Yankees Have Yet To Offer Cliff Lee A Contract

6:01pm: The Yankees have not made Lee an offer and the Yahoo report below is inaccurate, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).

12:29pm: An industry source told Yahoo's Tim Brown yesterday that the Yankees offered Cliff Lee "nearly $140MM over six years, but Lee continues to hold out for a seventh year."  Brown does not appear to have full confidence in the source, as the item was placed low in the column and he notes that he was unable to confirm the offer with the Yankees or Lee's agent.  We found the link via Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues, who has a good take on the rumor.

On Sunday, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote, "Word is the Yankees are in the $115 million-$120 million range for five years."

It seems likely that the Yankees are willing to give Lee a $23-24MM salary, allowing him to top C.C. Sabathia and own that record for a while, not counting Roger Clemens' pro-rated $28MM in 2007.  But if Lee wants to beat or match Sabathia's $161MM for the highest total contract ever given to a pitcher, he needs that seventh year despite being four years older than Sabathia was when he signed.  Lee's agent Darek Braunecker could also attempt to duplicate Sabathia's opt-out clause.  Braunecker famously negotiated such a clause into A.J. Burnett's five-year, $55MM deal with the Blue Jays.


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125 Comments on "Yankees Have Yet To Offer Cliff Lee A Contract"


pastlives
4 years 9 months ago

wow

4 years 9 months ago

So I see Cashman is trying to show him who’s boss.

moonraker45
4 years 9 months ago

There’s a time for love and a time for living.
You take a chance and face the wind.
An open road and a road that’s hidden
A brand new life around the bend.

There were times when I lost a dream or two.
Found the trail, and at the end was you.
There’s a path you take and a path untaken
The choice is up to you my friend.

Nights are long but you’re on your way
To a brand new life,
Brand new life,
Brand new life around the bend.

4 years 9 months ago

I think people are just tossing out numbers and years because they know it’s going to be an absurd amount regardless.

BravesRed
4 years 9 months ago

There was a report last offseason that said Damon chose the Braves, which this remind be a lot of.

4 years 9 months ago

I do trust Tim Brown, so I was willing to post this story. The doubts are pretty well laid out, so hopefully fans do not take the rumor as certainty. Most likely other reporters will draw out info on it at some point today.

BravesRed
4 years 9 months ago

It’s not that I doubt Yankees offered Lee that much, since the team in discussion is the Yankees, but even I don’t think Yankees would offer 6-years for Lee, unless some other team does.

MetsEventually
4 years 9 months ago

Choke Lee after his 3rd year. Pretty much, once the Yankees win 2 of the next 3 series.

4 years 9 months ago

That’s what everyone said when the Yankees got Randy Johnson. That’s why baseball has to be played.

MetsEventually
4 years 9 months ago

::pst:: (Trying to jinx it)

tomzig
4 years 9 months ago

Except Cliff Lee is about 7 or 8 years younger than Randy Johnson was at the time. The two situations are not similar.

4 years 9 months ago

Age has nothing to do with this. The only thing at issue is that the baseball has to actually be played for games to be won. The Yanks may well win two of the next three series’. Or they may not. Pitching is only half of the game. Still have to score runs, and the Yankees can fall asleep at the plate as badly as the Royals or D-Backs at times. Paper is meaningless.

jwredsox
4 years 9 months ago

*Paper is meaningless unless you want to cover rock.

Correction.

j6takish
4 years 9 months ago

Im not usually one to play the ol’ “Bankees” card, but that is just disgusting

jwsox
4 years 9 months ago

really disgusting? this is right around the offer most writers said he would get from multiple teams…frankly im surprised its only 6 years…If i were a gm i would offer a 6 year deal worth 140 ish maybe eve go 160 but with deferred payments with no intrest over like 10 years after that..a guy his age might go for it a constant source of income for the next 10+ years

4 years 9 months ago

I don’t think there were many teams willing to spend 140 over six years. Not sure where you heard that.

raffish
4 years 9 months ago

I love to see the Yanks laden with potentially catastrophic contracts. Unfortunately, Lee doesn’t look like he’ll suck as he ages.

baseballz
4 years 9 months ago

Wow, now what team honestly would match that ? No way on earth would a team offer thats not the Yankees

Yankeefan4life
4 years 9 months ago

That’s too much.

David Tiao
4 years 9 months ago

That’s What She Said!

Seligs_Boi
4 years 9 months ago

You mean…. “That’s what Selig said!”

MetsEventually
4 years 9 months ago

You mean…. “Selig lets this happen while poor market teams like the Pirates and Royals suffer!”

Seligs_Boi
4 years 9 months ago

You mean… “Selig has the sport with the most parity” Kiss the rings (from multiple teams)

BlackSoxBandits
4 years 9 months ago

And big market teams like the Mets still continue to suck and waste money. Good luck with Collins! I am just a little tired of this small market crap. If it wasn’t for the Yankees – there would be 8 teams in baseball.

MetsEventually
4 years 9 months ago

Forever among the Pirates & Royals we stand.

55saveslives
4 years 9 months ago

Wow! 6yr 140 not enough for Lee???

Hey Cliff, Tim Lincecum ate you for breakfast!!!

P_O_R_Q_U_E
4 years 9 months ago

Hey 55saveslives, Tim Lincecum isn’t a free agent!!!

Seligs_Boi
4 years 9 months ago

Selig can change that.

55saveslives
4 years 9 months ago

Didn’t say he was. Just saying after losing BOTH his W.S. games, he should take the deal! Nobody is going to offer anything that compares.

Piccamo
4 years 9 months ago

Yeah, I love how the pitcher can make his team’s offense perform better and his team’s defense field better. I think it’s really great how whether a pitcher wins or not is a good way to declare which one is superior.

55saveslives
4 years 9 months ago

LOL…

Sorry the joke went over your head. The point is, there is NO reason to turn down 140 million dollars!

flickadave
4 years 9 months ago

Not unless you can get $165 million that is…

BlueSkyLA
4 years 9 months ago

Idiotic, if true — and probably close enough to true to verify what we already know. Unfortunately for the rest of baseball, the Yankees can afford no end of idiotic contracts.

Slopeboy
4 years 9 months ago

One saving grace for Dodgers fans is that they can afford idiotic owners and GMs

Infield Fly
4 years 9 months ago

OK Yanks, after you finish lavishing absurd amounts of money on Lee, run along and pay off the national deficit, and then pick me up a dozen eggs and a gallon of milk from the store…

monster55
4 years 9 months ago

I’m pretty sure revenue sharing is intended to help pay off the deficit of other MLB teams. Communists.

JP
4 years 9 months ago

At this point (as someone who is not a Yankee fan) I hope the contract becomes absolutely ridiculous and long, so that they get stuck with him in the last three or four years of the deal.

I do think the Yankees are in some danger of getting locked into too many ridiculous deals. Not because they can’t afford it, but because there are only so many roster spots. If they sign Jeter to a 4 year deal, the left side of the infield could look pretty nasty in a couple years.

Seligs_Boi
4 years 9 months ago

Not the only thing ridiculous and long in MLB. /wink /wink

BlueSkyLA
4 years 9 months ago

You think there’s a downside? So what if they have to release someone with $50m or more left on their contract? They can easily afford to waste the money. The main point of these absurd contracts is to deny the players to any other team they might face — whether they can perform for the entire term of the contract is besides the point. That’s why Lee is holding out for more.

bleachercreature
4 years 9 months ago

I doubt this is true. I don’t think they would offer such a big contract so fast and then run the risk of bidding against themselves when Lee wants a seventh year. Let texas make the first offer then bump it up and then bust out this big boy if they’re still in it.

If they’re going to play hardball with Jeter, why not play this in a similar manner? I mean everyone knows if its just the money the Yankees will win, but if Lee likes texas then theres really nothing they can do. Its not like the Yankees run the risk of having Lee stolen right from under their nose at the last minute.

Slopeboy
4 years 9 months ago

As audacious as it sounds, it’s the same type of offer that was given to Sabathia 2 years ago. It may well be untrue, but it’s an offer to blow everyone out of the water, and shows that NY really feels they need Lee, if its legitimate.

MadmanTX
4 years 9 months ago

Huh. If that is the deal, then I am not sure I would be all that heartbroken if Lee does end up taking it and going to the Yankees. That’s a massive debt and gamble for any team just for one player, but the Yankees will have around the same money into both Lee and Sabathia. It might pay dividends in the short term, but around year 3 or 4…watch out.

BoSoxSam
4 years 9 months ago

Agreed. The Yanks have in recent years gone from just spending big to specifically offering very long contracts to star players, in order to get short-term benefits. They got extremely lucky with Derek Jeter’s contract, but A-Rod has already dropped well below the value of his contract. Burnett was overpaid, Sabathia will hurt in a couple of years, Teixeira might end up giving the most value but even he’s getting older, etc. etc. And now with Cliff Lee…I can definitely see him being the superstar he is for two, three more years, but after that….who knows, Yankees could end up really regretting this.

bobby_wallace
4 years 9 months ago

you could say that with virtually any long term deal, though – might hurt them on the back end and stuff. one of the yanks biggest strengths is their ability to absorb those deals. what makes me and other yanks fans feel good about cliff is that impeccable control and command tend to age well. i don’t think they go 6 years unless they absolutely have to but in the end, other teams would be offering these contracts if they could and had to. i’m not always in full support of huge deals but the yanks have a clear need and they’re addressing it. plus, if it does go awry, they have plenty of arms coming up in the next couple years.

WolandJR
4 years 9 months ago

yeah, the yankees can absorb these contracts (which works out well for them) but the issue with that team isn’t that they don’t have enough star power; it is that they don’t have the depth needed to compete over 162 games AND three rounds of the playoffs.

these huge contracts they give out are immovable virtually the day they are signed, meaning older players can’t be traded, the farm system can’t be replenished, and a bevvy of young organizational depth can’t be achieved.

you can’t knock the yanks too much considering they won a ring in 2009, but the situation they are heading towards right now is starting to look really ill-advised, especially if you look at the geriatric starting 9 they will have over the next few years.

BlueSkyLA
4 years 9 months ago

This assumes that they can’t afford to eat tens of millions in bad contracts — which they can. Unlike any other team in baseball, their finances allow them to tender contracts which are unwise baseball by any normal definition. I can see them sitting on $100m in nonperforming players in a few years. But they don’t have to care because they can take the loss on those contracts and start the process all over again. If more baseball fans understood what the Yankees were really doing, I think the outrage would be even greater and maybe MLB would finally be moved to changing the system.

BoSoxSam
4 years 9 months ago

Okay, you and I agree but come to different conclusions. I feel that the Yankees might indeed be affected by all that dead weight, and you don’t think so. I guess its just a different way to perceive the Yankees…I guess I just hope that they’ll show some mortality in a couple of years, when they maybe struggle with salary issues. :)

BlueSkyLA
4 years 9 months ago

I’d hope so, but I don’t see any signs of them choking on huge contracts or even worrying about the risks. Every year we’re reminded that their ability to spend is effectively unlimited.

bobby_wallace
4 years 9 months ago

i agree mammoth contracts are hard to move, no question there. but i think any team that signs these deals have enough confidence that they’ll see a positive return so any fear of moving them is moot at the time of signing. the yanks farm is flush with talent, especially upper level pitching, so i don’t think you can truly argue that these deals have hurt the yanks’ farm system. only a few teams can build a championship caliber team and keep their farm talent level high. cash has done an awesome job at that since gaining more power with smart draft picks and signing talent in the IFA market. the age of the lineup, i think, is a little overblown. cano, swish, gardner, granderson and teixeira are all in or entering their primes. montero’s unproven but if he performs, that’s another young guy who can contribute big. arod had a down year, by his standards, but ya know what? i’ll take his line for the rest of his contract. with big contracts, i’m more concerned with the years rather than the money simply because i think the years can hurt a team more.

YankeesWM
4 years 9 months ago

Dude, sounds like sour grapes to me. What evidence do you have that CC will hurt in couple of years? You don’t. A-Rod still performs, but not to the level of that contract. That is the only player I’ll grant you. Burnett pitched well in 09 (see: Game 2of the 2009 World Series). I’m not going to bash on you because you’re having a rough go getting FAs in the past two offseasons, but for the love of God…understand baseball in the context of finances and contracts to determine who makes what and why.

BoSoxSam
4 years 9 months ago

All right I don’t have much evidence with Sabathia. Although, Fangraphs did have a couple articles this year about how his strikeout rate has gone down, and he’s become more of a groundball pitcher, which while still effective, has the tendency to be a middle-of-the-rotation kind of talent rather than ace quality. And we saw that this year, where after the wins, Sabathia had a bit of a down year by his admittedly high standards. Anyway, you’re right, other than maybe some silly remarks about his weight which I don’t necessarily agree with, I don’t have much to back that argument.

Sorry, I’m going to ask for some more evidence for Burnett in 09. One World Series game doesn’t make you an effective pitcher. I will be honest, all of Burnett’s struggles in 2010 have probably magnified in my mind any weaknesses he may have had in 2009, so please. Tell me how he was effective that year. I thought he underperformed, but I could definitely be wrong.

You’re also right, the Boston FO hasn’t exactly impressed recently, especially with longer-term signings. That’s partly what prompted my concern, I think. It’s less that the Yankees are bad at recognizing talent; it’s clear with Jeter and Teixeira that they do, and A-Rod as you said is still a good player, even while being overpaid. And Cliff Lee would be another great signing talent-wise. It’s just notable that the Yankees are really piling on the big contracts right now, and I think it is fair to assume that they might have problems in 3-4 years. We’re seeing one of those potential disasters unfold right now, as underperfoming Jeter is about to be very overpaid for at least 3 years. Someone else commented that you could say there is this kind of risk for every long-term contract, so why pick on the Yankees? Well I agree, but the reason I’m noting it with the Yankees is that because of their wealth they are able to add one of these big, multi-year contracts every offseason, without much effect to their coffers, and because of this huge advantage, its possible that in 2012 or so, when more than just one or two players might begin performing well under their salary, that the Yankees have a problem on their hands. Just imagine in the last couple years of their contracts, if A-Rod is one more injury away from retirement, Teixeira is this years Berkman as he begins to age, Sabathia moves to #3 starter to make room for the new guns, etc. etc. This is an extreme, but if that happens, the Yankees suddenly have 100+ million salary all in just a couple slightly above-average to average players.

Sniderlover
4 years 9 months ago

Benoit…Buck…Huff… and right now just an offer for Lee…

MLB free agency is overpayment like no other.

moonraker45
4 years 9 months ago

Thats MLB free agency for you, paying the average like they are good, the good like they are great and the great like they are Albert Pujols. .

Teams lock up all their stars these days, which leads to thinning of the free agency market, which leads to overbidding… its really all Tampa’s fault

Gumby65
4 years 9 months ago

Kevin Brown, The Sequel (in 3D)

tomzig
4 years 9 months ago

Kevin Brown’s back injury =/= Cliff Lee’s back injury.

MetsEventually
4 years 9 months ago

Randy Johnson and the King of Chokes

4 years 9 months ago

I don’t know what’s more egregious.. a 6/140 offer or the fact that Lee is holding out for a seventh year.

moonraker45
4 years 9 months ago

Took the words right out of my mouth.

Its like 6/140…. Really Yanks? Really??

but then its like

Cliff is holding out for a 7th year… Really Cliff.. Seriously???

Match made in heaven if you ask me

0bsessions
4 years 9 months ago

If you’re literally the last guy on earth and you’re not a bad looking guy to begin with, do you settle down with the first attractive young lady you see, or do you say “well, you’re cute and all, but Rosario Dawson just called and…”

There are three teams willing to offer the guy big bucks and none of them have a plan B. If I’m Lee, I respond to every obscene offer by asking for a bit more. What’re the Yankees going to do, tell him thanks but no thanks?

moonraker45
4 years 9 months ago

I get the art of negotiation.. But if you are looking for a 6 year deal, and one is offered to you, I don’t see the point of going above your original demands and greedily now asking for a 7th year…

and p.s I am settled down, and if Rosario Dawson called I’d be cool with it.. lets be serious here, I’d hit my wife with my car for a piece of Dawson lol

YanksFanSince78
4 years 9 months ago

Moonraker is right. The Yanks aren’t pressed to add another year if no one else comes close to their offer. In the case of CC they decided to add another year and the opt out because they were desperate and wanted to overwhelm him before the Angels figured out whether or not Tex was signable.

4 years 9 months ago

Reds Offer 4 Yr 89 Mill

mike292929
4 years 9 months ago

Where are all the Yankee fans shouting “Great deal!! make it happen!!!”

Oh wait… they’re piling out of Yankee Stadium in the 6th Inning.

Slopeboy
4 years 9 months ago

I’m sure you’re watching in front of your TV waving your team’s pennant when they’re getting blown out of a game.

4 years 9 months ago

Has any other team even made an offer for Lee? I mean I hope this doesn’t turn out to be another situation where the Yankees offer 60million more than the next bidder. CC’s contract is ridiculous, and thank goodness he’ll be off it by age 35. Granted, Lee is a finesse pitcher and may pitch well into his late 30s, but a 6yr/140M is too much by anyone’s standards, and it’s even more absurd that he’s waiting for a 7th year.

tony_mciv
4 years 9 months ago

Not formally I don’t think. Texas and the Nationals have said to have interest, but as someone said above, the Nationals already have their statement.
I don’t think any team would want to match that. Who knows what will happen 6 years down the road? And he’s holding out for 7?
I’m speechless. It’s insane.
Okay Yanks; go ahead and take Cliff Lee from everyone else; we all know you made a mistake with AJ Burnett, and redemption has to happen oh yes, because if it doesn’t, you won’t get no. 28.

4 years 9 months ago

AJ Burnett was a proven mediocre pitcher with one break contract year and he cashed in on it. Now we’re seeing his true colors as a below average to average pitcher who can’t control his stuff, both on the mound and in his head. At this point i’d say the Yankees dangle Burnett for Zambrano, maybe Big Z can be salvaged. And the only way the Yankees get number 28 is if they shore up that bullpen and starting rotation, Start Teix in May, send him home in October, and bring up Montero, amongst other things.

Muggi
4 years 9 months ago

There’s no reason for the Cubs to make that deal. Big Z is owed less money, fewer years and is a malcontent that can actually pitch fairly well from time to time. Burnett is more money, more years and is a malcontent who sucks more or less full-time these days.