In an attempt to spinning this rejection as no big deal, here's what two anonymous sources in Yankeeland told ESPN's Wally Matthews:
But it was clear in talking to Yankees insiders that the organization was neither surprised nor particularly disturbed by Lee's choice. In fact, there was a sense of relief that Lee was out of the American League and, with the Yankees and Phillies not scheduled to play during the regular season, could not torment them again until the World Series.
"Maybe this is all for the better," one of the sources said. "Do you really want to give a seven-year deal to a guy who doesn't want to be here?"....
Whoop-de-do. Is that all you got? Puh-lease.
First of all, if I could figure out in October that the Yankees' chances of signing Lee were slim, then why couldn't the brainiacs in their front office? Contrary to them claiming now they weren't surprised by this, the fact remains that they put all their eggs in the Cliff Lee basket, now the eggs look like a steamroller ran the basket over, and they're acting like it just gives them more material for omelets? Leggo my eggo!
Second, what is the Plan B here? It could have been signing Carl Crawford and trading a current outfielder for a pitcher, but that ship has sailed. Who's going to be starting for the Yankees -- Sergio Mitre? Carl Pavano?
And both used the same word -- "celebrate" -- to describe the rarity of an athlete opting for less money in favor of playing for a particular team.
"Obviously he wasn't all about the money, which is refreshing," said one of the sources. "He left a lot of it on the table."
"I think we should celebrate the fact that a guy took less money to go to a place he loves," the other said. "I honestly don't think he or his wife were afraid of New York, just that they enjoyed their experience in Philadelphia to such an extent that they would rather go there for a lot less money."
There must be a pony in here somewhere! Hey, let's "celebrate" Cliff Lee taking less money to go to the Phillies. Break out the champagne! Wheeeeeee!!
Are you kidding me? This attempt at damage control is pathetic.
And nobody said that Cliff and Kristen Lee "were afraid of New York;" instead, they were reportedly ticked off at the unruly fans. Big difference.
Besides, what is "refreshing" from the Yankee perspective about Lee taking less money to play elsewhere? That he hates the Yankees so much, not even the lure of filthy lucre couldn't convince him to come to the Bronx? And they're acting like this is a good thing?
Squawker Jon says that Yankees "refreshing" comment is one of the most hypocritical things he has ever heard. I can't disagree.
The reality is that unless Brian Cashman has some secret rabbit he's going to pull out of his elf hat, the Yankees have completely wasted the offseason so far on the Lee pursuit. And no matter how much the Yanks try to spin, spin, spin, there is no pony in here anywhere!
What do you think? Tell us about it!