Greenberg Comments On Cliff Lee, Future Payroll

As if being in first place with the third best record in the league didn't appeal enough to Rangers fans, new owners Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan have announced price rollbacks on everything from tickets to parking to concessions. That's all well and good, but I don't think anything would satisfy fans more than an extended run of success, and Greenberg told the AP (via The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) that they plan on pulling out all the stops to retain Cliff Lee after the season to help continue the good times.

"We're fully prepared to bear the cost of [re-signing Lee] — and do it with a smile because we're here to win," said Greenberg. "Right now, the terms are secondary … What matters most now is demonstrating that this is a family."

"We feel like we have a pretty good handle on how to keep this team together with Cliff as a part of it," he added. "It's nothing that frightens us, and we'd be real happy to go into next season with that group and the cost that we project."

Lee remained diplomatic, saying that it's good for the organization to have some stability without ever indicating whether or not he'd like to return. With the possibility of a nine-figure payday just months away, it doesn't make sense for the lefty to do anything but remain completely neutral and keep all of his options open.

Because of all the young, cost controlled players on the roster, the Rangers' payroll this year is just shy of $65MM according to Cot's, one of the lowest in the game. Several players, most notably Josh Hamilton, C.J. Wilson, and Nelson Cruz will be due sizable raises in arbitration next year, but Texas has plenty of young players to fill out their roster on the cheap.

Greenberg indicated that the team will raise payroll in the future, something that's unavoidable if they plan on keeping Lee. He did not give a specific number unsurprisingly, saying it "would be a foolish thing to do because it would be an artificial number." Retaining Lee would put the team on the hook for upwards of $35MM in annual obligation for just two players when you consider Michael Young's salary, so a future payroll of $80-90MM or so isn't out of the question. 

57 Responses to Greenberg Comments On Cliff Lee, Future Payroll Leave a Reply

  1. anthonymurillo 5 years ago

    I’m confused…if he going to smile when Cliff Lee wears Yankee pinstripes????

  2. qudjy1 5 years ago

    Its important for teams like TEX, BOS, LAA to at least create a competitive environment for Lee – even just to drive up his price for NYY.

    • Tko11 5 years ago

      Why?? they have unlimited money anyway…

      • qudjy1 5 years ago

        Yeah – probably true – but the more they go over the “cap” or what ever its called – the more they have to give to MLB (and eventually to other teams) as a penalty.

    • bjsguess 5 years ago

      I agree 100%. You know Boston has been doing that routinely to the Yanks. Whether that’s in trade discussions or bidding on FA’s. It’s smart business and good for everyone else.

  3. mrsjohnmiltonrocks 5 years ago

    I hope the Rangers do make Lee a competitive offer. As one of those non Yankee admittedly envious fans, I think it would be a nice change to see a top flight player end up on another team. Just once.

    • dc21892 5 years ago

      I’d like to see that happen too. This coming from a Boston fan.

      • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

        You bet.

        Whether you are a Yankees fan or a Red Sox fan or any fan, it’s always nice to see good and great players go to teams such as the Rangers, Brewers, A’s, and Nationals — smaller market teams.

        Recently, we found out that the Nats were interested in Carl Crawford, I would absolutley love to see that happen. Nats park is outstanding and their fans are awesome. Cliff Lee, I just want to see him go to a team like Texas for example, a pitching staff that Cliff Lee could anchor and help the younger guys out like Derek Holland.

        I live in NY, I love watching Baseball at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field and as much as I would love to watch Cliff Lee pitch in person, I don’t want him to end up as a Yankee.

        • dc21892 5 years ago

          Same. And you know other big market teams like the Red Sox and the Mets will be somewhat involved to drive the price up. But I’m not a fan of the big market teams grabbing every good player off the market. It’s a nice luxary to have, don’t get me wrong, but there are only so many really good players.

        • Dallas (4) and Washington (8) are smaller markets? Interesting…..

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            The last thing I would call the Texas Rangers is a large market club.

          • They should be. They play in Dallas, the biggest market after the NY/Chicago/LA triumvirate. The Rangers can absolutely not use market size as an excuse. Neither can the Marlins (Miami is the eighth biggest market) or the Astros (Houston is the seventh) for that matter. They may not be baseball markets (yet) but the population is there and it’s up to the teams to create a fan base from all those people.

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            Okay, well we are discussing Baseball markets and also comparing them to NY
            for example.

    • I would love to see Lee end up on a team not from AL East, so yeah Go Rangers. Wish Nationals would go after him but I doubt he would be interested at all.

      • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

        Remember, Roy Oswalt wanted to be a National because of Stras and the younger pitchers on their roster, so Cliff Lee might feel the same.

  4. Chuck Greenberg, the anti-Tom Hicks?

  5. qudjy1 5 years ago

    I wouldnt be surprised if LA got involved. THey have a pile of money coming off the books, and (divorce or not) the market to support a high priced FA or two.

    They have Manny, Kuroda, Lilly, Padilla, among others not on the books. Granted – they have alot of ARB guys, but still…

    They should be able to afford a starter like Lee. That might make them pretty darn tough (this from a Dback fan)

    • dc21892 5 years ago

      I hear what you’re saying but I disagree. The Dodgers are “struggling” finacialy. They need more than one pitcher so I don’t think it makes sense to use most of the money on ONE player. It certainly would help and that is plenty of money to throw around but Lee would take up most of it and leave them searching for low risk/high reward type players.

      • qudjy1 5 years ago

        Everyone says they are stuggling financially, but i dont see it. LA is still a big market, and as far as i know – are still drawing a pile of fans.

        They could always fill in a couple young starters from thier deep system if they had a front line guy.

        • dc21892 5 years ago

          Yeah, I completely agree but if they are struggling like is being reported it makes more sesne to distribute to add all over.

        • gigantes2425 5 years ago

          their fan base is actually down but they do make tons of money still. and it’s not that the money isn’t there, they just can’t spend much because of the divorce. where have you been lately?

          • qudjy1 5 years ago

            I never understood exactly why a divorce would affect the payroll of a team that is a profitable one. I understand why it might come down some – but if they are making money at a 122M payroll, and they have 85M committed (with Arb estimates and raises included) it seems like they have alot of room.

    • gigantes2425 5 years ago

      thats 3 pitchers in their starting rotation and you want them to get 1? i can see them calling to see what lee is going for but not being a serious bidder. they’ll probably keep the staff they have.

      • qudjy1 5 years ago

        Lee, Kershaw, Billingsley, Ely, Whoever from thier farm would still be pretty good.

        They have a list of guys – Withrow, Miller, Elbert, Gould, Webster, etc, as well as any dumpster dive for a 5th starter.

        Im no dodger fan by any means… just saying – im not believing the divorce payroll reduction until i see it.

  6. invader3k 5 years ago

    They’ll make a competitive offer, but the Yankees will blow it out of the offer. It’s going to be just like when the Brewers tried to retain Sabathia after 2008.

    • mrsjohnmiltonrocks 5 years ago

      True. But what if, and I know this is a BIG what if, Lee isn’t concerned with top dollar? I think he is, but if other factors are involved, what if a team like the Reds signed him? That’s the one thing that team lacks-a true top of the rotation stud. That’s a place where he could have an immediate impact, and get a lot of credit for winning, probably right away. That’s my dark horse team.

      • bjsguess 5 years ago

        Lee cares about getting top dollar. Everything he has done leading up to this point shows that he is focused on this. He reminds me of Teixeira. I think Lee quotes about half the stuff Tex said.

        Teixeira loved playing for Texas but was non-committal about his future there. So he gets traded to Atlanta. Loves his time in Atlanta – loves the fans. Asked about staying he says all the right things but in the end is totally ambiguous. Frustrated Atlanta moves him. Goes to the Angels and it’s the same thing all over. Every Angel fan thought they had the guy and once the season ended you never heard from him again.

        I don’t begrudge these guys – it’s their shot to make it big. It’s just a little frustrating knowing that all the big teams will be in on Lee leaving very little chance for Texas to land him for a decent price.

    • jwredsox 5 years ago

      Lee is older than Sabathia though so the years won’t be outrageous. Think Burnett’s contract at closer to 20mil per year with maybe another year in it. That is something another team can match. Let’s not pretend the yankees are going to sign him for 7/140

      • bjsguess 5 years ago

        I actually think 7/140 is right in line with what Lee can expect. It’s too many years but someone will pay it.

  7. Rangers fans should be crapping daisies now.

    Seriously, this is about as good as it gets with an owner.

  8. yanks224 5 years ago

    the yanks will get em srry all u non yankees fans ur teams dnt even come close to the brox bomers they can out play u and out pay u

    • Jason_F 5 years ago

      However, their fans’ typing skills are very limited.

    • bjsguess 5 years ago

      Yanks224 is my perfect stereotype of a Yankees fan.

      Doesn’t understand English, baseball, or even trash talking :)

  9. SadMetFan 5 years ago

    It will be interesting, Jeter, Rivera, Pettite (if he doesn’t retire) and Vasquez (if they re-sign him) are going to be FA, curious to see if they will take pay cuts or not. Mitre, Hughes and Chamberlain will be at arbitration, and Cirvelli, Gardner, and Robertson will be at pre-arbitration. With Cliff Lee in that mix, I don’t even want to know the final number of that payroll.

  10. dire straits 5 years ago

    I saw this on Hotstove yesterday and thought, “Why hasn’t MLBTR covered this story yet.” But who has time to post on a Friday evening, anyway?

  11. I would imagine that Cliff lee is going to want a full no trade clause in his contract. I wonder if any team other then the yankees would be willing to give that to him as it would take away any financial flexibility the team would have as cliff gets older or should he not pan out as he’s expected.

    Didn’t lee also state that he’d prefer to pitch on the East Coast?

  12. AmericanMovieFan 5 years ago

    Cliff Lee could very well stay in Texas, though he’s been mum on his free agency because he’s a merc. The dude wants to get paid. It’s why he’s turned down extension offers and declined to negotiate mid-season. He wants as much money as possible, period. If the Pirates offer him the largest contract, he’ll go to Pittsburgh.

    • AmericanMovieFan 5 years ago

      Also if Texas was willing to give Millwood $60MM and A-Rod $252MM I’m sure they’d spread $200MM or so across a few players. Lock up Hamilton to a 5 years/$66MM deal and Cruz to a 3 year/$22MM (4,7,11) deal and option years for $13MM a piece for a possible total of 5 years/$48MM and C.J. Wilson 4 years/$35MM.

  13. crashcameron 5 years ago

    why do people aim a derisive smirk at “mercenary” ballplayers? No “loyalty” and all that. Can you blame Cliff Lee? Turned himself into one of the best pitchers in the game and he gets flipped more times than a house in a hot real estate market.
    Why wouldn’t he be looking to call as many shots as he can in his next (maybe last) deal?

    BTW: Phillies fans must bangin’ their heads. As mighty as Halladay is, Halladay and Lee would have been all-time.

    • eponine 5 years ago

      don’t worry. phillies could make a run too. he has said he loves philly and it was the most fun he’d ever had. having pie rammed in his face isn’t nec his idea of fun.

      • AmericanMovieFan 5 years ago

        Yeah i could see Lee returning to Philly, but only if they give him at least 4 years/$100MM or 5 years/$111MM

  14. NYYANKEES 5 years ago

    anything more than 6 years is over-paying

  15. 5 years $90 mil is the most my Rangers should offer. It won’t be enough. He will end up with Sabbathia money and will get at least 6-7 years. I figure 7180 will be the final number.

  16. baseballdude 5 years ago

    i dont think the rangers will resign lee. they got something like a 60 million dollay payroll . if they resign lee for 20 -25 million that like a third of there payroll which will make it tought to resign hamilton cruz and other players like wilson next year

  17. Slopeboy 5 years ago

    Cliff Lee is going to the Yankees. Here are some of reasons why: 1.He’s friend with Sabathia, Lee’s wife actually spoke with CC’s wife earlier in the year to get info about houses in the area before the trading deadline. 1. Lee has a bad history pitching in Texas, he’s not crazy about pitching in 100 degree heat.3. Lee enjoyed pitching in the World Series. 4. He’s mentioned that he enjoyed the intensity of Northeast Baseball. 5.The Yankees are going to offer a boatload of money. 6. Why would he go to the Mets, Phiilies who cut him loose? or the Red Sox who will offer less than top money?

    • eponine 5 years ago

      his wife talked with cc’s wife bec of the yanks deal was almost a done deal accdg to the media. it doesn’t mean he wanted to go. he enjoyed pitching in the world series so he should go to the phillies–they’ve gone 2 yrs in a row. yanks were sitting at home 2 yrs ago watching the world series. he’s already said it’s a business and he doesn’t have bitterness towards the phillies. it’s not like he hasn’t been traded before anyway. he’s not nec going to the yanks.

  18. For 7/180, the Yankees can have him. That’s a massive overpayment into his later years. I’d go 5/120 with the last two years having performance-based incentives built into the contract. You still give him the NTC. With Texas looking to be competitive beyond this year, you just might get him to stay. Of course he was questioned about the heat recently and played the diplomat, and of course the mercenary comment above was spot-on; however, I feel that proximity to home, a competitive and young team, with a good contract might get him to stay in Texas. One thing that gets me is our manager, Ron Washington. Or “Warsh” as we call him. There were two HUGE errors last night by Joaquin Arias that could have been outs that cost Lee the game. Lee wants smart players behind him since he is himself pretty damn brilliant. (in my eyes anyway) New York may be an older team player age-wise, but that age has experience behind it. Let’s not forget the biggest check book in baseball too. Here’s to hoping he stays in Texas.

  19. jwredsox 5 years ago

    Why wouldn’t they be able to make a competitive offer? Not like the Yankees are going to pony up 25mil per year for him.

  20. gigantes2425 5 years ago

    i was thinking the same thing. lol

  21. withpower 5 years ago

    hay guyz

  22. Jason_F 5 years ago

    Well, I sure am glad that my team is shooting for the world series, because I’ve never heard of a world sires. You should really look into the use of periods, commas and perhaps even spelling all of your words out.

    Has this forum really degenerated into the kinds of discussions that involve intelligent responses such as “screw you f****t”?

  23. Jason_F 5 years ago

    And here I thought I was special, but, alas, you copy and paste your incoherent and hateful responses?

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