Will it take seven to get Lee?

Yanks eyeing Wood for the right price
The RAB Radio Show: December 6, 2010

Now that the free agent market has settled around the Jayson Werth signing, the Cliff Lee market is taking shape. The Yankees, of course, remain prime players for the lefty’s services, but the Rangers and Nationals seem heavily involved in the bidding as well. As the first day of the Winter Meetings draws to a close, let’s round up the rumors.

According to Ken Rosenthal’s sources, Lee will receive a seven-year off from some Major League club. Joel Sherman offers a follow-up: The Yanks have “internally said seven years is the dealbreaker with Lee”. The club “would go to six, perhaps, to finish off a deal,” but they are hesitant to sign a pitcher who is currently 32 to a seven-year deal. I can’t say I blame them, but from what we’ve heard, the Rangers are willing to go only to four or maybe five. Perhaps the Nationals will swoop in and steal Lee away.

Yanks eyeing Wood for the right price
The RAB Radio Show: December 6, 2010
  • Clint Holzner

    7 is simply too much.

    • john

      I am tired of these high end pitchers trying to make much more than they worth 5 yrs contract for 125 that 25 million a year if he can’t take offer then Yankees just have to move on.Let see what we could see for our farm system. An stop spending on these star players. I rather see young gun pitcher that battle an now we are using a young catcher what a young starter which it cost very cheap to maintain

  • http://bleedingallblue.blogspot.com mikebk

    dropped this in the other Lee thread but both Rosenthal have since Rosenthal talking about 7 on Lee have said the Yankees will not go 7 for Cliff. Sherman went so far as to call the idea of seven years a dealbreaker for the Yankees. Obviously only time will tell how real the talk on all sides is, but giving Lee 7 years is a mistake. People can talk about CC but CC was 28 Lee is 32 so paying him til he is 39 would be bad.

    • Slugger27

      ive read your first sentence 4 times, and i still dont know what its supposed to say

  • Anthony Murillo

    This isn’t looking good for the Yankees. Do I advocate the Yankees offering him 7 years? Of course not. Six years is a huge gamble already. But we do need Cliff Lee, especially if Andy Pettitte is truly retiring. Sabathia/Burnett/Hughes does not inspire much confidence.

    • http://www.yfsf.org AndrewYF

      Neither does paying Cliff Lee $23M+ for his age 37 through 39 seasons.

  • Carcillo

    If the Rangers, the only other main suitor, are not willing to go six right now (as it appears), and the Yankees are willing to go six, then where the hell will the 7th year come from?

    I guess this is where Lee/Braunecker use their leverage to the max on the Yankees.

    • bonestock94

      According to Ken Rosenthal there is team willing to give 7.

      • bonestock94

        Oh I just realized thats what this post is based on. Disregard.

    • Louis

      I think the team offering 7 years is a bluff. Ya know leverage through the media

  • Evilest Empire

    I think this is the Hobbit smoking too much pipeweed. I know we’re living in a Neo-Werthian age here, but that is tough to imagine. The Rangers won’t offer Lee 7 … would the Angels?

  • Sick Nwisher

    7 years? See ya in Washington.
    Now Cash has to earn his money and make a deal for a starter if in fact this rumor is true.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      ZACK GREINKE! *clap clap clap-clap-clap* Maybe having an actual crowd to back him up gets his confidence up.

      Or GAVIN FLOYD. *clap clap clap-clap-clap*

      He’s a little underrated. Another steal for Cash from Kenny Williams. Pena and Nunez should do it.

      • FIPster Doofus

        As much as I like Floyd, I think he’s more of a Pettitte replacement in terms of skill than the bona fide second ace that Lee is. Greinke is a proven elite pitcher and needs to be the guy if the Yankees lose out on Lee, IMO.

        • Evilest Empire

          It all depends on what the talent cost is, plus I’m not sure if there’s as much trade compatibility between the Yankees and Royals compared to some other interested Greinke suitors.

          Gavin Floyd would be a solid addition, and Yanks already have the frontline starter we *NEED* in CC. They could go to war with a CC/Floyd/Hughes/Burnett fronted rotation.

          I still think we land Lee though, this report means little by itself. I am comforted by Sherman saying that 7 is a dealbreaker though.

          • king of fruitless hypotheticals

            um, no. you can’t go to war. you could probably compete in the AL East tho.

        • JobaWockeeZ

          Oh no doubt. I agree with thsoe sentiments exactly. But I’d like at least one of them if Lee fails and Pettitte goes.

          Even if they ‘only’ get Floyd that doens’t necessarily make the rotation bad. Lee takes them over the top. As said from another poster the Yankees did great the first half of the season with 4 starters then did good enough with one and one half for the second half.

          AL east got tougher sure but realistically they’re still contenders for the WC and the playoffs are a crapshoot anyways. They could bridge out 2011, and see if any Killer B is ready and if not there’s Wandy Rodriguez available or the trade market witht eh various peices the Yanks have.

          I lvoe Greinke as much as the next guy but like Lee I don’t think it’s a pressing need. I could be wrong though.

          • FIPster Doofus

            You and Evilest Empire bring up valid points. After all, when the Yankees won in 2009, they didn’t have an elite pitcher to follow CC in the rotation – just solid complements. Floyd would definitely fit the bill of a good secondary piece after CC.

            Ultimately, I’d feel pretty confident about a top three of Sabathia-Floyd-Hughes. A four-five of Burnett-Nova, on the other hand, yikes.

            • http://twitter.com/Mattpat11 Matt DiBari

              I just have the (probably totally irrational) fear of the Yankees aiming low. When the Yankees go and acquire “nice complementary pieces” for the rotation over the past decade or so, they wind up with someone who doesn’t even meet the lofty standards set before them. Weaver and Wright and Lidle and Neagle and Igawa and Vazquez and so on and so forth. When we go shoot for “pretty good” we get burned bad.

  • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

    I love Cliff Lee, but damn 7 years is way too much. We’re not the Nationals. 6 Years is plenty.

  • teddy

    how about 6 years and an option

  • JobaWockeeZ

    I’ll wait to get worried if someone other than Rosenthal says it. I mean earlier this week he made a post about “Oh I don’t like how only 2 teams are after Lee, let’s make a list of maybe teams to get views.”

    I mean seriously whos offering 7? The stupid teams have made their stupid moves already. It can’t be Kenny Williams here. And I doubt the Natinals think they are two mvoes form actual competition are they? Phillies let him go for this reason. Red Sox are too small market. Mets got smart and they know a signing won’t let them compete in that division. Angels are too in love with speed and TEH GRITINESS. However Crawford is black so that’ll be interesting to see.

    Can’t see who this team is.

  • candyforstalin

    if you’re going to spend 125m on a 5 war/31 yo outfielder, why not give a 7 war/32 yo pitcher 175m?

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Because the Yankees didn’t give a 5 WAR player 125 million over 7 years. That’s the effect of Boras drugging the Natinals. That’s why he didn’t ask other teams to match…

      Regardless having the payroll inflexible for all those years will hurt. Especially when a power bat down the road when A-Rod, Teix and Jeter further decline with their long contracts. Perhaps some regression for Swish will occur too in 3 years.

      Then it’s stuck with Grandy, Cano and like Montero if we’re lucky.

      • candyforstalin

        logically, that would be the nationals’ rationale. not ours.

    • KyleLitke

      From the Nationals perspective? Because they may have some money to play with but they probably don’t have enough to lock over 40 million a year for the next 7 years into 2 players.

  • mbonzo

    I would have laughed at the idea of 7 years yesterday morning. After this Werth contract I have no idea what the Nationals are crazy enough to do.

  • FachoinaNYY

    I can’t see anyone going 7 years for Lee… espcially at 23-25 mill a year.

    Would he want a longer deal at less money? Or would a higher annual value be more important?

    Questions, Questions.

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

      No dollar amounts in Rosenthal’s article, so I agree. Will a team offer 7 years? Maybe. Will a team offer 7 years at 23-25 per? Not buying it.

      And I’m guessing he’ll just taking the bigger overall package.

  • Kevin

    Nobody’s offering this guy 7. It’s Lee and his agent’s fantasy. Yanks should max out at 6.

  • wow

    the seven-year offer will come from the Nationals. How? They are taxpayer funded.

    • mbonzo

      revenue sharing

  • Beamish

    7 years is simply another case of one price for the Yankees and another for everyone else.

    I would rather see them walk away and let him go back to Texas for 4/$92 instead of 6/$138 from NY – who needs $46 million if you cannot extort another year out of the team, right?

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

    I’m not really buying that the Yankees have a “dealbreaker.” I hate to say it, but if it’s gonna take 7 years, I think the Yankees are gonna give 7 years.

    • http://www.yfsf.org AndrewYF


      Cliff Lee is not as essential to the Yankees in 2011 as CC Sabathia was in 2009. You can see it in the team’s strategy: they went literally balls-out to sign Sabathia. It would have been a franchise-crippling loss to have missed out on Sabathia.

      Lee? The Yankees, believe it or not, can actually live without him. It will be tougher to be sure, but they can survive. That’s why you see terms like ‘dealbreaker’ and whatnot. They can actually risk it.

      • Jimmy McNulty

        Well the Red Sox got Adrian…the Yankees staff is looking pretty shitty these days. If Pettitte retires, Cliff Lee is just as big of a necessity as Sabathia was in 2009. I’m not too confident in Hughes, and think he’s a bad fit for the team. It’s pretty much Sabathia and not a whole lot else left in the rotation.

        • Tim

          Really? The got Adrian Gonzalez, but in the process lost Beltre and Victor Martinez. They have no catching, and their offense today is considerably worse than it was last year when the team was fully healthy. Not sure how that makes the Yankees look shitty.

          Don’t get all hot and bothered over a big name. They lost two significant contributors to last year’s team in order to get that “big name”. They haven’t improved (yet). If they had send those four prospects to Miami for Hanley, then you could be nervous – SS was a black hole for them last year, and the acquisition would have made a huge improvement. The Gonzalez deal by itself (and other subsequent player movement) doesn’t make them better.

          • http://bronxbombersreport.com Craig

            I still don’t understand how people can think the Yanks are okay without Lee. Without Lee the Yanks simply do not have enough pitching. Period.

  • Big Stein

    (waves bye-bye)

  • Jonathan

    Well, the whole thing is average annual value to me. If we offer him 6 years $23MM a year it is $138 total. 7 years at $19MM is $133 total. Even when you up it to $20MM it’s just $2MM total. Would he take $2MM to toil in Washington? Even then you have to factor in what he would make once he reaches free agency and unless he Brad Radke’s it he’ll easily top $2 MM in 1 more year.

    I hope this is just a rumor but this is why it pisses me off when people say the Yankees ruin baseball and drive up salaries. It’s the shitty teams that give Werth $126MM that drive up the salaries. If the Nationals sign Lee to a 7 year deal they better pray for contention and soon otherwise they’ll be trading lee to us and kicking in money in a few years.

  • thurdonpaul

    imo, 7 years is to long, for ANY pitcher.

    • Big Stein

      except for Casey Kelly.

      • JT


      • China Joe

        Casey Kelly is so much much than just a pitcher. Did you read Peter Gammons report? He compared him to Josh Beckett AND Evan Longoria

        • JobaWockeeZ

          He’s on the Padres now so he’s only a potential number 2.

        • The Almighty Binder

          Who is this shithead anyway? Is he like Jesus Christ with a live arm?

          • Big Stein

            to quote John Lennon, “the Beatles Casey is bigger than Jesus Christ”

        • Big Stein

          actually he compared him to Lincoln and Gandhi

          • king of fruitless hypotheticals

            it was Josh Beckett and EVA Longoria.

  • The Three Amigos

    Lee’s agent even said he isn’t looking for 7 years, obviously if it drops in their lap they will take it. However, even though money absolutely talks here, there is a difference between the Yankees and Rangers competing over money, as both teams are very competitive. However, the Nats are not close to contending, unless they offer an insane contract like 7/175M I think the competitiveness is a factor too.

    • Chris

      I think it would also come down to how the deal is structured. A backloaded deal or one with a lot of deferred money may look nice on the surface, but the actual present day value may not be much better than a 6 year deal with a slightly higher AAV and better payout structure.


    I understand the logic on why the Nationals might offer Lee 7 years…And this is also for the Werth deal too…They are going about the whole process all wrong. They are not a team that’s close to competing in their division, and if the idea is to put together a “winner” then they need to subscribe to the Tampa Rays guidebook in building a championship caliber team from the ground up, not top down!

  • JeffG

    Anyone think the Tigers could be a dark horse?

    • FIPster Doofus

      Lee-Verlander-Scherzer would make a hell of a top three.

    • mbonzo

      I don’t think the Tigers have the money.

      • Big Stein

        they can pay him in pizzas

        • FIPster Doofus

          “Here’s a DVD box set of “Home Improvement,” an authentic Charles Rogers Lions jersey and some Red Wings tickets. Enjoy.”-Dave Dombrowski

      • JobaWockeeZ

        They shed a lot of payroll but I dont think they’ll go with Lee regardless.

        • mbonzo

          They do, but they need to add another outfielder and although they technically have 5 starting pitchers, number 5 is Phil Coke. I see them in on Webb or CMW. They end up with around $80m now so adding adding Lee would push them over $100m without addressing all their needs. I don’t see it.

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

            Coke is not a SP, and you can count on Webb/CMW for no more than 0 IP this year.

            Their payroll has been 137, 115, and 133 the last 3 years – while eating 50m in dead money last year, and they have an owner who openly said he wants to spend.
            They can sign Lee + Magglio and still not be at 115m.

    • Jonathan

      ya but they still need to fill out an OF

    • vin

      Were they still thinking about starting Phil Coke next year? Is he their Joba?

  • Griffey’s Grotesquely Swollen Jaw

    I look at in a few ways. we either lock up Lee for cash, hope he ages gracefully; not sign Lee, wait for CC to opt out, lock HIM up until he’s 39, hope he ages gracefully; give a lot of prospects to the Royals for Greinke (including TEH Jesus, I suspect) AND pay him an extension. or some combination. all in all I’d go for option 1. just sign Lee. pay for his peak and pray. the Yankees’ greatest strength is their financial muscle and ability to “absorb”(can’t come up with a better word) contracts. All in all given our dearth of options at the moment (starting Nova makes me ill), I opt for paying Lee.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      So what do they do if they sign Lee for somewhere just south of 30 mil and if CC opts out?

      After a while all this absorbing will mark an old and not so good team. I’m sure we would all like to forget but look at 2008.

      If we get Lee for 7 or 8 years, get CC again for another Lee deal since he’s around the same age Lee is when he signed his deal, paying A-Rod 25 million, paying Jeter almsot 20 million, and Teix for 20+ million. In 4 or 5 years that looks bad.

      I don’t even what to know what hughes or Cano is going to demand when that time comes. I know that they’re the Yankees but they have to have a limit here too.

      • Jonathan

        ya 2008 sucked but saying the contracts did it and not looking at the rotation and giving hughes/kennedy spots in the rotation along with the injuries was much worse than any contracts.

      • mike c

        yeah 2008 was bad. good thing we won the world series in 2009

    • Tim

      If they sign Lee, why would they re-sign Sabathia if he opts out? Is he going to get more money than the $23 M per he is already owed for the last four years of his contract? Didn’t they already make this mistake before with A-Rod and learn their lesson?

      Make it clear to CC – if you opt out, you are no longer a Yankee. There is no way his market comes anywhere close to what Lee’s salary would be from the Yankees, or the $23 M per on his original contract, if the Yankees are not a part of the negotiation. Besides, if they sign Lee, they can definitely afford to let CC walk if he does opt out. Which he won’t, by the way.

      • Griffey’s Grotesquely Swollen Jaw

        right, which is why I said that if we don’t sign Lee, we have to wait for CC to opt out and then pay CC until he’s 39. but like you said if we do sign Lee, then that will give us more leverage against CC if he does opt out. no idea how either of them will age but given the mileage on his arm, I’d hedge my bets against CC.

  • PatsWin

    I just really really hope the yankees don’t give 7 years, I don’t think we need lee as much as everyone thinks. Would I love to have him on the team yeah, do i think we should give him 7 years? heeeeelllll no, especially with the contracts we have already on the team.

  • Brooklyn Ed

    The Rangers are waiting on Lee before moving on to other top free agent targets, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com, who suggests (on Twitter) that the market for Lee is heating up tonight.

    CC Sabathia announcement part 2? I seriously remember the signing late at night, and I wasn’t even in bed yet too. I’m just dreaming anyways.

    • mbonzo

      I think its more likely to happen tomorrow night, but that won’t stop me from staying up.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      …They couldn’t do this on normal hours? What, were they watching the Patriots smackdown or something? So it’s either stay up and see how the Yankees are affected long term and be tired for school or sleep and be a little less tired. I gotta set priorities so looks like I’m staying up.

      • Brooklyn Ed

        same here, damn back to back projects due on the same day.

      • Big Stein


        what grade are you in?

    • Big Stein

      “the market for Lee is heating up tonight.”

      Really, they got hawt call-girls down in Orlando? I thought all the good action was in Miami.

  • ZZ

    I’ll eat my shoe if Rosenthal’s report is correct. It’s all part of the game.

    • mbonzo

      Oh man, now torn between wanting the Yankees to get him with a 6 year contract and the Yankees to get him with a 7 year contract.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Agreed. Is it a coincidence he’s the only one reporting this after making this article to prove that he was right?


      It may be my bias speaking but I’ll wait for one more source.

    • http://twitter.com/steveh_mandaura Steve H

      And the Yankees leaking that they are dead set against going 7 is the other side of the game. This is “CC is set on California” all over again.

    • Jimmy McNulty

      Rosenthal usually has legit dope.

  • ZZ

    As strange as this may sound right now, but these reports the past 2 days reinforce my confidence in Lee coming to the Yankees.

    Everything on Lee in the past 48 hours has more or less had an anti-Yankee spin. A message saying he is not coming to the Yankees. When that happens in regard to a bidder who is as committed as the Yankees are to getting Lee that is often a positive sign.

    In my estimation Braunecker has collected the information he needs from all the interested parties and knows the Yankees will be the high bidder at the end of the day.

    Therefore, the only matter left is, how high that high bid is exactly going to be. He is doing everything he can to try to push the Yankees that year or those extra dollars. He is trying to make the Yankees feel insecure so they go even higher.

    Right now I believe this negotiation is between Braunecker and the Yankees. How high he gets them to go beyond their opening offer will define how good a job he did for his client.

    I’m confident reading all these leaks that Lee will be a Yankee.

  • Reggie C.

    Holding steady at 6 years … that’s got to be the course for the Yankees. Of course, not getting that 7th year will be softened by the very likely event that Lee will receive $23 million per. I’m very confident Cliff Lee is a Yankee by week’s end.

    • mike c

      6/150, where have i heard that before?

  • ItsATarp

    Okay which team honestly has enough money and resources to give lee 7 years? i only see the yanks, and they aren’t that stupid. Maybe the nationals but that would be a good laugh to see them just be stupid.

  • MikeD

    Some team could offer 7/140. The Yankees could offer 6/141. So it’s not just about the years.

  • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

    You want a seventh year? Have fun looking up at four teams in the NL East for the foreseeable future.

  • Jimmy McNulty

    Question if you’re willing to offer 6/140…is 7/150 that much worse? One extra year and ten million more, doesn’t seem too awful.

  • http://bloodfarm.tumblr.com matt damon wayans

    Anything more than 5 years is ridiculous. No doubt the rotation is in question next year but there has got to be a better way.

    • TLVP

      hey its only money

  • Larry G

    Lee would not go to Washington….This is between teh Yanks and Rangers…

  • Larry G

    Lee would not go to Washington….This is between the Yanks and Rangers…

  • OldYanksFan

    The Nats just gave Werth $126m. NO WAY they can afford Lee. Texas could never afford him. Even 6 years is too much for us. Our future commitments/age would be nuts.

    5/$120m WILL get it done!
    Really… who will offer more?

    • Monteroisdinero

      The Jeter argument. We still sweetened the deal.