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Owner says Rangers turned down Cliff Lee’s offer to re-sign for seven guaranteed years

Dec 14, 2010, 1:10 PM EDT

Chuck Greenberg

Initially last night the Cliff Lee storyline was that he left as much as $50 million on the table because he loved Philadelphia and simply wanted to pitch for the Phillies instead of the Yankees or Rangers.

However, now that the various contract details are trickling in it turns out he probably left at most $13 million on the table and may actually end up with more money (once deferred payments and other factors are taken into account) from the Phillies than he was offered elsewhere.

And this afternoon Rangers chief executive officer Chuck Greenberg revealed that Lee “was willing to remain a Ranger” and in fact offered to re-sign if Texas would guarantee him a seven-year deal:

In this instance, it was simply a matter of us saying, “yes.” But it would have been a matter of us saying “yes” on terms that we weren’t comfortable with. This was not a matter of Cliff making a decision not to come to Texas. He was willing to remain a Ranger, but it was on terms that we felt went beyond the aggressive parameters within which we were already operation. Had we been willing to go beyond the parameters that we were willing to go, he would be here. But we didn’t think that was in the long-term best interest of the franchise.

Greenberg and company turned down Lee’s seven-year proposal and their final offer was $138 million over six years with a seventh-year vesting option worth $23 million. Lee ended up signing a deal with the Phillies that guarantees him $120 million for five years and includes a sixth-year option for 2016 that vests based on his innings count.

So yes, Lee may have turned down slightly less money in choosing the Phillies, but according to Greenberg that’s only because the Rangers turned down his offer to re-sign for seven guaranteed years.

  1. pisano - Dec 14, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    It sounds like he was playing the Yankees to get more money from the Rangers, and when the Phillies stepped up that’s where he wanted to go. Wouldn’t it be horrible if his back problems start up again or worse yet an elbow or shoulder problem. If he and his wife thought Yankee fans are horrible wait until he feels the wrath of a pissed off Phillies fan. Good luck Cliff.

    • Reflex - Dec 14, 2010 at 5:13 PM

      Gee, anger issues? He rejected the Yanks because he got an offer he liked better. And honestly, I like his chances of staying healthy and playing in the WS better with the Phils than I do with the Yanks given the weaker NL competition, the lack of a DH and the stronger rotation. Smart move for Cliff, especially since there he stands a better chance of staying healthy and vesting that option.

      • arrabin56 - Dec 14, 2010 at 5:41 PM

        “I like his chances of staying healthy and playing in the WS better with the Phils than I do with the Yanks given the weaker NL competition, the lack of a DH and the stronger rotation.”

        I’m sorry, you think the lack of a DH will help him stay healthy? You’re thinking of it solely from a “he faces less tough hitters” standpoint.

        He has to hit and run bases. Much greater chance of injury there than if he were sitting on the bench for an AL squad.

  2. bobbyhoying - Dec 14, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    Very few Phillies have ever been as beloved as Cliff Lee. If he has an injury issue he will only receive best wishes to recover.

    • joshfrancis50 - Dec 14, 2010 at 2:33 PM

      What a ridiculous comment. He was a Phillie for like 60 days.

      • bbambrose - Dec 14, 2010 at 4:07 PM

        It’s not ridiculous at all. If you lived in the Philadelphia area you would know that Cliff Lee became an absolute superstar in a very short time. He won his 1st 5 starts with the team and then went undefeated in the playoffs. When he was traded months later, there was outrage that was tempered by the fact that the Phils acquired Roy Halladay. All year people were saying “why did they let him go?” Don’t make ridiculous comments on something you know nothing about.

  3. yankees1996 - Dec 14, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    If the Rangers were truly that close to resigning him and let that one point be the stumbling block then the Rangers let themselves and their fans down. If they were that close, there was a deal to be had and the Rangers either did not work hard enough or this story is complete crap. The fact is that if Lee left money on the table to play somewhere else it comes down to one thing and one thing only, he WANTED to play in Philly not in Texas and not in NY.

    • Reflex - Dec 14, 2010 at 5:12 PM

      Say what? The Rangers made the smart decision here. I have been pointing out all along, any team that gives him a seven year deal will live to regret it. Way too old, fragile and without a consistent performance record. The Phils managed to make a good deal for their franchise by cutting it down to only five guaranteed years.

      Absolutely the best thing that could have happened for the Rangers, and fantastic that they held the line as they did.

  4. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 14, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    The Rangers don’t need a guy who’s going to be old and overpaid in 3 years or less, as a growing franchise with a more limited budget.

    Go get Greinke, keep that farm stocked, keep that roster solid, avoid overpaying and you’ll be in October for awhile, Texas.

  5. IdahoMariner - Dec 14, 2010 at 5:25 PM

    it seems to me that 1) the Rangers acted in their best interest (going after him, but drawing the line at a contract length that could hobble their team), 2) Cliff acted in his best interest (getting the most cash and most years to go to a place he wanted to be (whether Philly or Texas)), and3) the Yankees acted in their best interest (going after him, but within reason (or, “Yankee reason”, since their world is different than most teams’))….all reports say Lee didn’t jerk anyone around, and picked the offer that sent him to a place he loved playing (he knows he likes playing for Philly, makes sense that he would go to a known environment for a few dollars less than an unknown) for the market rate, and was a gentleman while he did it. What’s the problem? None. Good luck, Cliff, wish you were still pitching for my team, but I can’t wait to see you pitch again.

  6. rick1922 - Dec 14, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    Lee better do well or his wife will find out whose fans are worse and it won;t take long.

    • takingmytalentstophilly - Dec 15, 2010 at 8:01 AM

      Rick- The Philadelphia fans are often criticized for their constant, and sometimes crazy, actions at sporting events. One thing the Philadelphia fans are not, is ignorant or uninformed. All of us in Philly appreciated his effort in his time here, and would have taken him back any day of the week. With that being said, hoping that the philly fanbase would be as stupid and misconceived as the yankees fans were when they spit on miss lee and hurt their chances of getting him, is a stretch. Love us, Hate us, we know and love our teams more than you do.

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