Skip to content

How much do the words of Cliff Lee’s wife really mean?

Oct 26, 2010, 3:57 PM EDT

Cliff Lee Family

Much has been made of the whole “Yankees fans spit on Cliff Lee’s wife and they like Arkansas and all that jazz” story from this morning.  As far as I can tell, the battle lines break down as follows: (a) people who are dying for the Yankees to finally whiff on a highly-coveted free agent and are thus latching on to Kristen Lee’s comments; and (b) Yankees fans who really want to see Cliff Lee join the team and dismiss these comments as meaningless. The former camp getting off on the idea of the Yankees losing out on Lee. The latter camp is epitomized by a refrain that basically goes like this: “yeah, we’ll see how bad Ms. Lee feels about New York when the money is actually on the table.”

I think both sides are overreacting.

Yes, it’s true that Kristen Lee noted that she had a bad experience in Yankee Stadium. And she noted that she likes Dallas and that she and Cliff love being close to Arkansas and all of that.  Still, we’ve heard this before, haven’t we? CC Sabathia was supposed to be enamored with California. Mike Mussina was a small town guy. Mark Teixeira was from Baltimore. For every free agent out there, there has been some non-New York storyline that people have latched onto.  At the end of the day, however, they almost always sign with the Yankees. Money talks.

At the same time, the response from the Yankees folks today has seemed a bit too confident to me. Everyone has cited the past examples of the money ruling the day, but no one seems to want to acknowledge the possibility that the Lees may be different than the Sabathias and those who came before them. Some folks have been borderline offensive, assuming that nothing Kristen Lee said mattered and that she’ll forget her discomfort with New York the second the money truck is unloaded. Maybe she will. But maybe these are legitimate concerns on her part. To act as if this morning’s story means absolutely nothing and that everyone has a price tag just seems wrongheaded to me. It’s like everyone is reaching for a security blanket the second they hear something that doesn’t jibe with their expectations. It’s also like everyone who says this stuff has never had to talk about relocating with their spouse. We have no idea what the dynamic of the Lee marriage truly is, and to assume that either Kristen Lee’s concerns will go away with more money or that her love of Arkansas will trump business concerns is just wishcasting in either direction.

Ultimately, the biggest factor here will be the Rangers. In the past, the choice for free agents has been easy. The Yankees have just blown competing bids away. That is, if there were any, which in some cases there weren’t.  With Chuck Greenberg around promising to be competitive, however, you can’t just assume that New York will blow the Rangers away by $30 million. You can’t assume that, like the Brewers and CC Sabathia, only a token bid will be forthcoming.  If he comes close to what the Yankees are offering, Kristin Lee’s comments will mean a great deal.

At the end of the day, we have no idea what’s going to happen until it happens.  In this case, however, a lot of folks on both sides of the issue seem to think they know better.

Latest Posts
  1. Video: Pablo Sandoval’s over-the-railing catch

    Oct 2, 2014, 12:18 AM EDT

    sandoval getty Getty Images

    The game was pretty much wrapped up at this point for the Giants, but watch Pablo Sandoval go over the Pirates’ dugout railing to make a catch in foul territory in Wednesday night’s NL Wild Card Game …

  2. Russell Martin’s free agency looms large as Pirates face offseason

    Oct 1, 2014, 11:54 PM EDT

    Milwaukee Brewers v Pittsburgh Pirates Milwaukee Brewers v Pittsburgh Pirates

    After Wednesday’s 8-0 loss, it’s time for the Pirates to start thinking about next year.

  3. Madison Bumgarner delivers a shutout as Giants roll past Pirates in NL Wild Card Game

    Oct 1, 2014, 11:20 PM EDT

    madison bumgarner getty Getty Images

    Madison Bumgarner dominated over nine shutout innings and Brandon Crawford hit a grand slam as San Francisco cruised to an easy 8-0 victory over the host Pirates on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

  4. Hyun-Jin Ryu throws three-inning simulated game

    Oct 1, 2014, 10:22 PM EDT

    hyun-jin ryu getty Getty Images

    The Dodgers’ workout Wednesday afternoon in Los Angeles was closed off to the media, so we’ll have to trust the club’s own reporting on injured left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu …

  5. Brandon Crawford hits grand slam, Giants lead Pirates in National League Wild Card Game

    Oct 1, 2014, 9:38 PM EDT

    crawford getty Getty Images

    The Giants are out to a 4-0 lead in the National League Wild Card Game at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park courtesy of a fourth-inning grand slam by shortstop Brandon Crawford.

  6. Jose Fernandez throws for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in May

    Oct 1, 2014, 9:08 PM EDT

    jose fernandez getty Getty Images

    Marlins ace Jose Fernandez picked up a baseball on Wednesday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery on May 16.

  7. Travis d’Arnaud undergoes surgery for bone spur in elbow

    Oct 1, 2014, 8:13 PM EDT

    travis d'arnaud getty Getty Images

    The procedure went as planned and d’Arnaud is expected to be fully recovered by the start of spring training next February.

  8. A’s option for Nick Punto vests at $2.75 million

    Oct 1, 2014, 7:19 PM EDT

    Nick Punto AP

    Punto hit just .207 with two homers and a .589 OPS in 73 games.

  9. Kevin Gausman in Orioles’ bullpen for ALDS vs. Tigers

    Oct 1, 2014, 7:05 PM EDT

    kevin gausman getty Getty Images

    Gausman was the fourth overall pick in the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft and registered a promising 3.57 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, and 88/38 K/BB ratio across 113 1/3 innings during the regular season, but the O’s will roll with their more-experienced arms versus Detroit.

  10. Royals to start Yordano Ventura in Game 2 of ALDS

    Oct 1, 2014, 6:33 PM EDT

    yordano ventura getty Getty Images

    Jason Vargas, who spent last season in the Angels’ rotation before signing with the Royals as a free agent, will start Game 1 for Kansas City.

  11. Angels announce ALDS rotation: Jered Weaver in Game 1, Matt Shoemaker for Game 2

    Oct 1, 2014, 6:19 PM EDT

    angels logo

    The Angels have announced their rotation for the ALDS against the Royals.

  12. Cardinals leave A.J. Pierzynski, Jason Motte off NLDS roster

    Oct 1, 2014, 5:21 PM EDT

    A.J. Pierzynski Getty Getty Images

    Tony Cruz gets the nod as Yadier Molina’s backup.

  13. Derek Jeter is afraid of cats. Likes Baskin Robbins. And other important stuff about him.

    Oct 1, 2014, 5:12 PM EDT

    Derek Jeter AP AP

    Welp, there’s two reasons he’ll never accept an invitation to my house.

  14. The A’s-Royals game did pretty well in the ratings

    Oct 1, 2014, 4:34 PM EDT

    old TV

    The Tuesday wild card game got ratings 14% higher than last year’s Tuesday wild card game.

  15. Wild Card Game: Giants vs. Pirates lineups

    Oct 1, 2014, 4:04 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 4.03.08 PM Getty Images

    Not a ton of surprises. Gaby Sanchez in at first over Ike Davis because of the lefty on the hill. Otherwise, play ball.

  16. Twins to interview Hall of Famer Paul Molitor for manager opening

    Oct 1, 2014, 3:45 PM EDT

    Paul Molitor Twins Getty Images

    Ron Gardenhire was fired Monday after 13 seasons, the last four of which have seen the Twins lose 90 or more games.

  17. Odd, and unfulfilling, season ends for A’s

    Oct 1, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    Eric Sogard A's Getty Images

    Somehow, it all seemed to tie this strange 2014 season together in one fitting package, though the end result wasn’t what anyone in green and gold wanted.

  18. Cardinals’ playoff rotation does not include Michael Wacha

    Oct 1, 2014, 2:48 PM EDT

    wacha getty Getty Images

    Adam Wainwright will start Game 1 against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

Featured video

Pitching vs. history in NL wild card game
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. D. Jeter (2962)
  2. R. Martin (2281)
  3. A. Rodriguez (2019)
  4. D. Gordon (1959)
  5. J. Altuve (1931)
  1. J. Hamilton (1887)
  2. C. Kershaw (1853)
  3. E. Volquez (1726)
  4. M. Shoemaker (1682)
  5. I. Suzuki (1637)