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Yankees official says shot of landing Cliff Lee only “50-50″

Dec 12, 2010, 2:35 PM EDT

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We aren’t the only ones searching for clues as to where free agent left-hander Cliff Lee might sign.

ESPN.com’s Buster Olney has also been doing a bit of digging and wrote Sunday at ESPN Insider that a Yankees executive has put New York’s chances at only “50-50.”

Perhaps that’s because there are two teams left in the running — the Yanks and Rangers — and simple math would give each club a 1-in-2 shot.  Or maybe this report Saturday from Jack Curry of the YES Network has some legs.  Curry wrote that Yankees officials have expressed a “bit of skepticism” about signing Lee, even after out-doing the Rangers with a seven-year contract offer.

This is all speculation at the moment.  Lee is not expected to make a decision until Monday, or even later in the week, and his agent has remained silent all weekend.

But it’s not unprecedented for a top tier free agent to turn down more guaranteed money from one club to stay in a place where he feels comfortable.  Lee only spent a couple of months this year in Texas, but maybe he really enjoyed himself.  It’s rare, but not unprecedented.

Rangers manager Ron Washington seems like a player’s coach and having Nolan Ryan as a boss would be a surreal experience for any pitcher.

Also, let’s not forget that Lee is from Arkansas — a bordering state of Texas — and still has a home there.

  1. pisano - Dec 12, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    That should really be good news for the Yankees. They rarely shoot themselves in the foot, but this could be one of those times. They could get so much younger and better with the money they save from losing out on Lee. They have players to trade to get younger pitchers. Joba really needs to go first and foremost, and if they get Russell Martin at catcher they can get pitching by trading Montero, Cervelli, or Romine. Losing out on Lee(which I hope they do) could be a blessing in disguise.

    • aburns77 - Dec 12, 2010 at 3:25 PM

      I agree that it would probably be a blessing in disguise considering how much money he wants, however I’m not sure if trading Joba or Montero will really help them. For one, Joba’s value isn’t all that high right now considering he’s basically a so-so middle reliever right now, and second somebody’s got to play catcher and even if they get Martin he’s not exactly Johnny Bench at the plate and Posada is effectively done defensively, so I think they need Montero. That said, I think they would need to trade some of those prospects because if they don’t get Lee they still need pitching.

    • yankeesfanlen - Dec 12, 2010 at 4:27 PM

      I still hope we get Lee, but if Andy comes back, which I think he will, we’re not in the worst place imaginable. Remember 2007.
      Send THE FAT TOAD to KC where he belongs. Hughes will have a 19 win year. Keep Montero-I like bats and so what?-we haven’t had a great catcher for a while anyway..
      Sign Greinke at some point, before the All Star break we do better at .550 and then finish strong.

      • pisano - Dec 12, 2010 at 8:30 PM

        yankeesfanlen, I agree with you 100%. I think Greinke would just fine wherever he pitches. I really like the idea of getting rid of the Toad, talk about a guy that’s only getting worse, it’s the Toad.

  2. yankees1996 - Dec 13, 2010 at 10:50 AM

    I think the odds that Lee signs with the Yankkes is more like 80/20 against the Yankees. This process has been going on since the Yankees tried to trade for Lee back in the summer. He was assured that the Yankees would be coming after him guns blazing, if he wanted to play for the Yanks he would have already signed because you know even though the full terms of the deal have not been released the Yankees have the best deal in place. I think the Yankees should pull the deal off the table at the end of business today and explore what it would take to trade for Garza or another front line pitcher. I don’t know about Andy but to be honest I would not be surprised if he called it a career. The thing I don’t want to see is the Yankees pursuit of Lee compromise the entire team and the 2011 season.

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