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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Is losing Cliff Lee a "PR nightmare" for the Yankees?

Ouch! Cliff Lee said yesterday that he signed with Philadelphia Phillies in part because they give him "the best chance" to win!

Here's what he claimed in Wednesday's presser: 
"At this point it's about trying to win championships," Lee said, preparing to join a rotation that already includes Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. "I think this team gives me the best chance to do that."
Harsh! But given that rotation, and the rest of the team, he's not inaccurate. The New York Post made a big deal because the Lees said the Yankee fan issue in the ALCS was "way overblown." But the real story here is that while Lee dissed the Yankees in a number of ways. It's clear he had no intentions of coming to the Bronx; he just used the Yanks to drive up his price. To top it all off, he said that the Philllies gave him a better chance to win than the Yankees. When was the last time the Yankees got so owned by a free agent who signed with somebody else?

Our Yankee-hating reader with the controversial name of urinalfresh23 has flushed back onto the scene since Lee rejected the Yankees. He writes:

Losing out on Cliff Lee is a PR nightmare for the Yankers, which is just about as devastating to them as what happens on the field. Without positive PR, you don't sell tickets. Get the hint? Why do you think everyone in the front office is doing damage control?
While I don't think it's quite a PR nightmare, there is simply no good way to spin this issue. The Yankees' swagger of having the ability to swoop in and get whatever player they wanted is gone, thanks to Cliff Lee. No longer can they make the assumption that more money will get them whatever player they want to put under the ol' Christmas tree. Every December, Yankee fans run out and buy t-shirts of whoever the latest free agent du jour is. Don't see anybody lining up for Russell Martin t-shirts!

But here's the thing, even if you think Lee was a jerk who used the Yanks to get more money from the team he really wanted to play on, Mark Teixeira did the exact same thing. So the Bombers have no moral high ground here. Sorry.

I don't think there is anything the Yanks could have done to get Lee -- they got played, plain and simple.  But here's the thing -- if I could have figured out in October that Lee wasn't likely to be a Yankee, why couldn't they?

And why did Cashman waste time on nonsense like rappelling off a building instead of formulating a coherent Plan B? (Oh, and by the way, signing Martin as catcher wasn't exactly a big coup, given that he already needs surgery.)

I'm afraid Cash's Plan B will consist of trading Jesus Montero for Carlos Zambrano, or something equally as dopey. Cashman has exactly one sharp tool in his skill set -- the ability to spend a lot of money. Creative deals aren't really his strong suit.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

9 comments:

Steven said...

Lisa,
Usually I agree with you, but I think on this one you are taking it a little far. Think about it - assume the Yankees thought Lee was unlikely to come. What should they have done? Not gone after him? Then what would you be saying? They tried with the tools they had, which is money, New York, history, whatever.

Yes Lee used the Yanks and Rangers to set a market and drive Philly up. That means Philly paid more than they otherwise would, which is good for the Yankees (and for the Mets!)

As to Plan B's, there is no Plan B because there is no other top pitcher on the market. Cashman could have spent every minute of his life thinking about Plan B but the reality is he would have ended up at the same place - try hard to get Lee.

There are only two things the Yankees could have done differently in my view - offered more, and I don't think anyone thinks that would have been a good idea (and it probably wouldn't have even worked, unless it was A Rod money) or done a better job of selling New York, which I have to say in this day and age I think is sort of a joke (as if athletes don't know all about the pros and cons of New York - this isn't Reggie going to the 21 Club with George in 1976).

So Lee has demonstrated that it's "okay" not to take the biggest money/years. Others - Smoltz, Maddux, etc., have done the same thing in the past. It's nothing new.

Fundamentally, I think everyone needs to relax.
Cheers.

Uncle Mike said...

If Lee thinks the Phillies give him a better chance to win than the Yankees, the reason is simple: The National League is easier to get through than the American League, because there are fewer tough teams. So maybe he’s not as “stupid” as I said this past Sunday that he was. Still, Philadelphia, whatever you want to say about it as a city or as a sports town, isn’t exactly “close to home” if you’re from Arkansas.

As for why the Yankees “couldn’t” get Lee, maybe they were just trying to boost the price so that other AL teams wouldn’t get him. If so, then it worked.

But this is no “nightmare” for the Yankees. A hypothetical Lee-as-Yankee, after getting a huge contract, failing in the 2011 World Series as he did in 2010? That would be a nightmare. As we found out when we got Randy Johnson, the guy people are acting like Lee is.

Lisa Swan said...

Steven, thanks for writing. They could have gone harder after Carl Crawford, and then traded another outfielder for pitching. Not perfect, but it's a lot better than Cashman spending the weekend before the winter meetings dressing as an elf!

Lisa Swan said...

Mike, you wrote:

"As for why the Yankees “couldn’t” get Lee, maybe they were just trying to boost the price so that other AL teams wouldn’t get him. If so, then it worked."

Yeah, right, that was the plan. Dude, why can't you just admit that the Yankees lost here? All these continual contortions and rationalizations you're making have no basis in reality.

Lisa Swan said...

Steven, one more point -- you are right that the Yankees have been dissed by free in the past, but the last time that happened was 14 years ago. That's ancient history by baseball standards.

urinalfresh23 said...

Mikey has a serious case of Yanker-itis. That's the medical condition characterized by:
- delusions of grandeur
- an inflated sense of self-importance
- a false belief that your bowel movements have no odor (in other words you think your s**t don't stink)
- raging paranoia and
- an inexplicable ability to not see the forest for the trees

This condition is usually caused by such environmental factors as watching too much of the "just say NO to YES" network, or listening to Yanker broadcasters on any media outlet spin their b.s. for four hours everyday. The amount of mis-information that comes from Yanker H.Q. is just unbelievable.

Now it's not so much as outright lies, but rather the way in which it's presented to the uninformed viewer (i.e. Mikey). An example: someone on the other team makes a nice play, they say "well that was a nice play but the Yankers would have done it better". Little comments like that go a long way towards brainwashing the weak-minded.

You know, it's funny, but at the same time sad, but the Nazis had a propaganda theory that if you tell a lie often enough, people will accept it as the truth. I think someone at the YES network has been reading up on this theory, because every word coming from their mouths is SO biased.

Which leads us to why Mikey can't just admit that the Yankers lost out on Cliff Lee. Because it's been burned into his brain that they are perfect, they never lose, they never make mistakes, everyone else makes mistakes, etc. etc. etc.....

Poor sad pathetic little Mikey, living in his little world all by himself.

Uncle Mike said...

“Delusions of grandeur”? For Yankee Fans, they are not delusions, they are real. “An inflated sense of self-importance”? Well, somebody has to provide the money to pay those salaries, and that is where we the fans come in.

“A false belief that your…” What is this obsession, “Urinalfresh,” that you have with bathroom activities? Every time the Yankees win, do you say, “It’s my potty and I’ll cry if I want to?” Or even if you don’t want to!

“Raging paranoia”? Important rule: Sometimes, paranoia is justified, so it’s best to be prepared – especially to get them before they get you. “An inexplicable ability to not see the forest for the trees”? Trees produce wood. Wood produces baseball bats. Yankee bats produce a forest of titles. I see it just fine. “Brainwashing the weak-minded”? There’s one way I could go with that, but then, no one will EVER accuse YOU of being brain-washed, because it would take one soap bubble.

“You know, it's funny, but at the same time sad, but the Nazis had a propaganda theory that if you tell a lie often enough, people will accept it as the truth. I think someone at the YES network has been reading up on this theory, because every word coming from their mouths is SO biased.” Gee, there’s a shock: A network owned by the Yankees being biased in their favor. Are you telling me YOUR favorite team doesn’t have biased announcers?

“Which leads us to why Mikey can't just admit that the Yankers lost out on Cliff Lee.” Because they don’t need him. What they need is a 5th starter, and you don't spend THAT much money on a 5th. How many starters does YOUR team need? You won’t tell me, because you’re too chicken to admit that you root for such a lousy team.

“Poor sad pathetic little Mikey, living in his little world all by himself.” Yeah, all by myself, and 3.7 million others. Amazing how you can flunk so many subjects: Math, History, clearly English. And, judging by your screenname, you probably flunk Health, too!

urinalfresh23 said...

Wow, I can't believe you agree with me. You really are a nut job.

Oh, and only 3.7 million others agree with you? So that leaves 6.5 BILLION others who don't. After all, it was YOUR owner who boasted that this is a Yanker universe. Geez, looks like you're in the minority once again.

Uncle Mike said...

Look up the word "plurality," dimwit. There are more people who hate the Yankees than any other team, but, A, nobody hates anyone that much unless they win a LOT (this isn't European soccer, after all); and, B, while those who hate us outnumber us, those who love us far outnumber those who love any other team.

Besides, a lot of the people who hate the Yankees will agree with me on one thing: You do a witless, illogical, and ultimately pathetic job of representing them.