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The latest on Cliff Lee: skepticism of seven-year offers

Dec 8, 2010, 8:23 AM EDT

Cliff Lee talking

When last we considered Cliff Lee, we were hearing word that he had two seven-year offers on the table.  The guy reporting that was Jon Heyman.  Since then, many people have voiced their skepticism that there really are two seven-year offers out there. And not just guys like me who consider Heyman to be a fairly untrustworthy source of anonymous offer rumors.  Guys like Ken Davidoff and Joel Sherman — who tend to be more right more often about such matters — are doubting Heyman here.  Worth noting.

But even if the specific rumors of seven-year deals are questionable, there is no question that there are a lot of teams interested in him.  the Washington rumors won’t go away, and now people are saying that Anaheim may be talking to Lee’s agent as well.  Throw in the obvious suspects of New York and Texas, and a bidding war could erupt.

I just don’t believe it will be a bidding war in which seven year offers are thrown around.

  1. Jason @ IIATMS - Dec 8, 2010 at 8:32 AM

    Yanks might be able to match the total $ over 6 years that the Nats/’mystery team’ can offer over 7 years. Yes, the team really wants him.

    • Ari Collins - Dec 8, 2010 at 8:44 AM

      Why is this so often considered a good idea? If you can give him 6 years $150 million or 7 years $150 million, don’t you want to give him 7 years? You’re geting an extra year for NOTHING. Even if it’s 6 years $150M vs. 7 years $160, don’t you go 7?

      Then again, I’m the guy who just accidentally bought 5,000 business cards because they just kept getting cheaper per card.

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Dec 8, 2010 at 8:33 AM

    Why should we, the fans, worry about the 7th year of an offer to a guy? Who really cares? As long as he is putting up good numbers in his first 4-5 years, which not a lot of people doubt when it comes to Cliff Lee, what the hell do I care how he is going to do in the 7th year? The owners make enough cash to eat his 7th year, especially if they have received a few Hall of Fame quality years before it.

    It’s not as if you are getting Barry Zito here…this is Cliff freaking Lee. If you have plans to make the playoffs over the next few years, he is the guy you want to have out there, isn’t he? 6 years…7 years….what difference does it make? I’ll take 4-5 monster years, 3 world series appearances and 1 or 2 titles followed by a couple of lean years over 1 playoff appearance and 6 middling pennant races that result in no championships any day.

    • proudlycanadian - Dec 8, 2010 at 8:46 AM

      Cliff “freaking” Lee has actually had a spotty career as a starting pitcher. He is not as good as some people think. The possibility that he will have 4-5 monster years is much less than 50%.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Dec 8, 2010 at 8:49 AM

        If you think this is true, then it wouldn’t matter whether you give him 5, 6 or 7 years…you don’t want him anyway. I’m talking to the 99% of the people out there who consider him a beast. When you say “He’s not as good as some people think” you really should say “He’s not as good as MOST people think” because MOST people think he is one of the top 3 pitchers in baseball right now.

      • Ari Collins - Dec 8, 2010 at 8:58 AM

        Has there been anyone better over the last three years? Roy Halladay and… I guess you could make an argument for Felix or Grienke? But they’d be WRONG ARGUMENTS.

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 8, 2010 at 9:06 AM

        He was just average in Seattle. He certainly is not as good as Doc.There are other pitchers that I would rather have for 7 years including, Hernandez, Lester and Price.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Dec 8, 2010 at 9:15 AM

        Who wouldn’t rather have Lester, King Felix or Price for 7 years??? There’s probably 10 pitchers I’d rather give a 7-year deal to than Cliff Lee. Unfortunately, in the real world where we can’t always get what we want, there is only one big-time free agent pitcher out there TODAY that can be had TODAY for money TODAY…and his name is Cliff Lee. You can say what you want about him, but even if you think he is only(only?) a top-10 pitcher, he still helps every single team in the Major Leagues and he can be had for MONEY. That’s it.

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 8, 2010 at 9:17 AM

        Remember Kevin Brown and A. J. Burnett?

      • Jonny 5 - Dec 8, 2010 at 9:27 AM

        I’m sorry But the Phillies top 3 Roy, Cole, Little Roy, have been better than Lee since 2006. I went back that far only because Hamels was a rookie in 2006. This is why I don’t get the total infatuation…. I guess it could be due to him OWNING the Yankees??

      • Chris Fiorentino - Dec 8, 2010 at 9:28 AM

        How about Barry Zito…he’s an even better example to prove your point LOL.

        But if you play things like that, you will never succeed. Look at your team…I bet if this blog were around in 1990, you would be on here saying “WTF was Pat Gillick thinking??? He just traded the Crime Dog and Fernandez for Joe Carter and Alomar…who??? We are dead” 2 World Series Championships later, Pat would have been proven to be correct to have the balls to make the deal. Gotta take a chance.

      • Ari Collins - Dec 8, 2010 at 10:38 AM

        Lee has been a different pitcher starting in 2008, which is why I said that other than Doc, there hasn’t been anyone better over the last three years. Sure, if you go back to before Cliff Lee became Cliff Lee, you’re going to find someone with a longer career of almost-as-good numbers. But three years is plenty of sample, long enough to see the guy’s no one-year fluke.

        And of COURSE you’d feel more comfortable giving a 7-year deal to Lester or Felix or Price. But as Fiorentino said, that’s because they’re really young, and pitchers don’t reach FA before 30, generally. And even those three guys, they’re younger, but they haven’t been better the last several years.

        @proudly: “average in Seattle”? Are you looking at the same numbers I am? Most people would point to his surface numbers in Texas if they want to pick a nit. (And then you’d just look deeper and realize he was just as good in Texas.)

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 8, 2010 at 10:40 AM

        Art you are correct . I should have written Texas rather than Seattle.

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 8, 2010 at 10:42 AM

        I ment Ari rather than Art. I need to clean my glasses.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 8, 2010 at 10:43 AM

        To Ari, finally we agree on something. Your post is exactly right and on target.

      • Ari Collins - Dec 8, 2010 at 10:52 AM

        Okay, good. I was really trying to figure outwhere you were coming from!

        His numbers in Texas were #2 starter numbers on the surface, but he pitched the EXACT same way as in Seattle (look at his xFIPs). It’s just that a) it’s hard to have a sub-3 ERA in that park, and b) he got unlucky with home runs, even in Texas, and unluckier still with baserunning scoring.

  3. phukyouk - Dec 8, 2010 at 9:17 AM

    Overrated. have a nice day.

  4. BC - Dec 8, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    SEVEN years? Are these folks high??!? For a 32-year old pitcher with some previous back issues? I’d rather overload on $$$ and go 5 years. And even that’s a reach.

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