Cafardo: "Word Is" Yankees To Offer Lee 5 Years, 115 Million

Via MLB Trade Rumors:

“Word is” that the Yankees are currently willing to offer Cliff Lee about $115MM over five years. Cafardo says the Rangers are aiming to match whatever the bidding gets up to, while the Nationals are also still in the hunt. Earlier in the week, Nolan Ryan said he didn’t expect Texas to be able to outbid the Yanks for Lee.

That’s $23 million per year through 2015, a year when Lee will turn 38 years old.

It’s hard to express how dangerous this offer is. In 2015, the Yankees will be paying Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, and Cliff Lee a total of 89.5 million dollars. Lee will be 38, Rodriguez will be 40, Teixeira will be 36 and Sabathia will be 35. This is a recipe for disaster. And hell, Derek Jeter will probably still be demanding $25 million.

The Yankees are essentially sacrificing the middle part of this decade for a marginally better shot at making the playoffs in the early part of it. A huge portion of the Yankee payroll will be locked up in a few fond memories of once-great players. I don’t plan on dieing or become a Mets fan (Poll: Which is worse?) in the next five years, so I wholeheartedly oppose this deal.

The Yankees shouldn’t bet all their cards on one or two seasons. They have a strong farm system and massive budget that allows them to set up as perpetual contenders. That status is only endangered by stupid, short term decisions like this one.

E.J. Fagan been blogging about Yankee baseball since 2006. He is a Ph.D. student at University of Texas at Austin.

About EJ Fagan

E.J. Fagan been blogging about Yankee baseball since 2006. He is a Ph.D. student at University of Texas at Austin.

43 thoughts on “Cafardo: "Word Is" Yankees To Offer Lee 5 Years, 115 Million

  1. I couldn’t disagree more. I dont see the huge downside on a deal like this. I have no issue with paying for elite players. Worst case is what? That he is merely good by the end of the deal?

  2. I think Lee will age well. Like Andy, he’s less about stuff than he is control, and he has control that Andy could only dream of having. Being a lefty in Yankee Stadium helps, too. I’d prefer 5, but won’t go crazy about 6.

    Seven, however, would be insane. Let’s hope it doesn’t go that far. If it does, let’s hope the Yanks drop out at that point.

  3. Lee more than “marginally” helps our chances over the next few years. Plus with Lee on board Pettite may want to chase another ring and come back.

  4. if it was any other team i’d agree with you. but the yankees can afford to overpay these players in decline. and if cliff lee makes the difference in a few championships between now and then it makes some payroll inflexibility in the future worth it. it’s just the premium you have to pay for top free agents, you’re always going to end up paying too much in the later years. their mistake was the arod contract since no other team would have come close, but this cliff lee offer is fine.

  5. One question…. I understand Alex had a down year for himself and overall he was the dominate stick in the lineup he once was but if the “new norm” is 30 HRs and 100 RBI with a .270 BA I would be willing to take that, you would have to move Cano to the 4th spot but how many 3rd baseman are consistently hitting 30 a year?

    I mean yeah I would love to see Alex’s .400 OBP comeback who wouldn’t but I really think people are going overboard on his decline, he missed time on the DL when he was heating up and came off the DL just as hot, he was clearly hurt at the early part of the year and he probably needed some time off earlier in the season but anyone writing off a 34 year old for 30 and 100 needs to remember we aren’t in the steroid era anymore.

  6. To add to Trev’s point Lee doesn’t “help us make the playoffs” he helps gives us a much better chance of winning the world series, almost every offense the last 2 seasons has been shut down in the late rounds of the playoffs by dominate pitching I think we could make the playoffs next year without Lee but winning the World Series as is or with Pettitte is impossible.

    The New York Yankees don’t do anything to “make the playoffs” Cliff Lee is strictly a World Series move in the mind of the brass which is why it is a good signing, this isn’t a guy who has to make us good he just makes us that much better.

  7. Whether or not we sign Lee, the contracts down the road are still gonna suck and we’re not gonna be that good anyway with a 35+ year olds in CC, Tex, A-Rod, Jeter maybe, etc.

    I will gladly sign Lee to go all in now at the expense of being financially handcuffed in 2014. Especially since we’re going to be handcuffed anyway.

    Plus, Lee is one of the few pitchers in baseball who I’d bet money on still being productive at 38.

  8. This sounds good to me. Offer 5/120 with a club option for $25 million with a $5 million buyout. If the Rangers or the Nats match that and he wants to go there, he can have fun. i doubt anyone matches that.

    Stand firm, Yankees. You don’t wanna start bidding against yourselves

  9. Let’s all be fan’s, and not accountants. Remember, as long as the Yanks win, they make money, lot’s and lot’s of it. Their finance people probably are a little more versed in the nuances of the books (player depreciations for example). When the old guard in 3-6 years can’t play they’ll be written off and new faces that can play will come in. None of this is carved in stone of course. The United States or world economy could go into the crapper at which point very few of us will care too much about Yankee money. “So smile for a while and let’s be jolly, life shouldn’t be so melancholy….”

  10. I’ve read $115,& $120 for five years. That in itself is not a big deal, but, Before the Texas series RAB had a
    nugget from Frank Piliere, that Arod wasn’t using his lower body to swing anymore. If that is a mechanical
    problem it’s not a big deal. On the other hand, if it is a structural problem from his hip injury it’s very big problem. The choice would seem to be in a rapidly declining Arod do you spend now for a chance to win now, or
    bite the bullet now in hopes of rebuilding while still contending. I side with EJ on this, but the Yankees just raised ticket prices…They have made a different decision.

  11. This totally misses the point. Except for Kevin, no one has even considered what t he financial landscape will look like in 2015. Heck, people used to scoff in 2000 when I predicted the Yankee payroll would keep climbing to over $200M.

    In 2015, we could be looking at a payroll of $300M to $350M–in which case the $90M or so tied up in these players leaves plenty of room to field a great team.

    How could the Yankees support such a budget? I think we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg regarding how much more money can be made by baseball via the Internet marketing opportunities. Things like private social networks where fans get to talk to players directly, rising ticket prices, more advertising, moreprograms on Yes geared to selling more ads, etc–these new potential cash cows and others will emerge and the player payroll budget will surely continue to climb.

    You are predicting the future as if the revenues will be fixed–a serious flaw in your analysis.

  12. He never posted a sub 4 ERA after 37 and when he was 37 he posted a 3.96 but even in that season as I recall he was number 3 in that Cubs rotation, he maintained an “aces” numbers through 36-37 but after that was more of the middle of the rotation guy and that’s where he pitched the last few years of his career.

    I guess we can only hope that Lee can duplicate Maddux’s 2002 season at age 36 when he posted a 2.62 ERA and went 16-6 in 199 IP.