Friday, July 9, 2010

Yankees should just say no to Cliff Lee - for this year, at least

The New York Post's Joel Sherman is reporting this morning that the Yankees are "on the brink of obtaining Cliff Lee late last night for a package that would include top prospect Jesus Montero." Let me stand up now and shout "Noooooooooooooooooo!" to such a deal.

Don't get me wrong; I think Cliff Lee would look pretty nifty in pinstripes next year. But it makes little sense to trade for him now. Especially when it will end up costing the Yankees their top prospect - and some other prospects as well. For what, a three-month rental? Please. How did it work out for the Yankees with Austin Jackson, the last time the Yankees traded a top prospect?

Anyhow, last time I checked, Jorge Posada wasn't getting any younger. And as much as I love Francisco Cervelli, he's not going to be a superstar. But supposedly, Montero has that capability - it's why some Yankee fans didn't want Joe Mauer to come to the Bronx, because Montero was the catcher of the future. And now there's a good chance he'll be moved for somebody the Yankees could just sign for this winter anyway. How does this deal make any sense?

If there is any flaw with this Yankees' team, it's the bullpen, not the starting rotation. How will getting Lee fix that? And last year, the Yankees were able to win the World Series last year with a three-man rotation. Right now, they have CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes, and Javier Vazquez. Even if they could get Lee for nothing, which they won't, where would they put him - or put the odd man out? Vazquez makes nine million this season - who's going to take on that salary without the Yankees picking up most of it? A.J.'s $82 million, five-year contract makes him untradeable. And pitching innings limits aside, is it wise to mess with Phil Hughes and bump him to the bullpen again?

Anyhow, I hope this supposed deal is just a rumor. Cashman didn't go after CC Sabathia in the trade market, figuring the Yankees could sign him as a free agent. Why not have the same policy with Lee, especially when such a trade could have repurcussions for many years? Please, Cash, just say no to Cliff Lee - for 2010, at least.

What do you think? Tell us about it!


Alvaro Fernandez Ravelo said...

If they do trade him I'm pretty sure they will have Lee agree to a long term contract before closing the deal.

Still, would hate to deal away Montero. Rumor is that the Rays are in the mix and would hate even more to have Lee with Rays or Red Sox.

Uncle Mike said...

This rumor is being spread by the New York Post, so the smart thing to do is to dismiss it as garbage until it's backed up by a credible news source.

Don't forget, this is the same paper that congratulated the Red Sox for beating the Yankees for the Pennant... in 2003, the editorial hitting the streets a couple of hours after Aaron Boone made (bigger) fools out of both the Sox and the Post.

The Yankees might do with Lee what they did with another ex-Cleveland pitcher, CC Sabathia: Wait until the end of the season, when they won't have to give anything up.

As for the Mets, they need another starter (or two) far more than the Yankees do, and to their credit they don't seem to be biting that hook, either. Or maybe they just don't have the prospects to give up anymore.

One final thought: Lots of teams seem to want to get Cliff Lee, but these same teams never seem to want to KEEP Lee. Why? If he's good enough to get, why is he not good enough to keep? It can't be all about the money, because the Phillies had him, and they've now surpassed the overspending, underachieving Mets (finally) for the National League's highest payroll. Yet they chose to trade him for Roy Halladay, who, the last couple of years anyway, has NOT been appreciably better. The Phils could afford to keep him, but chose not to. Why? What do the teams that, however briefly, have Cliff Lee know that the fans do not know?

As another guy who started out in Cleveland, Arsenio Hall, would say, this is one of those things that make you go, "Hmmmm... "

BrooklynGirl said...

I agree with Uncle Mike. Joel Sherman is wrong so often its hard to take anything he says seriously. Cashman's plan to get CC in the off season in 2008-09 worked out fine. So why give up your top catching prospect when your team will need a young stud cathcer VERY SOON. I love Cervelli but he is not the everyday answer.

Anonymous said...

One of three things will happen here:

1. the Yankers will get Lee now, and all the idiots will say "oh my, what a great deal for them" when in reality it's just another example of the rich getting richer (anyone care to argue about competitive balance?)

2. the Yankers will get him in the offseason and pay whatever for him, just because they can (again care to argue about competitive balance?)

3. the Yankers will pretend to want him, only to drive up the price so that the team that gets him ends up getting handcuffed by his huge salary, thereby stifling the competition.

Anyway you slice it, without some sort of control on this kind of crap, the Yankers will continue to extort the system and cheat, cheat, cheat. Disgusting.

Uncle Mike said...

"Extorting the system" may not be fun for the others, but it is the system the others agreed to. The Yankees may be using the rules to their advantage, but they are not breaking the rules.

Maybe the rules that are in place are not always fair (ask anyone who remembers the New York-Kansas City relationship of the late Fifties), but that's what the teams are stuck with until the rules change.

Come to think of it, the rule establishing the draft in 1965 seemed to be designed to do one thing: Hurt the Yankees. Worked, too, until the Yankees were sold to a man who knew how to use what were then the current rules. Maybe Fred Wilpon should sell the Mets to an owner willing to use the rules to his advantage, and then they can finally win again.

Anonymous said...

Or baseball could just devise a set of rules that is fair across the board, for ALL 30 teams, and then enforce the rules, and make all 30 teams play by the rules. Of course we would need a commish with integrity, whose primary objective is the game, and not the money.

Jonmouk71 said...

Assuming the Rangers get Lee (and according to ESPN, it's a done deal), the Yankees are winners because they didn't have to give up anything and are still in the hunt for Lee in the offseason. The losers are the Rays and Red Sox because Lee absolutely owned the Yankees. With Lee, the Rangers are not only could win their division outright but also be in the wild card hunt if the Angels come roaring back. Also losers are the Mets who really needed Cliff to shore up that rotation to make a real run at Braves/Phils - but I'm sure that if Seattle had a problem with the Yankee kid with the bum ankle, they probably wanted no part of Mejia with a bum shoulder.

Jonmouk71 said...

Well, the haters have gotten what they wanted - a small market franchise getting a top notch player over the Evil Empire. Except they didn't expect, that due to Texas' bankruptcy, they are in effect subsidizing the Rangers' deal for Lee. How's it feel, guys - you've gotten what you've wanted all along - the poor weak getting a chance. Met fans can grimly smile as they think of the Wilpon's money going to pay part of Lee's salary in Texas while they hope to get some cheap spare parts for their pennant run. So you think Cashman got used? No way he lets Lee go to Boston or Tampa - he just didn't care that Texas got him - they'll get him after the season.

Anonymous said...

Who cares if we are subsidizing the deal for Lee in Texas? At least he's not pitching for the Yankers. Hallelujah! Can I get an amen?

Yeah, we all know that the Yankers will buy him outright after the season with their garbage bags full of cash, but that just makes us hate you that much more.

Competitive balance? No not yet. There won't be true competitive balance until the Yankers are not even mentioned in deals like this. But until then, this is like a cool drink of water on a hot summer day. It's refreshing for a moment, but then.......

Uncle Mike said...

Actually, this is like a Slurpee: Looks like fun, tastes great, but provides no nutritional value, and might even be harmful to your health.

"Competitive balance"? Every single MLB franchise has been to the postseason at least once -- something the parity-obsessed NFL can't yet claim, and the NBA and NHL couldn't until this season (the Charlotte Bobcats and Columbus Blue Jackets made it). Baseball teams go from nowhere to everywhere fast, once their owners decide the winning is better than the tax write-offs. No salary cap or otherwise enforced attempt at "competitive balance" is necessary: Balance is here, and has been for some time.

Cliff Lee didn't go to the Yankees, who don't need him; he went to the Texas Rangers, who are going for broke this season, and might make it... though whether "it" is a Pennant or, well, broke is yet to be determined.

And Jonmouk makes sense (which, in itself, is getting odder around here) when he says that the Yankees ensured that the Red Sox and the Devil Rays didn't get him.

Lee on the Rangers is only a problem for the Yankees if they end up facing each other in the postseason... and the Yankees are 9-1 in postseason play against the Strangers, and beat a team with Lee as their ace in last year's World Series, so Yankee Fans shouldn't worry. True, the Yankees lost the '07 ALDS to Lee's Indians, but that was when the Indians, not the Yankees, had CC Sabathia... and Lee wasn't much of a factor that year anyway.

Anonymous said...

Now Mikey, there you go talking out of your ass again. You know we call that around here? Farting. And you are having a big ol' brain fart.

"Every single MLB franchise has been to the postseason at least once -- something the parity-obsessed NFL can't yet claim..."

Are you serious? One team, the Houston Texans, has not been to the postseason yet. But they are a relatively new team, so give them a little time, and they too will be in the playoffs. So that's 1 out of 30 - that's your argument? Up until a few years ago, another team from Houston, the Astros, had never been to the World Series, after what? 40 years in the league. Now there's some parity there, 40 years before you make it to the World Series?

Even the Detroit Lions have been to the playoffs, though it's been a while. I remember watching a playoff game between the Lions and Eagles back in the early 1990's, when the great Scott Mitchell was the QB for the Lions. The Lions even have 4 championship trophies, though they happened before AFC-NFC merger.

In fact, every team in the NFC has WON a playoff game since 1970. And every NFC team has been in the Super Bowl except for the Lions. And 10 of the 16 NFC teams has WON the Super Bowl.

In the AFC, again every team has WON a playoff game since 1970. And every AFC team has been in the Super Bowl except for the Texans, Jaguars, and Browns. And 9 of 16 AFC teams has WON the Super Bowl.

The Browns, like the Lions, have 4 championship trophies to their name, though they came before the merger. And the Texans and Jaguars are relatively new teams, so give them a little time and they will get there.

And not only that, but the occurence of teams going from worst-to-first in one season seems to happen more in the NFL. It's true that Tampa Bay did go from worst to first 2 seasons ago, but how often does that happen? Rarely. It happens much more often in the NFL.

That, my feeble-minded friend, is parity.

And that is what the people want. They want to see David slay Goliath, not in the WS or Super Bowl, but they want Goliath to be dead before the season begins, so we can see new blood, have some new matchups to get excited about, and see a different Goliath meet it's demise. That doesn't happen in baseball. And it won't, until there is competitive balance.

Uncle Mike said...

"My feeble-minded friend"? I am not feeble-minded, and I sure as hell am not your friend.

You use the Houston Astros as an example. It is true that the Astros never won a Pennant until 2005, after they got out of the Astrodome. (Penance for introducing the plastic stuff? The Curse of Judge Hofheinz?) But from 1997 to 2005, they reached the postseason 7 times in 9 years -- as many times as the Mets have in their entire 47-year history (1962-2009).

And therein lies a possible answer: You wouldn't be whining about "competitive balance" if you weren't rooting for the team that is number two... in so many ways.

We all laughed at Fred Wilpon when he said his goal was "to play meaningful games in September." No, the goal is to win the last game in October... or November, depending on the whims of Czar Selig.

As long as the Wilpons think like the owners of a small club, the Mets will BE a small club... and even their most ardent fan has "gotta believe" that to be true.

Anonymous said...

Who I choose to root for is of no consequence. The bottom line is the Yankers should NOT be buying there way into the postseason year after year after year - it's BORING. And unfair.

As long as the Yankers can buy their way into the postseason, then there is NO COMPETITIVE BALANCE.

Uncle Mike said...

Every team can buy their way into the postseason. Some choose not to. Some try and fail. But all can.

You wish your team had an owner like George Steinbrenner, who, until the day he died -- today -- thought that if you're going to play, you might as well try to win, and if you're going to try to win, you might as well do it any way the rules would allow. If more owners were like George, we would be much closer to the "competitive balance" you crave. But they're not. And that makes them sadder than anyone who will miss George will ever be.

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