Derrek Lee has turned down the Yankees' contract offer and decided to remain retired, Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown reports. The Yankees recently approached Lee about returning to action, and the veteran first baseman gave the offer a few days of thought before declining.
Lee, 37, was still an elite first baseman as recently as 2009, when he posted a .972 OPS in 615 PA with the Cubs. Lee began to decline afterwards, though he still hit a respectable .263/.337/.436 with the Cubs, Braves, Pirates and Orioles in 2010-11. He couldn't find a Major League contract last season and he didn't officially retire, saying he was holding out for "a perfect situation" to continue playing.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman admitted that he wasn't too optimistic that Lee would sign with the club, so with Lee now officially out of the picture, the Yankees can focus their efforts on other corner infield options. The Yankees have been linked to other veterans like Chipper Jones and Scott Rolen, though the former is staying retired while Rolen may want more playing time and guaranteed money than the club is willing to offer.