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The Yankees shouldn’t count on signing Cliff Lee

Oct 20, 2010, 3:33 PM EDT

Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics Getty Images

Not if Chuck Greenberg has anything to say about it. Which he did a few minutes ago, when he told writers at the Rangers-Yankees game that Texas is prepared to bid competitively for Cliff Lee this winter. His words: “we’re not going into it with a peashooter.”

The Rangers just signed a big TV deal. If they take care of Yankee business today, Friday or Saturday, the World Series juju will no doubt lead to a nice uptick in season ticket sales. And of course, you can never underestimate the ego and competitiveness of a pro sports owner in Texas. In a town where Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban make headlines for putting an extra cream in their coffee, you can bet that part of Chuck Greenberg really wants to make a splash.

And if you’re Cliff Lee — Arkansas native Cliff Lee — wouldn’t you rather face the anemic AL West offenses all season as a team’s bona fide ace than to head to the AL East where the competition is tougher and where, if you have one bad season, you’re cast as a goat a la A.J. Burnett.

But I’m just speculating in a vacuum here. Who knows what motivates ballplayers to choose the teams they choose, at least if the money is roughly equal. All I know is that it will be nice if the Yankees have some competition for Lee’s services this offseason. Especially if that competition comes from a Texas Rangers team that has, in the space of a little over a week, catapulted itself into the national limelight.

  1. Ari Collins - Oct 20, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    As a Sox fan, I hope that Texas really is in it. If they don’t keep Lee from the Yanks, they can at least make them go something ridiculous like 8/200 or something.

  2. skipperxc - Oct 20, 2010 at 3:46 PM

    As a Brewers fan, I hope the Rangers manage to keep him. I like me a little competitive balance.

  3. BC - Oct 20, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    Maybe the Angels get into it?

  4. sdelmonte - Oct 20, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    It depends a lot on how happy Cliff is in that locker room. Had he been a free agent last year, I think the Phils would not have had much of a chance even with the money. There wasn’t a great match.

    We know that there is one guy in the Yankees locker room who is a good friend, and who loves it there (CC). If there is someone like that already in Texas, things could shift.

    Or not.

  5. Jonny 5 - Oct 20, 2010 at 3:54 PM

    I already covered this one. Being in the AL West wasn’t one of my “reasons” either even though it’s almost as good.. From a post by Bob H.

    ” Nolan Ryan must have been feeling smug.

    He certainly sounded like it when asked how much it would cost to keep the pending free agent pitcher ”

    Go across the hall and ask them. I think he got their attention tonight.”

    Smug? I don’t think it was as smug as you did. It sounds more like a good dig to me. I mean EVERYONE in NY and the national media has been Jawing for nearly 2 years now about how Lee is going to be a Yankee. WHO THE HELL IS SMUG AGAIN?
    Now that’s out of my system. I have a list of reasons why Lee will not end up in NY.
    1.Lee does grow attached to his teamates pretty quickly, they spend alot of time together.
    2.Lee is a country boy, and he’ll love Texas, Lee will hate NYC and he knows it.
    3.He enjoys beating NY entirely too much
    4.Lee would rather raise his family in Texas over NYC
    5.Ain’t no man named Lee going to become no Yankee
    6.New York smells bad
    7.Texas is going to advance and get Lee on the big stage again, where he thrives
    8.NY has a candidate running with the “rent is too damn high party” Jim McMillian. Scary.. woo…
    9.Texas will offer almost as much as NY, but it’ll be enough for all the above reasons

    Note reason #7 :>P

    • JBerardi - Oct 20, 2010 at 6:33 PM

      Don’t screw with Jim McMillian, man. I’m pretty sure that guy is a blackula hunter.

    • iclaudius12 - Oct 24, 2010 at 1:30 AM

      Jim McMillian is an anti-semite funny he ran for Mayor in the city with the largest Jewish population in America.

      Anyways onto Cliff Lee… theres that story of him pitching in the World Series against New York and getting lossed and having to take a bus, subway, taxi or something.. and saying how he was scared. Cliff Lee doesnt strike me as a New York kind of guy and to pitch for the Yankees you gotta be a New York kind of guy or your not going to have much success… ala Vasquez and Burnett. Also Cliff Lee has struggled against the Red Sox so Yankee fans are out of their mind.. wanting him.. 200 million to bomb against their fiecierst rival. Also Yankees have to worry about resigning Jeter, Rivera, and Pettite.. before they can worry about signing Cliff Lee and I dont think Yankee fans would be to happy about Jeter leaving because they needed the money for Cliff Lee or they might I dont know. But unless Jeter takes a hometown discount they payroll will likely be in the 300 million range if they sign Cliff Lee.

  6. Jonny 5 - Oct 20, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    And tell me it’s not a pitchers dream to work for Nolan frickin’ Ryan!!!! I mean, Damn.

  7. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 20, 2010 at 4:15 PM

    I heard Francesa talking about it today and he made some pretty good points. He said Texas has no state income tax and Lee wants to fish and hunt in Arkansas. Mike predicts that the Yankers will have to outbid Texas by at least $40 million over a 5 year deal. I kinda agree with that. I think if Texas gives Lee the exact same contract that CC got, he will take that. Why go to New York for 3-4 million a year more, when you will have to pay more taxes and have to put up with the AL East. I’d stay in the AL West for the next 6 years too.

    • Kevin S. - Oct 20, 2010 at 4:38 PM

      Did Mike forget about Carlos Beltran? I’m not saying he’s coming to New York, but state income taxes haven’t stopped players before.

    • Adam - Oct 20, 2010 at 5:08 PM

      What about the fact that, during the season, there’s no time for hunting and fishing in another state?
      And during the off season it’s a simple flight to Arkansas where he’ll be able to afford whatever house he wants regardless of what team he signs with.
      Whether he stays with the Rangers or leaves is not important to me, but hearing stupid reasons like “HE LIKES ARKANSAS” from a talk show host is ridiculous. The state income tax could be a sticking point, but hunting and fishing will not be.

      • JBerardi - Oct 20, 2010 at 6:35 PM

        It’s just too bad there’s no hunting or fishing in the state of New York, it being the tiny, overdeveloped place that it is.

  8. Reflex - Oct 20, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    Cliff Lee has already stated what it will take for a team to get him. A no-trade clause. Thats it. Whatever team offers him the best money AND a no-trade clause wins him. Its that simple, and after the past two seasons, who can blame him?

    My guess is that the Rangers offer him 90% of what the Yankees do, but toss on a no-trade. If the Yanks fail to do the same, he stays for the lower amount.

  9. Richard In Big D - Oct 20, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    According to Mapquest, Arlington, TX is exactly 378.63 miles from Bentonville, AR. New York City is 1290.46 miles. And the cultural differences between NY and TX are even farther apart…

    • bxcheer - Oct 21, 2010 at 12:42 AM

      So? With the money the Yankees will offer he’ll but his own private jet and fly there instead of drive.

      Keep in mind that AFTER winning the CY Young award he was traded from the Indians. After helping the Phillies get to the WS he was traded. After being shipped off to Seattle for less than half a season he was traded. You can bet Lee understands one principal that most fans don’t;

      What happens on the field and in the club house is baseball, the rest is business.

      Lee will make his decision based on a personal calculus that like has to do with his earnings potential, long term contract security, franchise stability as well as family life. Anybody that claims that they some special insight or knowledge of which direction he’s interested in or why he’d prefer one team over another is deluding themselves. In an exercise in WAG, … wild ass guess.

      In fact the only thing that can be said with any degree of confidence is that the Yankees will likely offer him the most in terms of money and years. And, ironically that offer will likely be greater if the ALCS goes to seven games and Lee shuts down the Yankees again.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Oct 21, 2010 at 10:28 AM

        Can you imagine the yearly total salary of the pitching rotation if NYY actually snags him? Oy vey.

  10. texpops - Oct 20, 2010 at 4:41 PM

    The Yankees would have to offer at least 20% more just to offset the income taxes. There IS NO state income tax in TEXAS.

  11. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Oct 20, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    Only Cliff knows where Cliff is going. Until then, this is all moot.

  12. frankvzappa - Oct 20, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    Cliff Lee has a certain cocky arrogance about him that i think makes him a perfect yankee-type, but i really dont want to have to hate the guy next year…too bad the Red Sox blew a pissload on Josh Beckett (as dumb as the Lugo contract) or we might have had a chance at him

  13. ribender - Oct 20, 2010 at 6:58 PM

    As a Yankee fan, I get tired of hearing how the Yankees will just buy every great player. I’d rather see them beat Cliff Lee, personally. Not saying they will, but I would like to see them do that than worry about who they’re going to sign in the off-season. They signed A.J. Burnett because they couldn’t beat him, and look what that got them. Not that Lee is even comparable to Burnett in terms of that guy’s midget mind …

    • iclaudius12 - Oct 24, 2010 at 1:25 AM

      Cliff Lee has had great success against New York.. but has struggled against the Red Sox so really dont know why New York wants him other than the fact that they sign the people they cant beat.

      Glad to see one Yankee fan has the common sense.. and would rather see his team beat Cliff Lee in a game 7 rather than Charlie Morton haha.

  14. libralee - Oct 24, 2010 at 7:13 AM

    Say what you will…………………. There isn’t a young guy coming up that doesn’t someday hope to be in PINSTRIPES! Fact! And he was a young guy coming up at one time! I just don’t know if he has the huge EGO he would need to want to face the AL East!

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