Archive for Cliff Lee
Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees have added a seventh year to Cliff Lee’s offer. There aren’t more details, but I presume this happened last night after the Crawford news broke. Last night Ken Rosenthal reported that Lee would make his decision before the end of this weekend.
Via Ken Rosenthal, Cliff Lee is expected to decide on his new team by the end of the weekend. The Yankees made the lefty a huge offer today, and I have to think that they’re in the lead for his services. All I know is that this weekend has the potential to be very very good or very very bad.
Brian Cashman confirmed to reporters not too long ago that the team did in fact made an offer to free agent lefty Cliff Lee today. Earlier it appeared that the Yankees didn’t get a chance to make an offer before agent Darek Braunecker took off. Details of the offer are unknown, but it’s widely believed to be six years and somewhere around $140M.
This morning we heard some writers float an interesting idea: could the Yankees add both Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford if Andy Pettitte retired and they flipped one of their outfielders? It sounded interesting, if a bit unrealistic. I decided to put together a spreadsheet, based on the one found at Cot’s Baseball Contracts. I took out Pettitte and Swisher while adding $24 million for Lee and $18.75 million for Crawford. Here’s how it would play out:
Add in another $10 or so million for arbitration raises (per B-Ref), and the payroll gets to around $220 million. That’s a bit above last year, but it still seems within the realm of possibility. I did take the liberty of naming the fifth starter as Ricky Nolasco, but that could be any starter making around $6 million. It could be even lower if they went with Ivan Nova instead of an outside pitcher in that fifth start spot.
Of course, signing Lee and Crawford would add plenty of money to future payrolls. He’s how the Yankees would look from 2012 through 2016 were they to sign those two.
And that’s before they play a single zero to six player. Maybe winning in the earlier years will make the later years sustainable. But those numbers just don’t seem within the realm of possibility.
Via Jerry Crasnick, Cliff Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker has left the winter meetings, meaning there will be no deal made here. It’s unclear if the Yankees were even able to make their reported six-year offer today. I have to say, this Braunecker character is really starting to get on my nerves, and I’m not even doing business with him. What’s so hard about soliciting offers worth hundreds of millions of dollars on your client’s behalf and not playing hard to get? He’s going to end up costing Lee money with his crap.
Update (3:35 p.m.): Braunecker’s hold-up is also going to leave the Yanks in flux for now. Ken Davidoff says that the Yanks are “unlikely to commit more payroll” to other roster areas until the Lee situation is resolved, and he notes that Andy Pettitte will “probably stay undecided” about pitching in 2011 until Lee signs. The waiting is the hardest part.
Via Jon Heyman, the Yankees will make a “very strong” six-year offer to Cliff Lee today. He guesses that it’ll be worth $23M for year, though anywhere from $20M-25M would not be surprising. It’s about time we got some movement on this front, the offseason doesn’t last forever.
Update (11:36 a.m.): Joel Sherman is hearing six years for $140-$150 million. That’s one enticing amount for an initial offer.
Of course they can. But are they willing to take the payroll to that level? That remains to be seen. Buster Olney says Brian Cashman had a long meeting with Carl Crawford’s people last night, and that Crawford himself might have even been there. Jayson Stark adds that if Andy Pettitte does indeed retire, the team is hinting that they’ll have room for both Crawford and Cliff Lee. I suspect this is all posturing though, Darek Braunecker is playing games and Cashman wants to get the ball rolling with Lee. Showing interest in Crawford is likely nothing more than a decoy.
I honestly hope you had something better to do than follow the Cliff Lee saga today. Because unless you favor the theater of the absurd, you likely got nowhere but frustrated. Here’s what happened, in essence.
- The Nats are “very much” in on Cliff Lee, to the point that they’d offer seven years.
- Two hours later: oops, the Nats aren’t in on Lee.
- A team not named the Nats has offered Lee seven years.
- Wait, now there are two teams who have offered seven years. It’s a double mystery!
- Right on cue, the Angels are mentioned as suitors. Not only that, they could trade a pitcher to make room for him.
- Of course, amid all of these rumors, we hear that the two presumed suitors, the Yankees and the Rangers, not only won’t go to seven years, but also haven’t been allowed to make an offer. So random mystery teams can offer seven years when seven years is insane, but the Yankees can’t make their own offer.
It adds up to nothing but a mockery. Given the way this week has unfolded, there’s absolutely no reason to pay attention to anything said about Lee until he’s on the verge of signing a deal. It’s pretty clear that Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker, is trying to play everyone. I don’t blame him. But he can’t blame me for tuning out.
The last two days have featured plenty of talk but basically no action on the Cliff Lee front, but Brian Cashman told reporters today that he’s ready to make the free agent lefty an offer. “If they’re willing to take [an offer] and they’re ready to close something out, I’m willing to get serious,” said Cash. “We’re just waiting for them to get to that position.” Apparently Darek Braunecker isn’t ready to take offers just yet, though he reportedly has two seven-year offers in hand. That sounds like nothing more than agent speak to me.
If a Cliff Lee deal is going to get done this week, they’ll have to get things moving pretty quickly. We heard last week that his agent, Darek Braunecker, wasn’t going to take any offers until the Winter Meetings commenced. “He wants to be the ringmaster at the winter meetings,” said a source of ESPN New York’s Wallace Matthews. Yet here we are, almost done with Day 2 of the Winter Meetings, and Braunecker still hasn’t started fielding offers, according to Ken Rosenthal.
The Yankees have refrained from making an offer to Lee at the request of his agent, Darek Braunecker, according to sources in contact with the club.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, anxious to close a deal, has privately expressed his frustration to others at the winter meetings about the team’s inability to move the negotiations along, sources say.
Emphasis mine. The Yankees’ interest in Lee is universally known, and Braunecker is going to use this to his advantage. His strategy apparently includes making the Yankees sweat. With no viable alternatives readily available, there’s not much that the Yankees can do about this. All they can do is continue to wait for Braunecker to accept an offer.
There is hope, though, that the situation gets moving tonight. Marc Carig reports that Brian Cashman will meet with Braunecker tonight. We’ve heard a slew of rumors today, including a team, not necessarily the Nationals, willing to offer seven years. It appears to go hand-in-hand with rumors we’ve heard already, which mostly sound like a ploy to get the Yankees’ offer to six, or maybe even seven, years. There’s a chance we could find out more on that front in a few hours.
It is interesting that the two sides are meeting tonight, after moving slowly through the process to this point. It almost resembles the CC Sabathia situation from two years ago. That situation moved slowly — not at all, really, since the Yankees made an offer in mid-November and didn’t hear back until the Meetings — but it started to gain steam not on Tuesday during the day, but Tuesday evening. I’m not as optimistic that something moves with Lee tonight. Then again, I wasn’t at all optimistic that Cashman would get anything done with Sabathia at the 2008 meetings.
For right now we’re left with a mostly unclear situation. Maybe it becomes clearer after Braunecker meets with Cashman this evening. But even if it does I don’t expect anything to get done this week. Lee and his agent are going to take their time getting something done, no matter what other teams think of it.