The Yankees have made an offer to free agent left-hander Cliff Lee, general manager Brian Cashman has confirmed.
Cashman would not disclose the years or dollar amount, but it is believed to be in the neighborhood of six years and about $140 million. Cashman said that his business is in a holding pattern while they wait for a response.
“He’s someone that’s worth waiting for. We certainly hope that he picks us,” Cashman said. “We think we have a lot to offer, but we understand there is competition.”
Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker, has left the Winter Meetings to meet with Lee and his wife in Arkansas.
“He’s got all the information he needs from us,” Cashman said. “And I assume he’s got the same from everyone else. I know we’re in the water here.”
Darek Braunecker, the agent for heavily-sought free agent left-hander Cliff Lee, spoke for about 10 minutes Monday in the lobby of the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort.
While Braunecker said it was too early to tell if Lee would find a home by the end of the meetings Thursday, he wouldn’t be surprised. Braunecker is in the process of setting up meetings with a number of teams, though the Yankees and Rangers are thought to be Lee’s most aggressive suitors.
Brian Cashman’s November visit to Lee’s home in Arkansas was brought up as a topic. Here is what Braunecker said he and Lee took from that lunch together:
“It gave Cliff an opportunity to personalize the organization. The only experience he had with the Yankees prior to that was going to Yankee Stadium and playing in Yankee Stadium and his experiences in New York. It’s a good opportunity. Certain levels of free agents have the opportunity to go face to face with general managers, managers and pitching coaches and ownership. It’s something we anticipated and expected, and something that Cliff enjoyed. He’d never had a chance to visit with Brian Cashman before. You can’t help but like him. It was very favorable.”
Lee is on a hunting trip this week, and Braunecker has promised to call him with any necessary updates. Shooting deer might be one thing Lee would have to say goodbye to in moving to the tri-state area, but as far as Lee’s ability to be a ‘New York guy,’ Braunecker had this to say:
“Cliff has clearly demonstrated he can pitch in any market. When you think about it, he’s gone from Cleveland to Philly to Seattle to Texas. He hasn’t had a hiccup in any of them.”
The drop-off between Cliff Lee and the rest of the free agent starting pitching market is sizable, and that allows the left-hander a certain amount of comfort as his representatives approach the task of securing a large contract this winter.
Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker, told The Associated Press on Monday that his camp is only “gathering information” at this point, and that no deal is expected to be reached quickly.
“This one certainly is a little bit unique in that he’s clearly the best player on the free-agent market and not a lot of other things are going to impact our position on Cliff,” Braunecker said.
Braunecker may not even attend next week’s General Manager’s meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., not needing to drum up interest in Lee. There is also no need to take Lee on a tour of the cities where he could pitch next year.
The Yankees and Rangers are thought to be among his most interested suitors, while the Phillies, Brewers, Cubs, Nationals and Angels could also jump in. Lee’s eventual contract may be a five or six year deal, worth upwards of the $23 million per season the Yankees are paying CC Sabathia.
“We’re going to take it on of kind of a team-by-team, case-by-case basis. I don’t expect Cliff to be flying all over the country,” Braunecker said. “We’re really in just the infancy stages of it all. We don’t really ever handicap the timing of any of this stuff. We believe that when the right deal presents itself, we’ll be prepared to act. And when that might be, that’s anybody’s guess at this point.”