3:02pm: Lee's agent Darek Braunecker told ESPN's Andrew Marchand, "The story is not an issue to us. Her experience in New York is certainly a non-issue. She enjoys New York as much as anyone enjoys New York."
10:01am: Two years ago, C.C. Sabathia's wife Amber was said to prefer the Giants. Yankees GM Brian Cashman was able to pitch the couple on New York and close the deal on a seven-year, $161MM contract. He may have a tougher task with Cliff Lee's wife Kristen, who did not have a good time at Yankee Stadium during the playoffs. From USA Today's Bob Nightengale:
Perhaps the Rangers' greatest sales pitch simply was having Kristen sit in the visiting family section at Yankee Stadium during the playoffs. She says there were ugly taunts. Obscenities. Cups of beer thrown. Even fans spitting from the section above. "The fans did not do good things in my heart," Kristen says. "When people are staring at you, and saying horrible things, it's hard not to take it personal."
It's impossible to say how Kristen Lee's experience will factor into the lefty's decision. As Nightengale notes, Sabathia and A.J. Burnett (and perhaps their wives) are ready to recruit Lee this offseason. Plus, it's unlikely Yankees fans would taunt their own star pitcher's wife.
The Yankees' main selling point, of course, will have to be money and contract years. The Rangers have all the intangibles in their favor, especially the team's World Series appearance and proximity to the Lee family's Little Rock, Arkansas home. We've seen players leave millions on the table before, though the Rangers plan to be aggressive in the bidding.