Taking On Cliff Lee’s Contract

In an unsurprising turn of events, the Phillies placed Cliff Lee on waivers yesterday. There were some rumors that the Yankees had talked to the Phillies about trading for the starting pitcher before the trade deadline, but only to hit an impasse when the Phillies GM Ruben Amaro demanded top prospects and refused to include money. Now that we’re into August, players must be put on waivers to be traded. If Lee clears waivers, or the Yankees put in a claim, there is a possibility the left hander could finally wear pinstripes.

To be honest, I thought the time of Lee in pinstripes had passed when he rejected a reported 7 year $150 million deal, only to take a discount with the Phillies. I would assume the Yankees believed so too by publicly stating that they are attempting to reach a $189m budget in 2014, and were unlikely to take on any big contracts. However, the Yankees recent interest in July, and the absence of the team from his no-trade clause, continues to inspire speculation that a trade could happen.… Click here to read the rest

Cliff Lee has a point

In case you missed it, Cliff Lee was recently interviewed by Angelo Cataldi of WIP radio in Philadelphia and made some choice comments regarding the Yankees and why he passed on the opportunity to play in the Bronx. Deadspin has the report.

(BTW-The original post was written by Chris Fedor of Sports Radio Interviews. For the complete highlights and audio of the interview, click here.)

Texas probably finished second to be honest with you. Just as far as the quality of the team and the chance to win a World Series ring, I think they’re a better team. That’s just my opinion. The Yankees can do anything at any moment to improve and they’re not afraid to go do things. That was part of the decision making process too, but I felt like with what the Red Sox had done and it seems like some of the Yankee guys are getting older, but I liked the Rangers.”

It was no secret that the Rangers were privately snickering at the Yanks during the ALCS last year.… Click here to read the rest

Midnight Tweets (updates on Chuck Greenberg, Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore)

(Hey, all you people that tryin’ to sleep, I’m out to make it with my Midnight Tweets)

SI_JonHeyman Jon Heyman
Chuck greenberg is out as texas rangers managing partner after 7 mnths. Jeff wilson, ft. worth star-telegram, 1st suggested 
chuck greenberg managed to upset a lot of people as managing partner but undoing came after he upset nolan ryan (sources)

Deadspin The Yankees Were Last On Cliff Lee’s Wish List deadspin.com

BloggingBombers Ivan Nova, on whether the wind was blowing out on Jose Bautista’s homer: “If I strike him out, the wind doesn’t matter.”

NYPost_Kernan #Yankees Phil Hughes: “cutter was awful, changeup was good” Got 6 of his 12 outs on changeups.

YankeesWFAN Granderson 0 HR in 49 ABs last spring, 3 HR first 22 AB this spring.

Ledger_Yankees Star Ledger
Cashman says he’s contacted Yanks scouts/contacts in Japan. They’re ok. But major concern for Igawa now. Igawa is from Oarai which was submerged in the tsunami.
Buster_ESPN Grady Sizemore ran at full speed on Thursday, cutting, stopping and starting; it’s the best day he’s had so far.
Click here to read the rest

Playing the ‘What if’ game with Cliff Lee

Brian Cashman was recently interviewed by Larry Stone of the Seattle Times about what went down in the ill-fated Cliff Lee negotiations. Given how things have played out since, we now have some context to put those trade talks into. But as Brian lays out, we are are still left with many unanswered questions. He begins:

“It is what it is,” Cashman said Tuesday. “You don’t have a deal until you officially have a deal. Our guy, Adams, didn’t pass the medicals. They went back to the original stuff I had been saying no to all along.”

Brian is referring to Yankee AA 2B prospect David Adams, who suffered what was at the time described as a “high ankle sprain” on May 23 sliding into second base in a game at Portland’s Hadlock Field. He was on the DL at the time of the Cliff Lee trade talks, which broke down on July 9th. After attempting to rehab the injury over the next few months, on July 29th VP of player development Mark Newman reported that the ankle was broken, not sprained.… Click here to read the rest

Cliff Lee aftermath: Yankees fans should leap for joy

Note: This updates an earlier post on the Cliff Lee deal that focused more on Lee’s decision. This one examines the non-deal from the Yankees’ perspective.

This morning’s response from Yankees fans to Cliff Lee’s decision to sign with the Phillies ran the gamut from grief to anger, spite to despair. Let’s be clear: the 2011 rotation sans Cliff Lee has a lot of question marks. There’s no doubt the team would have been stronger this season with Lee than without him.

But, for several reasons, Yankees fans should be ecstatic with the outcome of the negotiations.

First, there’s Lee’s age and health. Yes, as I argued earlier today, he’s a control pitcher – and although he can hit the low and even mid-90s now, he’s well-suited to pitch into his later years. But counting on any pitcher — even one as good as Lee — to remain effective into his late-30s with the number of innings he racks up is a wild card.Click here to read the rest

Cliff Lee’s Worth (The “No Panic” Edition)

To start, let me express my gratitude to Dave Cameron at FanGraphs, who has written a series of posts using the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) statistic to value the deals made this off-season with Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth and others. Cameron is a guru of WAR, so I feel comfortable following his approach in examining the Yankees’ offer to Cliff Lee. Cameron has valued the current crop of free agent deals at $5 million per each WAR to be added by the free agent in question. Looking at this in simplest terms, Cliff Lee has produced about 7 WAR over the past three years, making him worth about $35 million for each of those years.

(Does $5 million per WAR seem high to you? It seems high to me, too. But most experts value WAR in free agency at between $4 and $5 million per WAR. Cameron has estimated a dollars per WAR figure that has been steadily growing towards $5 million per WAR.Click here to read the rest

Goldstein: The (Cliff Lee) Winner Finishes Second

Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus recently published a piece (subs required) where he posits something that I know many Yankee fans have been ruminating about in recent days, myself included. The money and years in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes have reached a point where the team that loses the bidding will ultimately be better off. He writes:

Meanwhile, we continue to wait, with Rangers fans hoping to keep the hero that led their team to their first World Series, and Yankee fans wishing to prove that their team’s financial might can bring them the biggest free agent name once again. 1-At this point, I’d recommend that both fans start rooting for the other side, as the ‘winning’ the Cliff Lee sweepstakes has all the makings of a classic Pyrrhic victory.

The age aspect of any deal is easy to see, as no matter the length, Lee will be well into the downside of his career during the latter part of the contract.Click here to read the rest

Book it: Cliff Lee is going to be a Yankee

As we continue to wait on Cliff Lee, my confidence that he’s coming to the Yankees was emboldened by Jon Heyman’s and Tom Verducci’s latest columns for SI.com. Heyman writes (emphasis mine):

“In the race for free agent left-hander Cliff Lee, people familiar with the talks indicate that the New York Yankees have a big advantage over the Texas Rangers in terms of total guaranteed dollars offered and also have one more guaranteed year currently on the table.

Heyman also reiterates Lee’s apparent love of the Rangers and the proximity to his home in Arkansas. However, the most important nugget in the article is the fact that the Rangers’ initial offer was apparently for five years and $100 million — the first time I’ve seen an actual dollar figure attached to a Texas offer.

While we don’t know the exact dollars being bandied about by the two teams, we do know this: the Yankees have offered seven years and a total package that is believed to be worth in the neighborhood of CC Sabathia‘s $161 million.… Click here to read the rest