The worst kept secret in baseball is that the Yankees are interested in signing Cliff Lee. The Yankees contacted Lee’s agent this morning to let him know that they are interested and will be making an offer. Wow I can hardly call this news. It would have made more sense if they had called to let him know that they have a Brinks truck on the way to his house much like they did with his good friend CC Sabathia. Speaking of Sabathia it’s no secret that the two of them are good friends and the Yankees will certainly take advantage of that by having CC lean on Cliff a little. I think Lee wants to play in NY, but I also think he is not going to show his cards to early and he is going to play the game right in order to cash in on the best deal that he can. It’s no secret that Texas also covets Lee. Texas got a lucrative TV contract that will allow them some payroll flexibility however I don’t think that they are ready to get into a bidding war with the Yankees. There aren’t many teams that are going to win that battle. Ultimately I think that Lee will get a similar contract to what Sabathia got from the Yankees, which was 7 years 161 million dollars. Now I don’t believe that Lee will get as many years because he is already 32 years old but i think that the 23 million a year number is about what we can expect. 5 years 115 million seems about right. I wouldn’t expect that it will happen this week either. My prediction is right before Thanksgiving, this will give him time to listen to what other teams might offer.
Now what you have to ask yourself is what will happen if Lee goes elsewhere? What will the Yankees do for plan B? Well as far as free agents go there really isn’t anyone else. I think if Lee goes elsewhere it becomes critical that the Yankees persuade Pettitte to return and I also think that they will have to find a number two type pitcher via trade. My first thought would be Zack Grienke, but Zack has the right to block a trade to a certain number of teams and he has expressed in the past that he wants to remain in a small market and does not think he would want to pitch in NY. So who else would the Yankees look at? I’m really not sure to tell you the truth. I wish I could say that they would go get Felix Hernandez but I cant see a scenario that Seattle would trade him for anything reasonable. The Yankees aren’t about to trade Cano so King Felix is probably not an option. This is where the GM meetings become so valuable. It gives general managers an opportunity to talk to each other and express who they may be willing to trade and what they are looking for. Cashman is a master of the trade and has my full confidence. The good news is unless Lee has already decided he doesn’t want to play in NY he will sign with NY. The Yankees aren’t going to let this fish get away.