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Oh look! A “mystery team” has joined the Cliff Lee Derby

Dec 13, 2010, 6:02 AM EDT

Mystery Machine

Here’s Jon Heyman, three steps beyond self-parody and almost approaching the divine:

Free agent Cliff Lee is planning to make his decision early this week, according to people familiar with negotiations. The Texas Rangers, New York Yankees and a third mystery team are all still thought to be alive as Lee deliberates the biggest player call of the winter … The mystery team remains a mystery and also seen as a long shot.

Such wagers are outlawed in this country, but were they not, I would bet my children that, as is usually the case, this “mystery team” is the invention of an agent who has Heyman on speed-dial. The purpose: to either goose the Yankees or Rangers — each of whom have reportedly made their final and best offers — into bidding higher. Or, at the very least, to give Cliff Lee a bit of p.r. cover as he takes extra time to weigh the offers. Why Heyman enjoys being used like that is between him and his Blackberry. And it isn’t just people like me who suffer from Heyman derangement syndrome who think this. Check out the usually-cool Buster Olney not-so-subtly jabbing Heyman over it.

Whatever the case, I repeat a plea that I tweeted during the Winter Meetings: all I want for Christmas is an MLB-quality jersey with the word “Mystery” stitched, in script, on the font as the home team’s name. Player name on the back is optional.

Word is that Cliff Lee is expected to make his choice today or tomorrow. Wouldn’t it blow your mind if he chose the Planet X Mystery All-Stars?

  1. wondroushippo - Dec 13, 2010 at 6:08 AM

    Also, the number on the uniform has to be a question mark.

  2. Jason @ IIATMS - Dec 13, 2010 at 7:33 AM

    +1 for Buster for that dig

  3. Panda Claus - Dec 13, 2010 at 7:56 AM

    Ruh roh!

    Yikes!

    …and we would have gotten away with it [jacking up the price for Lee] if it wasn’t for those meddling kids. — says the grumbling agent being led away in handcuffs

    • mcsnide - Dec 13, 2010 at 9:06 AM

      ZOIKS!

  4. professorperry - Dec 13, 2010 at 8:03 AM

    If you just think of Heyman as the equivalent of a 5th-grade girl, one of the not too popular kids, right on the fringe of the clique and so eager to please, it makes more sense.

    • fivetoolmike - Dec 13, 2010 at 10:36 AM

      With Scott Boras as the most popular girl who gives Heyman just enough attention to keep him coming back. This just got weird.

  5. Jonny 5 - Dec 13, 2010 at 8:22 AM

    I kind of feel bad for the “mystery team ” myself… They never seem to land the player they want… EVER… Maybe they need to loosen up the purse strings??

    • proudlycanadian - Dec 13, 2010 at 8:53 AM

      Unfortunately for the “Mystery Team” it plays in a “Field of Dreams” and is just not real.

  6. thinman61 - Dec 13, 2010 at 8:28 AM

    Player name on the back of the jersey should be “PTBNL”.

  7. phillysoulfan - Dec 13, 2010 at 8:53 AM

    Wasn’t Heyman the one speculating that the mystery team was the Nationals? I could be wrong but I could swear he did when Jayson Werth signed with the Nats.

    At any rate, he’s signing with the Rangers. If he were going to sign with the Yanks, I think he would have done so already.

  8. BC - Dec 13, 2010 at 9:28 AM

    Watch the Phillies get him. They’ll win 140 games next year.

    • Jonny 5 - Dec 13, 2010 at 9:38 AM

      That almost gave me wood… Then I realized Ruben Amaro is not crazy enough, or allowed to sign pitchers for that many years. Wouldn’t it be crazy though?? “I loved Philly so much while there, I am going to sign for 3 years and 60 million to go back..” Plus I’ll get to pitch for a team that doesn’t need much offense, but has it anyway..

      Ok, I smacked myself out of that dream. I think he stays in Texas.

      • billtpa - Dec 13, 2010 at 9:50 AM

        Which raises an interesting point: between the 2009 Sabathia deal and this Lee silliness, how on earth did they get Halladay to agree to only a three-year extension (with a vesting fourth year that seems pretty unlikely to vest)? He was only a year older than Lee is now, and even better. You’d think he’d have gotten at least five out of them.

      • Utley's Hair - Dec 13, 2010 at 11:11 AM

        Wow…what the hell did you eat before you went to bed?

        But how’s this for a dream rotation:
        1.) Doc
        2.) Cliffy
        3.) Roy2
        4.) Zacky
        5.) Hollywood

        Your boy Joe would be SOL.

        We now return you to your previously scheduled reality with a little break so you can clean your shorts…

      • Jonny 5 - Dec 13, 2010 at 12:36 PM

        billtpa, The Phillies after being burned in the past decided three years is all they would go out for pitchers, I suspect this was how the Halladay extension was devised… You also have to think Halladay really wanted to be a Phillie.

        I suspect the Phills will have to make some concessions on their policy if they expect to get a good FA pitcher in the future.

        Hair, You can’t put Hamels as #5. It would be total in your face “f” you, to every other pitching rotation ever…..

      • Utley's Hair - Dec 13, 2010 at 1:23 PM

        I was rethinking the order of Zacky and Roy2 anyway. What would be yours?

  9. woodenulykteneau - Dec 13, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    Cabdriver — Is that you, Mr. Heyman?
    Heyman — Why, yes I am.
    Cabdriver — I have just one question for you, if I may ask
    Heyman — What is it?
    Cabdriver — Why is it that I must have hack license and you do not? We are both hacks, no?

  10. rick1922 - Dec 13, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    The YANKEES should tell Lee to take a walk and pull the offer off the table.This guy not worth what he;s making now.

    • kellyb9 - Dec 13, 2010 at 12:40 PM

      But if the Yankees don’t grossly overpay him and bid against themselves, who else will?

  11. Utley's Hair - Dec 13, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    It’s a team from Jamaica. The Kingston Heymans.

  12. bclaymoore - Dec 14, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    Hey, Craig….how do you feel about that mystery team now?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Dec 14, 2010 at 12:19 PM

      If you read this blog more regularly, you’d know the answer to that question:

      http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/12/14/oh-look-the-mystery-team-got-its-man/

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