paying fan. As to his arrogance and disrespect of the fans I refer him to ARNOLD PALMER. The king signed everything he was asked to. This is the man with the children’s hospital. The man that was payed for his score not his reputation. And here i was thinking carl pavano was a pant load. Thank you cliff for turning down the yanks. They would have asked you to shave and appear clean and yankee like. There will be a day when you will hope to sign an autograph. How quick they forget cliff

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