Somewhere in Arkansas, Cliff Lee may be sitting at his kitchen table, staring at a menu of contract offers from both the Yankees and the Rangers. Make no question about it, there is really no wrong choice for him — his ability to throw a baseball has created a bidding war where he could select blindfolded and still wind up a marvelously rich man.
Of course, there’s more thought to it than that, and so we all wait. Did the Rangers make enough of an impact in Lee’s 3 1/2 months there that he’ll want to keep playing in Texas, trying to pitch them back to the World Series while also enjoying the proximity to the town he calls home?
Or will it be the Yankees, who have come in heavy-handed and clamoring for Lee to bring his services to the bright lights of New York, vowing to outbid all comers and wielding a promise to drape him in pinstripes through the 2017 season?
Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner told The Associated Press it would “behoove”
Lee to select the Bombers’ offer:
“For somebody of that stature, it would certainly behoove him to be a Yankee, which would probably be for the rest of his career. I think that would be a great move for him but, of course I’m prejudiced.”
Rangers president Nolan Ryan told MLB.com on Saturday that he – like everyone else – is just playing the wait-and-see game
“If they are really wrestling with it, they’ll probably take the weekend and come to a decision on Monday. I’ve run all my traps and don’t know anything, so we’ll just wait and see.”
After going through Cleveland, Philadelphia, Seattle and Texas, Cliff Lee is certainly entitled to his run of free agency. So will he take full advantage of it, not leaving a cent on the table? He spent most of the Winter Meetings hunting deer – is he going to be comfortable in New York? And how important to him is the ability to get home on off-days (something that Andy Pettitte has grown weary of)?
The only thing we can all say with certainty is that Lee will eventually make a decision in an arena where there really are no wrong choices. Until then, the executives for at least two Major League teams will keep the lights on.