Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cliff Lee becoming a Yankee is not a sure thing after all

Ever since the Yankees lost in the ALCS, most of the hot stove talk has been centered around getting Texas Rangers pitcher Cliff Lee. A lot of Yankee fans think that it's inevitable that he will be a Yankee next year. After all, the Bombers can throw beaucoups of money at him, the Yankees make the playoffs almost every year, and he's good friends with CC Sabathia.  But I wouldn't be so sure that Lee is going to come to the Bronx. Here's why:

* Yes, the Yankees usually get to the postseason, but contrary to what some fans seem to remember, they've made it to the World Series exactly one time since 2003. And you can't really say anymore, as many free agents signing with the Yankees do, that coming to New York gives them the best chance of winning, when Lee's Texas Rangers beat the Yankees this season in the ALCS.  Lee himself has said that if the Rangers win the World Series, "it would be hard to walk away."

* For that matter, Lee himself has been to the World Series twice in a row now, without wearing pinstripes. Reggie Jackson used to say how he brought his own star; that's Lee, too. Whatever good team he's on has a chance to do well in the postseason because of his presence at the top of the pitching rotation.

* The Rangers have new ownership, and a sweet new 20-year TV contract that reportedly gives the team at least $80 million a year. Owner Chuck Greenberg has said the team will be "aggressive" in re-signing Lee. This time around, the Yankees may not have the financial advantage they usually have in such competitons.

* USA Today's Bob Nightengale (Hat tip: Lone Star Ball) recently interviewed Cliff Lee's wife, Kristen. Turns out that she didn't exactly have a wonderful experience in the Bronx this week:
Perhaps the Rangers' greatest sales pitch simply was having Kristen sit in the visiting family section at Yankee Stadium during the playoffs. She says there were ugly taunts. Obscenities. Cups of beer thrown. Even fans spitting from the section above.
"The fans did not do good things in my heart," Kristen says.
"When people are staring at you, and saying horrible things, it's hard not to take it personal."

In the USA Today article, Kristen Lee talked about how their hometown of Benton, Arkansas is just a 40-minute flight from Dallas/Fort Worth. "That's the greatest thing, being so close to home," she said.

As Texas Rangers fan site Lone Star Ball said about the Lees, "When momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

* If Lee becomes a Yankee, that will be his fifth team in less than two years. Maybe it doesn't matter, but is that something he wants on his career resume?

There's no way of knowing for sure now whether Lee will leave the Rangers or not. But I will not be the least bit surprised if he stays with Texas.

What do you think? Tell us about it.


Mark the Spark said...

That being said, it will still come down to money. Just like with CC if the Yanks are willing to add an extra year or two and/or an escape clause like the one CC has the deal can get done. But if Texas puts an equal deal or close to it on the table, Lee very well could choose that. Players don't choose contracts over the way fans treat them or their wives. So, this is really a non issue. But, if I was Lee's agent, I'd definitely make it one. Anything to get the Yanks to bid more or to get other teams involved is a good thing.

Steven said...

If the Yanks want Lee, they will get Lee. It's all happy and fun now in Texas, but then the season will be over and, even if Texas wins the World Series, reality of a team with one big year in 50 versus the Yankees and the extra money will kick in and then forget about it. When have the Yankees ever lost their number one free agent when they were willing to pay? Or, put another way, the got CC, a much tougher lift than Lee.

Uncle Mike said...

May I address the elephant in the room? If Lee is so great, why does he keep changing teams?

We don't know much about his personality, as we did about Dick (Don't call me Richie!) Allen, who played for 4 teams in 4 years (1969-72) and wore out his welcome everywhere he went (including Philly, twice), despite being one hell of a hitter.

So what gives with Lee? Is it just that teams are too cheap to re-sign him? Can't be: The Phillies aren't tightwads, and they let him go. So what's the real story?

Steven said...

Well, Cleveland gets rid of everyone and Seattle was so awful that the trade to Texas made sense.

But, as for Philly, I always thought the trade of Lee was one of the dumbest moves imaginable and obviously now our Philly fan pals are doing the same thing we are (thinking about 2011). Phils said it was to save money in light of gettin Haliday, but that never really made much sense to me.

He'd have to be a pretty major a** to make me not want him so long as he keeps pitching in the postseason the way he has so far.

Anonymous said...

This is it! The Texas Rangers finally got their ticket to the World Series 2010! and fans start also to get their Texas Rangers Tickets It was no walk in the park. To get to the 2010 World Series the Texas Ranges had to go through a seemingly impossible line of tough baseball teams.

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