Results tagged ‘ Cliff Lee ’

Quick hits on the pitching front

Some quick-hit items and rumors from around the Yankees, on a day when Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven meet the media in New York as Hall of Famers:

  • Could Jeremy Bonderman be on the Yankees’ radar to add starting pitching depth? Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York thinks so. There have been reports of the Yankees’ interest in Bonderman, who was 8-10 with a 5.53 ERA in 30 games (29 starts) for the Tigers last year.
  • If Andy Pettitte doesn’t return, Jon Heyman of believes they will sign free agent Rafael Soriano as a setup man. Cashman had said earlier this winter that he wasn’t inclined to spend closer money on a setup man, but that was in Kerry Wood‘s case — before Cliff Lee came off the board — so perhaps that stance is flexible. 
  • Cashman told us this week that he’d prefer to sign a starter over a reliever, and the Yankees are also reported to have “a modicum” of interest in Freddy Garcia and Kevin Millwood, according to Heyman.
  • Brian Schlitter is the newest Yankee, claimed off waivers from the Cubs on Wednesday. He figures to get a look in Spring Training and might pop up in the Bronx at some point this season. Schlitter had a 12.38 ERA in seven big league outings last year, but had a 3.15 ERA and 13 saves at Triple-A. Here’s a Q&A with Schlitter.
  • Nick Swisher will play himself in two episodes of ABC’s ‘Better with You,’ joining his new wife, Joanna Garcia. They’ll be set to air in February. 

Cliff Lee keeps ’em all waiting

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 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.

Yankees make their offer to Cliff Lee

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.”

With Jeter done, Steinbrenner ready to spend on Lee

jeter-hal.jpgDerek Jeter wasn’t the only one unhappy to see the details of his contract negotiations splashed on the back covers of the New York tabloids. In his office in Tampa, Fla., you can bet Hal Steinbrenner spent a few moments fuming, as what both sides agreed should be a private negotiation spilled into the public arena. 
“We were all upset and a little bit angry that it reached the level that it did,” Steinbrenner said. “You’ve always got unnamed sources making this comment or that comment. That’s what sells papers. But it was escalating, no doubt, which is why we sat down together again face-to-face and started hashing this thing out. It was a difficult three weeks, but we got it done. Everybody is ready to move on.?”
The truth was, both sides knew that they should continue their relationship. Jeter wanted to wear no other uniform and the Yankees needed him on the field as their shortstop and team captain.
“In the very first meeting we had, I tried to make that as clear as I could, that we wanted him to be a Yankee,” Steinbrenner said. “This family has a lot of respect for him and the contributions he has made for the organization.”
With talks stalled, Steinbrenner said that the turning point was a pair of meetings between Jeter’s camp and the Yankees, one in Tampa and another in New York. 
“I think it helped a lot,” Steinbrenner said. “Number one, we got to air our frustrations about how big the media part of it had become. We just talked about where we thought we needed to end up, and it all turned out for the best.”
Now it’s on to improving the team, and Steinbrenner said he has the money already earmarked for a big offer to free agent left-hander Cliff Lee.
“I’m a budget guy, you know that. But we’ve got some money to spend,” Steinbrenner said. “If we’ve got money coming off, we almost always put most or all of it back in. That’s what the fans expect. They expect us to field a good team every year and we’re going to do that. We are involved.”

Lee’s agent: Yanks’ visit was “very favorable”

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.”
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