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. Rays designate Grant Balfour for assignment

    Apr 18, 2015, 11:26 PM EDT

    Grant Balfour Grant Balfour

    Grant Balfour was designated for assignment following a disastrous Saturday night against the Yankees.

  2. Joe Nathan throws off a mound for the first time since suffering an elbow injury

    Apr 18, 2015, 11:01 PM EDT

    Joe Nathan Joe Nathan

    Joe Nathan could be activated from the disabled list as soon as Wednesday.

  3. A fun story involving Terry Francona and his dad Tito

    Apr 18, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    Terry Francona Terry Francona

    If you’re in the mood for a laugh, you’ll want to read this story involving Indians manager Terry Francona and his dad Tito.

  4. Video: Watch Kris Bryant get his first major league hit and RBI

    Apr 18, 2015, 9:10 PM EDT

    Kris Bryant Kris Bryant

    Kris Bryant, one of baseball’s top prospects, earned his first major league hit and RBI on Saturday afternoon against the Padres.

  5. Yordano Ventura ejected for hitting Brett Lawrie with a pitch

    Apr 18, 2015, 8:16 PM EDT

    Yordano Ventura Yordano Ventura

    More drama involving the Athletics and Royals.

  6. There’s some drama about Brett Lawrie apologizing to Alcides Escobar

    Apr 18, 2015, 7:45 PM EDT

    Brett Lawrie Brett Lawrie

    Did Brett Lawrie apologize to Alcides Escobar for his hard slide in Friday’s game between the Athletics and Royals? We’re not sure.

  7. Ryan Braun is batting leadoff for the first time in his career

    Apr 18, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT

    Ryan Braun Getty Images

    Ryan Braun will lead off for the first time in his career in Saturday’s game against the Pirates.

  8. Giants place Jake Peavy on the disabled list

    Apr 18, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    Jake Peavy Jake Peavy

    Jake Peavy is dealing with lower back issues.

  9. UPDATE: Billy Hamilton is day-to-day with right groin soreness

    Apr 18, 2015, 5:32 PM EDT

    cD05ODdlNmNhY2MwMjRlZWQzNTJhM2ViYTQ1Y2VlY2YzOCZnPTc5MTIzY2UzNzg2NGNhZTI2ODExODRkZDlmOWViMmVm Getty Images

    Hamilton suffered the injury beating out an infield single in the eighth inning.

  10. Justin Verlander has throwing session pushed back due to lingering soreness in throwing arm

    Apr 18, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT

    Justin Verlander Justin Verlander

    Justin Verlander’s return to the Tigers doesn’t appear imminent.

  11. Josh Hamilton filed for a divorce from his wife in February

    Apr 18, 2015, 5:20 PM EDT

    Los Angels Angels newly acquired outfielder Hamilton talks with reporters as his wife, Katie, looks on during a news conference in Anaheim Reuters

    Hamilton filed for divorce in late February, which is right around the time when word leaked about his offseason drug relapse.

  12. Pete Rose joins FOX as a baseball analyst

    Apr 18, 2015, 4:19 PM EDT

    pete rose getty Getty Images

    You’ll be seeing MLB’s all-time hits leader Pete Rose in FOX’s coverage of baseball this season.

  13. VIDEO: Bryce Harper hit a mammoth home run today vs. the Phillies

    Apr 18, 2015, 4:12 PM EDT

    Bryce Harper AP

    The home run traveled at a distance of 461 feet. My goodness.

  14. Home plate umpire Brian Knight leaves game after being hit in mask by pitch

    Apr 18, 2015, 3:58 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Detroit Tigers Getty Images

    Scary moment in today’s Phillies-Nationals game, as home plate umpire Brian Knight was forced to exit after he was hit in the facemask by a pitch in the top of the ninth inning.

  15. Royals closer Greg Holland placed on disabled list with pectoral strain

    Apr 18, 2015, 3:47 PM EDT

    Greg Holland AP

    Greg Holland has been one of the game’s best relievers dating back to 2011, but the Royals will have to make due without him for a little while.

  16. Matt Holliday exits game with back tightness

    Apr 18, 2015, 2:56 PM EDT

    St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

    The Cardinals are calling Holliday’s exit “precautionary,” so it’s probably safe to consider him day-to-day.

  17. Marlins claim left-hander Matt Tracy off waivers from Yankees

    Apr 18, 2015, 2:27 PM EDT

    Matt Tracy AP

    Tracy, 26, was designated for assignment by the Yankees last Sunday.

  18. Yunel Escobar to undergo MRI for groin injury

    Apr 18, 2015, 2:11 PM EDT

    Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies Getty Images

    The Nats’ infield depth is being tested in the early part of the season.

  19. Jonathan Schoop diagnosed with PCL tear and MCL sprain in right knee

    Apr 18, 2015, 1:24 PM EDT

    poses on photo day at Ed Smith Stadium on March 1, 2015 in Sarasota, Florida. Getty Images

    Schoop was off to a nice start so far this season, batting .259 (7-for-27) with three home runs and a .940 OPS over nine games.

  20. Reds activate Homer Bailey from disabled list to make season debut

    Apr 18, 2015, 1:01 PM EDT

    Homer Bailey AP

    Reds right-hander Homer Bailey landed on the disabled list at the end of spring training while he completed his rehab from surgery to repair a tear of the flexor tendon in his elbow, but he has been activated to make his season debut this afternoon against the Cardinals.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. K. Bryant (4327)
  2. D. Salazar (3605)
  3. D. Span (3469)
  4. A. Rodriguez (3390)
  5. A. Ottavino (3347)
  1. B. Gardner (3298)
  2. M. Brantley (3293)
  3. D. Mesoraco (3229)
  4. A. Guerrero (3209)
  5. Y. Puig (3162)