Yankees not pursuing Cliff Lee

Phil Hughes Q&A at FanGraphs
Game 99: "If you ain't first, you're last"

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but the Yankees are not pursuing Cliff Lee according to Joel Sherman. There’s been some thought that Philadelphia would look to move the veteran left-hander in an effort to save money after signing Cole Hamels long-term. The Yankees are one of nine teams on Lee’s no-trade list, plus Jon Heyman says the Phillies plan to keep him at least through the deadline anyway.

Lee, 33, is having his worst season in five years (3.95 ERA and 3.40 FIP) but is still pretty darn good. He’s been much more homer prone (1.14 HR/9) than at any other point since turning into the Cy Young Award winning version of himself. The Yankees probably don’t have the prospects to land a pitcher of Lee’s caliber anyway, especially if they want the other team to foot some of the bill. Their non-interest in Lee isn’t terribly surprising, but you know, just in case you were wondering.

Phil Hughes Q&A at FanGraphs
Game 99: "If you ain't first, you're last"
  • Eddard

    Good. We don’t need to be trading the farm for this guy. We’ve got Andy. We already have a good rotation. What we need is a starting catcher who can hit his own weight. That’s the only place we really need to upgrade.

    • rbibaseball

      I don’t think Nova and Garcia are going to be that reliable down the stretch. The rotation is fine once the Yankees are in the playoffs, but how much longer are you going to have faith in Nova, who leads the league in extra base hits allowed, and Freddy? Does Pettitte come back healthy? Will there be a setback? Why take the risk. I’m not saying go out and get Lee, but the Yankees need another starter.

      • Eddard

        No. Phelpsy can replace Garcia until Andy returns. Nova isn’t going anywhere. These are the #4 and #5 starters and won’t be in the playoff rotation. Last year these guys were our #2 and #3 in the playoffs so that’s how much our rotation has improved. We don’t need to trade the farm for a Dempster, or a frightened Greinke or injured Garza. How many guys out there are better than what we have now? Not many so let’s just stand pat.

    • jayd808

      That’s what I say. You know of any 280lb catchers out there?

      • Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost

        *Fatolo Colon waddles to the dugout, grabs catchers mitt…*

  • jjyank

    Lee had his chance to play for the Yankees. He can stay out in Philly and continue to lose.

  • Chad

    Yanks arent on his no trade list according to sherman tweet

    • Mandy Stankiewicz

      yea I think that’s a typo. I think it was suppose to say ‘not on his no-trade list’

  • Kevin

    Lee had his chance and chose not to. And all due respect to his wife,two or three fans being $#@ doesn’t give you the right to label the entire fanbase that way.
    I have plenty of friends who can attest to how they were treated when they went to Philly.

    • Mike R.

      Cliff Lee said that’s not the reason he didn’t sign in NY.

      But anyway, I’m glad the Yankees didn’t sign him.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    I’d wager this Lee non-trade gets a lot less comments this time around.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Obviously Jesus Montero was spared. Little did we know it was irrelevant and probably for the best if he had been traded at that time.

  • Dicka24

    Cliff Lee will be 34 in August. He’s signed through 2015, with a club option for 2016. This year he makes $21.4 million. 2013-15 he makes $75 million ($25 million per). Then there’s the club option for 2016 at $27.5 million, but that option has a $12.5 million buyout. So basically, worst case scenario a team acquiring Lee, and not including what’s left this year, would be on the hook for a minimum 3 years and $87.5 million, through Lee’s age 37 season. With the option it’s 4 years/$102.5 million. I love Lee, but that’s is one serious pile of coin. I mention this because I don’t think a team that acquires Lee, would be giving up an elite package of prospects. I think the contract, and his age, will bring the price down. I could absolutely be wrong, but were I a GM, I’d be wary of giving up a ton in cheap talent, and then having to pay a ton via those contract terms.

  • Brian S.

    Fuck Cliff Lee.

    • Knoxvillain

      You stole the words out of my mouth verbatim.

    • goterpsgo


  • Brian S.

    OT but what is with Abe Almonte playing for SI today?

  • steve (different one)

    Ramiro Pena to Seattle for Smoak. Smoak for Lee.

    • Knoxvillain

      Pena and Nunez to Seattle for Smoak and Montero. Smoak and Montero for Lee.

  • frank

    The Yankees are one of nine teams on Lee’s wife no-trade list.


  • Gonzo

    Was Cliff Lee Cashman’s white whale?

    • Steve (different one)

      He was. I bet he looke into trading for him all 3 times and made a huge FA offer.

  • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

    The Yanks are too old for Cliff Lee in any case.

  • jjyank


    Sounds like a non-issue anyway. Would the Rangers actually consider trading for Lee twice? Wow.

    • Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost

      I literally laughed out loud when I read that. I hope they try it. It would be so awesome to watch them continue to give up prospects for a guy that didn’t want to sign there.

      It would be equally awesome for Lee to end up with a team he didn’t want to sign with. Cliff Lee is an uberdouche.

  • literallyfigurative

    how’s that “I’m going to Philly because I want to win” decision working out for ya, Cliff?

  • RI$P FTW

    Yanks lose Montero and neither Lee or Pineda have pitched one inning as a Yankee.
    My bum hurts.

  • http://thecarsboneblog.tumblr.com Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

    He should stay in Phillie, they’re younger and are going to be contending for longer. We’re too old and injury prone, our window is closing. God he must feel like a dumb ass.

  • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

    No sense in giving up the farm for him when he could have come here a year and a half younger for nothing more than money.

    I hope the lasting memory of his career will be losing in the world series to the Yankees when he and/or his manager were too pussy to pitch him on 3 days rest.

    • RetroRob

      There would few, if any prospects in a trade for Lee. It would be pure salary relief for the Phils. The Lee-to-NY ship has sailed, thankfully.

  • jayd808

    Boston is jumping with outrage over the abduction of Wally the Green Monster. Rumor has it he shows at the stadium tonight wearing a Jeter jersey. Oh the shame…the shame…

  • RetroRob

    With the great “discount” Lee gave the Phillies, he is owed $29.1M each year over the next three years. Even if he was still at peak skill, which is now under question, the answer is pass, pass, pass.

    • Jacob

      I think an almost $30mm per year 33 year old in decline sounds very appealing, He can play 3rd base right?

      • RetroRob

        Either the best- or worst-case scenario (I’m really not sure which is which) is Lee will cost more than $25M a year for the next four years, through 2016. The other side of the either best- or worse-case scenario is he is owed on average $29.1M for the next three years (through 2015), which takes into account his $12.5M buy-out. If I had to pick, I’m guessing the $25M per for the next four seasons is the best-case scenario since it means he pitched well enough to pitch enough innings to cause 2016 go automatically vest. I don’t believe he will. He’ll either be injured, or his performance will decline and the Phillies will make sure the contract doesn’t vest.

        The Yankees have their own contract issues, no need to add this one in. If they’re going to add $25-$30M additional expenditure, make it something that’s needed and not in decline.

        Now if the Phillies want to pay $19M of the $29M each year, then that could change the equation. Don’t see that happening, though, since they’re basically trying to win now.

        • not that mike

          does the theoretical philly contribution to the salary count against the Yankees 2014 plan? if so, he is not worth it at most any level, especailly considering the package to be given up to get him

  • bil

    They dont need another “Has Been” anyway!

  • Jacob

    I remember when I was soooo pissed we did not get him, then I got faith in Cashman and now I feel pretty good!

    Get Faith in Cashman is only $9.99 if you buy now!

  • Now Batting

    On a sort of unrelated note, I’m surprised the Phillies extended Cole. He said he would be willing to give the Phillies first shot at signing him in the offseason if he was traded. They didn’t exactly sign him to a team-friendly deal either. Sure it carries risk, but trading him for prospects then signing him for 6/$144 in the offseason would have been a good deal.

  • Rich in NJ

    There is no way the Yankees should trade top prospects for yet another pitcher.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      While I agree it shouldn’t cost top prospects if you’re taking a contract like that.

      And if Cashman has to risk getting a pitcher then I’d rather it be Cliff Lee than a one year guy.

  • pistol pete

    I’d love to have Lee if Philly takes on some of the money and we give up virtually nothing. Among Phil, Freddy, and Ivan Lee is better than all of them and certainly more playoff proven. He also provides a solid lefthander next year in case Andy retires again. CC Lee and Andy sounds pretty good to me in the playoffs. The Yanks are about winning championships and Lee can handle the big stage. Can’t say that about the other 3 I mentioned. If he’s available and healthy the Yankees have to inquire.

  • Ichy and Irok hello to number 28


  • Rebelwb

    Lee chose Philly bc one of his kids was really ill during his 1st stint in Philly and was hospitalized at CHoP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) requiring specialty care at a premier institution. He was so grateful for the care provided that he chose to sign with Philly that particular off season. Medical grapevine amigos. He tried to spin that bit about the Yankees being “old” maybe bc he didnt want to reveal the truth? Or maybe us Yankee fans being savage? Dunno. Its that simple. Lotsa little back stories to baseball.

    Just like why didnt the Sux re-sign Orlando Cabrera after 2004 as their SS? It’s bc he shagged poor Keith Foulkes wife in the aftermath of the WS victory. Talk about POS. Gotta love O. Cab. No effing way the Sux could bring him back. Ball players are people too. Just stupider in some ways. Great talent & athleticism but just stupid and not smart. Like Arod.

    He’s also a wuss. Rolling on the ground in pain for a non-displaced fracture of his hand? I’ve seen teenage girls punch walls and not shed a tear. Arod? He’s writhing on the ground in pain. I wouldve checked a pregnancy test on Arod if he did that with me. And would’ve been laughing at him behind his back.

    • A-Rod Apologist

      How about you get hit with an 88mph changeup and tell me how it feels douche.

  • HTY

    The Yankees, along with the Rangers, are one of the nine teams on his no veto list. He CAN be traded there without his consent.