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. The Blue Jays will make a qualifying offer to Melky Cabrera

    Sep 16, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Melky Cabrera AP

    That should guarantee him around $15-16 million for 105 should he accept it.

  2. Stephen Strasburg is in rarefied strikeout air

    Sep 16, 2014, 3:45 PM EDT

    Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals Getty Images

    Strasburg’s lack of lineup and bullpen support have kept his win-loss record from properly reflecting how well he’s pitched during the past two seasons with a 3.18 ERA and 421 strikeouts in 385 innings.

  3. Angels fire the scout who recommended drafting Mike Trout

    Sep 16, 2014, 2:48 PM EDT

    Mike Trout Getty Getty Images

    Greg Morhardt served as a national cross-checker for the Angels and “pegged Trout as a future star while most teams shied away.”

  4. Giancarlo Stanton shares gruesome before-and-after pictures of his facial injuries

    Sep 16, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT

    giancarlo stanton getty Getty Images

    Five days after a fastball to the face sent him to the hospital with multiple facial fractures and dental damage Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton posted a before-and-after picture to show how much he’s improved.

  5. HBT Daily: The Angels clinch a playoff spot

    Sep 16, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    HBT Daily Logo

    But will they make some noise in October?

  6. Anthony Rizzo rejoined the Cubs with a walk-off homer

    Sep 16, 2014, 1:47 PM EDT

    Anthony Rizzo AP

    And a pretty great home run call by always underrated Cubs announcer Len Kasper (as long as you’re not a Reds fan).

  7. Major League Baseball announces nominees for the Clemente Award

    Sep 16, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    Clemente

    Carlos Beltran won last year. Who gets it this year?

  8. Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine withdraws from Diamondbacks’ GM search

    Sep 16, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT

    thad levine

    Levine has been the Rangers’ assistant GM since October of 2005, serving as general manager Jon Daniels’ right-hand man during the most successful period in team history.

  9. Matt Shoemaker to have an MRI on his rib cage

    Sep 16, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT

    Matt Shoemaker AP

    The Angels starter pitched well last night, but felt some discomfort at the end of his stint.

  10. Chris Davis helped out at the scene of a car crash

    Sep 16, 2014, 12:16 PM EDT

    chris davis getty Getty Images

    He has some time on his hands. At least he’s putting it to good use.

  11. The Braves break ground on “SunTrust Park”

    Sep 16, 2014, 11:40 AM EDT

    Braves ballpark

    Man, Waffle House. You really missed the boat here. And now we all have to suffer with this boring, corporate name.

  12. Martin Prado undergoes an emergency appendectomy, likely out for the year

    Sep 16, 2014, 11:25 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 11.12.05 AM AP

    One of the few dudes who has been hitting for the Yankees is now on the shelf for the year.

  13. David Ortiz: I told you so

    Sep 16, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT

    David Ortiz Getty Getty Images

    Big Papi took some time yesterday to remind his detractors that, yes, he did deserve that contract extension.

  14. Must-click Link: the challenges Major League Baseball faces in implementing a domestic violence policy

    Sep 16, 2014, 10:10 AM EDT

    Bud Selig AP

    Ken Rosenthal shows us that the task, however necessary, will not be easy.

  15. A-Rod unlikely to be charged in the Biogenesis case

    Sep 16, 2014, 9:46 AM EDT

    Alex Rodriguez Alex Rodriguez

    To baseball and baseball writers, A-Rod is still Whitey Bulger or Public Enemy Number One. To the cops, he’s just a kid who bought a bag of something.

  16. Marcus Stroman should be suspended for throwing at Caleb Joseph’s head

    Sep 16, 2014, 9:16 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 8.09.58 AM

    MLB acts swiftly when someone grabs their crotch. Let’s see how swiftly it acts when a guy goes headhunting.

  17. Jonathan Papelbon’s suspension could possibly save the Phillies $13 million

    Sep 16, 2014, 8:55 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 11.33.53 AM AP

    With this gesture, Jonathan Papelbon made triggering his 2016 option a tad tricker.

Featured video

Do the Angels have any weaknesses?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. G. Stanton (3692)
  2. A. Rizzo (2528)
  3. B. Belt (2425)
  4. R. Castillo (2179)
  5. J. Hamilton (2132)
  1. C. Young (2107)
  2. B. Gardner (2038)
  3. A. Pujols (2017)
  4. H. Ryu (2006)
  5. E. Gattis (1846)