Teams With Potential Interest In Cliff Lee

When it comes to pitching, Cliff Lee will be the prize of the upcoming offseason. Though free agent starters such as Javier Vazquez, Ted Lilly and Hiroki Kuroda would be welcome additions to many MLB rotations, they haven't pitched as well as Lee in recent years. 

After winning the 2008 Cy Young Award, Lee posted a 3.22 ERA in over 230 innings last year, striking out more than four times as many batters as he walked. So far in 2010, the lefty has a 3.28 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 0.7 BB/9 as he closes in on his fifth 200 inning season. Lee, 32, has set himself up for a big free agent payday. Here's a list of teams with possible interest:

  • Yankees – It's long been assumed that the Yankees will offer Lee a massive contract. The Bronx Bombers have outbid others before and their financial might will likely come in to play again. After all, some believe Lee will go to Siberia if that's where the money is. 
  • Tigers – The Tigers have an open rotation spot and money coming off the books. It's a natural fit.
  • Rangers – The Rangers know Lee will be pricey, but they're prepared to bid on him.
  • Nationals - GM Mike Rizzo identified starting pitching as a major need even before Stephen Strasburg underwent Tommy John surgery. The Nationals have been willing to spend on free agents in recent years.
  • DodgersTed Lilly, Vicente Padilla and Hiroki Kuroda hit free agency and the Dodgers have to replace that production somehow.
  • The Twins, Mets, Reds, Brewers and Padres may have interest, depending on how the next few months unfold. Lee could have an extra suitor or two if the Twins lose Carl Pavano, the Mets decide they can spend more than expected, the Reds let Bronson Arroyo walk or the Padres surprise people. At this point, it seems more likely that the Yankees, Tigers and Rangers will be Lee's most serious suitors.


Leave a Reply

93 Comments on "Teams With Potential Interest In Cliff Lee"


Just_MLB
4 years 11 months ago

I would love if Cliff Lee went to Toronto. Just somewhere, noone would ever expect.

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

I agree that it would be nice if he went somewhere off the radar, like when the reds won the chapman sweepstakes.. I don’t see Toronto as a good fit though.

moonraker45
4 years 11 months ago

I agree that it would be nice if he went somewhere off the radar, like when the reds won the chapman sweepstakes.. I don’t see Toronto as a good fit though.

dascual
4 years 11 months ago

Toronto doesn’t need Lee, and the last thing the rotation needs is another LH pitcher.

Lee’s contract will be an albatross by the 2nd season

Just_MLB
4 years 11 months ago

not saying it makes sense…just saying…it would be nice if these other
owners would stop crying broke and pony up the money to compete.

Sniderlover
4 years 11 months ago

The contract Cliff Lee might get on the open market may not look well few years from now…

Just_MLB
4 years 11 months ago

it will def be interesting to see how it plays out..

Just_MLB
4 years 11 months ago

it will def be interesting to see how it plays out..

Jessamynn
4 years 11 months ago

Those massive contracts never do, but all GMs already know this.

The reasoning is that if the guy helps you WIN, then it’s worth it (i.e. the Sabathia contract).

I’d have to agree. If the ultimate goal in baseball is to win championships, and the player in question plays a large part in helping the team do so…

Just_MLB
4 years 11 months ago

not saying it makes sense…just saying…it would be nice if these other
owners would stop crying broke and pony up the money to compete.

dascual
4 years 11 months ago

Toronto doesn’t need Lee, and the last thing the rotation needs is another LH pitcher.

Lee’s contract will be an albatross by the 2nd season

Just_MLB
4 years 11 months ago

I would love if Cliff Lee went to Toronto. Just somewhere, noone would ever expect.

CSPACED25
4 years 11 months ago

I just don’t see any one outbidding the Yankees…The only thing I see stopping him from being a Yankee is if he doesn’t want to go there for some reason. However good friends with CC, already ahd talks about CC when he thought he was traded there, I just don’t see that being the case!

MadmanTX
4 years 11 months ago

So the Yankees’ payroll is infinite? They want Lee, but they also want Crawford and lord knows how many other teams’ free agents this winter. I think unless they get into a bidding war with the Red Sox, the Yankees don’t necessarily have a lock on outbidding the Rangers for Lee. If Lee goes to the Yankees, it will be because he wants to be there and will be leaving money on the table in not accepting the Rangers’ offer.

4 years 11 months ago

You’re getting all that Carl Crawford stuff from the media, the Yankees have not actually spoken on wether they want him or not besides with Hal running, he reall isn’t going to spend as much as his dad, as they have shown in 2009 offseason… The yanks have 3 quality outfielders all under team control for the next 2 years or more

myname_989
4 years 11 months ago

So it’s okay to listen to all of the hype surrounding Cliff Lee and the Yankees, presented to you by the media, but it’s not okay to listen to all of the hype surrounding the Yankees interest in Carl Crawford, and even Jayson Werth… As I said yesterday, 99.9% of the baseball world expects the Yankees to bid on one of Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth. Whether you like that or not, it’s going to happen.

4 years 11 months ago

I think that Lee will be the Yanks priority, and that the Tigers will not want to go as long as Lee will be able to get. I’m not so sure that the Yanks will chase Crawford. They have plenty on their plate with Jeter, Mariano, Pettite, and Vazquez all becoming free agents, and they figure to bring back three of those four. Vazquez will be outta New York. If Pettite retires, the Cash man will probably go after another free agent to replace him as well. I see them sticking with their current outfielders.

I could see the Tigers signing a starting pitcher, and I think they need to, but I could also see Dombrowski standing pat and pretending that the current rotation with the addition of Andy Oliver is sufficient. It isn’t. Pavano, Kuroda, Lilly, Arroyo, Webb, DeLaRosa, and Padilla are more likely targets for the Tigers, and Dombrowski has a very strong preference for trading rather than signing a free agent.

4 years 11 months ago

I think that Lee will be the Yanks priority, and that the Tigers will not want to go as long as Lee will be able to get. I’m not so sure that the Yanks will chase Crawford. They have plenty on their plate with Jeter, Mariano, Pettite, and Vazquez all becoming free agents, and they figure to bring back three of those four. Vazquez will be outta New York. If Pettite retires, the Cash man will probably go after another free agent to replace him as well. I see them sticking with their current outfielders.

I could see the Tigers signing a starting pitcher, and I think they need to, but I could also see Dombrowski standing pat and pretending that the current rotation with the addition of Andy Oliver is sufficient. It isn’t. Pavano, Kuroda, Lilly, Arroyo, Webb, DeLaRosa, and Padilla are more likely targets for the Tigers, and Dombrowski has a very strong preference for trading rather than signing a free agent.

CSPACED25
4 years 11 months ago

I just don’t see any one outbidding the Yankees…The only thing I see stopping him from being a Yankee is if he doesn’t want to go there for some reason. However good friends with CC, already ahd talks about CC when he thought he was traded there, I just don’t see that being the case!

4 years 11 months ago

Dear Rockies,

Please get Cliff Lee

The_Porcupine
4 years 11 months ago

Given their disasterous foray into high profile, big name free agents (Neagle, Kile, Hampton, etc.), I doubt the Rocks would be interested.

The_Porcupine
4 years 11 months ago

Given their disasterous foray into high profile, big name free agents (Neagle, Kile, Hampton, etc.), I doubt the Rocks would be interested.

4 years 11 months ago

Dear Rockies,

Please get Cliff Lee

money941
4 years 11 months ago

I see a 5 year $100+ mil offer from Yanks coming and seems like it would be the best deal for both sides. I wouldn’t go above 5 years tho (see AJ Burnett).

money941
4 years 11 months ago

I see a 5 year $100+ mil offer from Yanks coming and seems like it would be the best deal for both sides. I wouldn’t go above 5 years tho (see AJ Burnett).

rwdavis22461
4 years 11 months ago

i think he will stay in Texas. why they do not have a state income tax so even if the Yankees outbid in money he may say for once i am on a team from the start of a season that has a chance to win for a few years. Yankees are great i am a Mets fan but there he will be #2 behind CC again in Texas he will be the ace.

rwdavis22461
4 years 11 months ago

i think he will stay in Texas. why they do not have a state income tax so even if the Yankees outbid in money he may say for once i am on a team from the start of a season that has a chance to win for a few years. Yankees are great i am a Mets fan but there he will be #2 behind CC again in Texas he will be the ace.

rwdavis22461
4 years 11 months ago

Alot of mlb pitchers would love to have Nolan Ryan avail to give them tips on pitching . He is very popular with the pitchers on the staff a go to guy. Now he is part owner. Texas has money now . They are no longer bankrupt.

rwdavis22461
4 years 11 months ago

Alot of mlb pitchers would love to have Nolan Ryan avail to give them tips on pitching . He is very popular with the pitchers on the staff a go to guy. Now he is part owner. Texas has money now . They are no longer bankrupt.

4 years 11 months ago

Yeah, the only way the Yanks don’t land Lee is if they decide they don’t want him……

What no one is really mentioning is how the Yanks will have 3 full NTC’s in their rotation (Assuming Lee demands one, which seems almost certain)….I’m a Red Sox fan so it doesn’t scare me (actually makes me optimistic), but are any Yankee fans nervous about that?

4 years 11 months ago

Correction: Burnett has a limited NTC – 10 teams each year are on it.

The_Porcupine
4 years 11 months ago

It is a good point to consider. Yes the Yankees have more money than God, but sooner or later all those big money, 4-5 year contracts will paralyze their payroll. I mean, they’re going to pay Jeter and Rivera until they retire, have A-Rod, Tex, Burnett, and CC under long term contract. And they’ll need to pay up on Cano real soon. How many long term, big contracts can they take on?

4 years 11 months ago

Exactly.ARod has already shown signs of regressing. In fact, his WAR values for the last 4 years are 9.2, 6.0, 4.7, 3.2. That must be cause for alarm as his contract is literally untradeable.Over the last 3 years, Teixeira has shown similar decline. His WAR values are 7.3, 5.6, 3.3. Even C.C., while he’s probably lived up to his contract the most, has declined slightly over the years. With CC, however, I feel that it was more of the fact that the Yankees signed him while he was in his prime. He’s leveled out to a 4.0 WAR after sporting a whopping 7.5 WAR during his contract year.If I were the Yankees, I would be more than alarmed by the overall decline of their players performance. They are only getting older. If they lock up Lee to another long term deal, they’ll only be adding another declining player to their arsenal. Yes, he’ll give them a couple great years…but it’s likely that he’ll give them a couple mediocre years as well…and those mediocre years will still be at a 20m+ salary.

andrewyf
4 years 11 months ago

We’ve been hearing the ‘they’re only getting older’ mantra about the Yankees for a full decade now. And while it had some backing back when they had no minor league talent and a dysfunctional front office, it’s now a tired and inaccurate cliche.

They have slowly but surely shifted their core from Pettitte, Jeter, and A-Rod to similar, younger, and healthier high-end talent like Teixeira, Cano, and Sabathia. Guys like Swisher, Gardner, Granderson and Hughes are not quite ‘core’, but they are very good, young players to surround their highest-end talent.

This fact is why, even though Jeter and A-Rod are having their worst-ever years, and Pettitte and Posada have missed significant time, the Yankees are still the best team in the game. And since their new ‘core’ players are 30 or younger at the moment, and their ‘fill-in’ players are also young, it doesn’t look like they’re going away any time soon.

4 years 11 months ago

You missed my point entirely. Yes, their “core” is young right now..but they are all signed well into their mid 30’s. If they continue to decline as they have been, they will be a team full of 35 year old has-beens all getting paid as if they were 30 year olds in their prime. The problem isn’t with the roster today, or even next year…it’s 3-5 years from now. Giving Lee a 5 year, 125m contract with a full NTC would add another 35+ year old to their arsenal 4-5 years from now.

andrewyf
4 years 11 months ago

I actually hit on your point – the same story was being told 5 years ago, many high-priced players were in full decline, their prime-aged core was aging, and they wouldn’t be able to contend for years, etc.

The Yankees, time and time again, have shown the ability, through intelligent scouting, trades, player development, and, yes, pure financial clout in free agency, to replace their core. I don’t see any reason why we should doubt their ability to do so going forward.

4 years 11 months ago

They were very successful from 2001-2008, eh?I’m not saying they won’t eventually recover, but they are setting themselves up for another 2001-2008-esque period IMO.

andrewyf
4 years 11 months ago

You mean a period where they make the postseason all but one year, win 2 World Series, and appear in two more, averaging 96.5 wins a year?

I’ll sign up for that in a cocaine heartbeat, thanks.

4 years 11 months ago

Sorry, had the dates wrong…but thought you’d get the point regardless

andrewyf
4 years 11 months ago

You mean a period where they made the World Series twice, made the postseason all but one year, and averaged 96.8 wins a year?

You can’t even use selective endpoints (one of the worst ways to argue) properly to make your point.

4 years 11 months ago

You’re so biased it’s ridiculous. I was trying to refer to the period when the Yankees had several washed-up, declining players locked up with over-sized contracts. I’m done arguing with you, you’re hopeless.

andrewyf
4 years 11 months ago

Okay, so you’ve referred to that period. So did I. What are the facts? The facts are that the Yankees STILL SUCCEEDED despite having washed-up, overpriced players locked into long-term contracts.

Why?

Because they ALSO had several prime-aged, high-talent players performing well during that time!

I’m just saying, if the ‘bleak’ future you’re predicting is the Yankees winning 96.5 games a year, you’ve made a lot of Yankee fans happy.

East Coast Bias
4 years 11 months ago

But he’s right. Even when they had washed up players with large contracts (Giambi, Pavano, etc…), they were still at the top of the class in all of baseball. So… what’s your point exactly? Because while they are a more complete team now, with younger talent, they were still one of the best teams, if not the best, for the last decade, while housing washed players with large contracts.

4 years 11 months ago

You’re so biased it’s ridiculous. I was trying to refer to the period when the Yankees had several washed-up, declining players locked up with over-sized contracts. I’m done arguing with you, you’re hopeless.

andrewyf
4 years 11 months ago

You mean a period where they made the World Series twice, made the postseason all but one year, and averaged 96.8 wins a year?

You can’t even use selective endpoints (one of the worst ways to argue) properly to make your point.

4 years 11 months ago

Sorry, had the dates wrong…but thought you’d get the point regardless

andrewyf
4 years 11 months ago

You mean a period where they make the postseason all but one year, win 2 World Series, and appear in two more, averaging 96.5 wins a year?

I’ll sign up for that in a cocaine heartbeat, thanks.

4 years 11 months ago

They were very successful from 2001-2008, eh?I’m not saying they won’t eventually recover, but they are setting themselves up for another 2001-2008-esque period IMO.

East Coast Bias
4 years 11 months ago

Your post makes me wish this site had a LOVE button.

andrewyf
4 years 11 months ago

We’ve been hearing the ‘they’re only getting older’ mantra about the Yankees for a full decade now. And while it had some backing back when they had no minor league talent and a dysfunctional front office, it’s now a tired and inaccurate cliche.

They have slowly but surely shifted their core from Pettitte, Jeter, and A-Rod to similar, younger, and healthier high-end talent like Teixeira, Cano, and Sabathia. Guys like Swisher, Gardner, Granderson and Hughes are not quite ‘core’, but they are very good, young players to surround their highest-end talent.

This fact is why, even though Jeter and A-Rod are having their worst-ever years, and Pettitte and Posada have missed significant time, the Yankees are still the best team in the game. And since their new ‘core’ players are 30 or younger at the moment, and their ‘fill-in’ players are also young, it doesn’t look like they’re going away any time soon.

4 years 11 months ago

Exactly.ARod has already shown signs of regressing. In fact, his WAR values for the last 4 years are 9.2, 6.0, 4.7, 3.2. That must be cause for alarm as his contract is literally untradeable.Over the last 3 years, Teixeira has shown similar decline. His WAR values are 7.3, 5.6, 3.3. Even C.C., while he’s probably lived up to his contract the most, has declined slightly over the years. With CC, however, I feel that it was more of the fact that the Yankees signed him while he was in his prime. He’s leveled out to a 4.0 WAR after sporting a whopping 7.5 WAR during his contract year.If I were the Yankees, I would be more than alarmed by the overall decline of their players performance. They are only getting older. If they lock up Lee to another long term deal, they’ll only be adding another declining player to their arsenal. Yes, he’ll give them a couple great years…but it’s likely that he’ll give them a couple mediocre years as well…and those mediocre years will still be at a 20m+ salary.

MadmanTX
4 years 11 months ago

Don’t forget trying to land Carl Crawford and other free agents as well. There has to be a tipping point even with the Yankees payroll. And if there isn’t, there should be.

Jessamynn
4 years 11 months ago

There’s actually no evidence to support this.

The Yankees are operating on a different level than other teams. If you look at Forbes’ team values, it’s clear that the Yankees are worth 2-4 times more than other major market clubs (L.A., Boston, NY, ChC), and 4-6 times more than everyone else. The general trend is that teams seem to be fielding payrolls of roughly 20-25% of their supposed value; if we were to apply this to the Yankees, they’d be capable of $350-400+ million dollar payrolls.

Admittedly, this is a simplistic analysis, for the sake of brevity, but likely reflective.

The only thing stopping the Yankees from fielding $400+ million dollar payrolls is the luxury tax, and that they just simply don’t want to deal with the PR hassle and chastising from Selig.

The_Porcupine
4 years 11 months ago

It is a good point to consider. Yes the Yankees have more money than God, but sooner or later all those big money, 4-5 year contracts will paralyze their payroll. I mean, they’re going to pay Jeter and Rivera until they retire, have A-Rod, Tex, Burnett, and CC under long term contract. And they’ll need to pay up on Cano real soon. How many long term, big contracts can they take on?

andrewyf
4 years 11 months ago

Nervous about NTCs?

Those almost never matter when it comes to contending teams, because contending teams rarely trade their high-priced players, and if they are in a situation where they want to trade a guy, well, their team would probably be so dysfunctional already that the player would probably want out.

Plus, those contracts are enough of a NTC themself…who would take on that massive thing?

I know the Sox have a policy of not offering NTC’s, and that’s cute, but it only serves to hurt their chances at acquiring top-shelf talent.

4 years 11 months ago

I don’t see how the no NTC policy is “cute,” but it’s certainly a good policy to go by. Of course there will be exceptions along the way, but I like the idea of having an “out” down the road if he doesn’t live up to his contract.

Yes, the contracts are often “untradeable”…but if a team is willing to eat part of the contract in order to save face and open a roster spot, a trade is always possible…unless there’s a full NTC.

4 years 11 months ago

I don’t see how the no NTC policy is “cute,” but it’s certainly a good policy to go by. Of course there will be exceptions along the way, but I like the idea of having an “out” down the road if he doesn’t live up to his contract.

Yes, the contracts are often “untradeable”…but if a team is willing to eat part of the contract in order to save face and open a roster spot, a trade is always possible…unless there’s a full NTC.

andrewyf
4 years 11 months ago

Nervous about NTCs?

Those almost never matter when it comes to contending teams, because contending teams rarely trade their high-priced players, and if they are in a situation where they want to trade a guy, well, their team would probably be so dysfunctional already that the player would probably want out.

Plus, those contracts are enough of a NTC themself…who would take on that massive thing?

I know the Sox have a policy of not offering NTC’s, and that’s cute, but it only serves to hurt their chances at acquiring top-shelf talent.

4 years 11 months ago

Yeah, the only way the Yanks don’t land Lee is if they decide they don’t want him……

What no one is really mentioning is how the Yanks will have 3 full NTC’s in their rotation (Assuming Lee demands one, which seems almost certain)….I’m a Red Sox fan so it doesn’t scare me (actually makes me optimistic), but are any Yankee fans nervous about that?

Rick Garcia
4 years 11 months ago

I’d be surprised if the Yanks don’t get him. The way he’s been pitching in Texas makes it seem like everything until next season is just waiting to wear pinstripes and cash that big paycheck.

Rick Garcia
4 years 11 months ago

I’d be surprised if the Yanks don’t get him. The way he’s been pitching in Texas makes it seem like everything until next season is just waiting to wear pinstripes and cash that big paycheck.

Chris Solberg
4 years 11 months ago

That 6.35 ERA in August after pitching all those complete games in June/July? Hopefully it’s just a “dead arm period” and not a harbringer for things to come.

Chris Solberg
4 years 11 months ago

That 6.35 ERA in August after pitching all those complete games in June/July? Hopefully it’s just a “dead arm period” and not a harbringer for things to come.

rbeezy
4 years 11 months ago

Yankees will take this one , Tigers will have interest but Tigers can’t afford for Lee to be injured making $23 mill/year. Yankees can.

rbeezy
4 years 11 months ago

Yankees will take this one , Tigers will have interest but Tigers can’t afford for Lee to be injured making $23 mill/year. Yankees can.