Sunday, July 6, 2014

Why have New York writers forgotten that Cliff Lee didn't want to be a Yankee in the first place?

When Cliff Lee rejected the Yankees' free agent contract offer in the winter of 2010, he was arguably the biggest high-profile free agent ever at that time to diss the Yankees. (Of course, this was three years before Robinson Cano packed his bags for Seattle!) If you may remember way back then, a whole 3 1/2 years ago, I wrote over and over that I was extremely skeptical he would be a Yankee. Once Kristen Lee, Cliff's wife, let it be known that she was unhappy about Yankee fans cursing, throwing beer at her and spitting on her in the 2010 ALCS, I figured there was pretty much no way he would sign with the Yankees. Remember, she said this about Yankeeland:
"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."
Then Lee even took less money to go back to Philadelphia, and also let it be known that 1) the Yankees were his last choice, after the Phillies and Rangers, 2) didn't even call Brian Cashman himself (he had his agent do it), while he personally called Jon Daniels to say no, and 3) said that the Phillies gave him the best chance to win,. All of these things made it abundantly clear exactly how he felt about the Bronx Bombers.

While I was shocked he went back to Philly, instead of staying in Texas, I wasn't the least bit surprised that he turned down the Yankees. And I was appalled at the spin from Yankeeland at the time trying to make Lee's rejection a good thing.  There were these anonymous, ridiculous quotes from Yankeeland:
"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."
Yeah, right. As I wrote back then, there must be a pony in there somewhere!

Anyhow, let's fast-forward to 2014. As I was drinking my morning coffee just now, I saw that the New York Daily News' Mark Feinsand is the latest Yankee writer to propose that the Bombers trade for Cliff Lee. Feinsand writes this, in an article entitled "Brian Cashman must do what it takes to bring Cliff Lee to the Yankees":

If Lee proves to be healthy, wouldn’t he be the ideal candidate for the Yankees? Yes, he’s owed a ton of money over the next couple of years, but he likely won’t require the same type of package Samardzija commanded, making it far more realistic for the Yankees to go after Lee than, say, David Price.
He is not the only New York writer to propose this idea, but all of them seem to have something in common -- they have conveniently forgotten that Lee already turned down the Yankees in 2010. This isn't some obscure bit of trivia -- it was kind of a big deal at the time!
Aside from the fact that Lee is a soon-to-be 36-year-old, who is currently suffering elbow problems and is on the disabled list right now -- not exactly a sure thing -- these writers also don't even consider the fact that Lee's limited no-trade clause includes the Yanks. And that, again, he has made it clear that he hates the Yankees. And that if Lee is going to be traded, the Phillies are going to try to get the best prospects for him, something the Yanks do not have. And that Lee would want to go to a team that guarantees him another spot at postseason glory. With a .500 record at the moment, that sure isn't the Yankees!
There are literally 15 teams in baseball with a better record than the Yanks right now, but Lee is going to waive his no-trade clause for a team he spurned in the first place to put on pinstripes? C'mon now.  (I guess Feinsand maybe thinks Lee is "the ideal candidate for the Yankees" because he is old, injury-ridden, and makes a lot of money!)
The only way this could possibly happen would be for the Yankees to pay a big financial price in order to get Lee to be on the team, aside from the $25 million a year he is guaranteed for 2014 and 2015. The team will probably have to either agree to pick up the $27.5 million for 2016, or give him some sort of contract extension in order to get him to be a Yankee. And even then, I am very skeptical that this would happen.

Quite frankly, given the Yankees' shoddy lineup, coupled with the loss of CC Sabathia, perhaps they should be sellers, and not buyers, this season. But that is not likely in Yankeeland! Neither is Cliff Lee actually becoming a Yankee.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

1 comment:

Uncle Mike said...

He thought the Phillies gave him the best chance to win. In the ensuing four years, the Phillies have made the playoffs once, the Yankees and Rangers twice each.

He also said he wanted to play close to home, and the Rangers gave him the best chance of that, and yet he signed with the Phillies, who are only 100 miles closer to home than the Yankees.

Now, with the Phillies having collapsed, and his own performance being a reason why (although hardly the biggest reason), he'd prefer to stay there.

The Yankees need some new players. Players smarter than this.

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