This winter's battle for Cliff Lee's services is widely viewed as a two-team race between the Yankees and Rangers, but those aren't the only clubs with a strong interest in the left-hander. MLB.com's Bill Ladson says the Nationals, who are hoping to land a front-line starting pitcher this offseason, will receive an audience with Lee.
Washington is a team Lee "has to learn more about," according to Ladson's source, so it's possible the Nationals could become a dark horse candidate to sign Lee after the 32-year-old hears what they have to say. Still, as Ladson notes, the Nats may be more inclined to trade for a starter rather than signing one of the top free agent arms. Here's what GM Mike Rizzo said in September when he discussed the team's desire for a top starter:
"We need a front-of-the-rotation guy to put everybody in their proper place in the rotation. That's the number one priority going into the offseason. We definitely have depth – prospect wise – to pull off a deal for a pitcher."
For a primer on the starting pitching available this winter besides Lee, check out our posts on the free agent market for righties and lefties, and the trade market for righties and lefties.
if the nationals sign lee they will be awesome in a few years. front 2 of of strasburg and lee. with harper coming up and they got zimmerman and if they resign dunn. they will win their division in a couple of years if they get lee.
Strassburg is out all next year, Dunn will sign elsewhere, and by the time Harper comes up, Cliff will be 34 or 35. And no, Im not implying that he still won’t be dominant, but he will have just a couple more years.
The addition of Lee does not win them the division and I feel the only way they get him is if they overpay in years, maybe 7 or 8 years…he has said he want to play for a team like the Rangers, and I don’t feel the Nats are there yet.
i was talking about 2012 and if dunn came back
And you are assuming that Strasburg comes back and is throwing like he did when he got hurt…
It’s only TJ not shoulder surgery. 90% recover completely from TJ. So we have to assume that he’ll come back and pitch like he did before give or take a little.
I don’t know if we should “assume it,” but the odds are in his favor. His first year back will probably be difficult as he’ll be on pitch limits and it can take up to six months for a pitcher to regain his command. I wouldn’t expect anything great from him in 2012, but he should be back in form by 2013.
Doesn’t surprise me. If Cliff Lee will go to where the money is, then of course he’ll listen. Imagine if he went to the Nats, that would be awesome…I’ve always said this, Nats park might be one of the best places to play in Baseball. The players love playing there and the fans love playing there, no pressure either. Just a great place. Am I saying that I think Cliff Lee will be a Nat? Not at all, but I think it’s worth thinking about if I’m Cliff Lee, and especially his wife!
What do you mean the fans love playing there? What fans?
Fans love going there
What do you mean fans love going there? What fans?
SNAP to the power of DAMN!
Never underestimate Nats. Rememberer when they were willing to offer Teixeira 180 mill+ ? I believe they can outbid Yanks on this one.
Only way they outbid the Yanks, is if the Yankees don’t want him.
Nats can offer him 6 years/150 mill. With payroll looming so high, I doubt Yanks will offer him that much.
Their payroll is high obviously, but from what I understand it’s not like they’re stretching their budget. They probably would prefer to keep it around 200, but I doubt it would stop them from signing someone they feel they must have.
I’m not a Yankee fan and wouldn’t want to see him going there, but when the Yankees want a player..he usually ends up a Yankee. Except when that player states he doesn’t want to be a Yankee…ex: Ken Griffey Jr. and Greg Maddux.
Only player i knew say he wouldn’t want to be a Yankee is Curt Schilling (and now Zack Greinke). Not saying Griffey or Maddux never said it though but I know Schilling did.
Curt Schilling would have liked to be a Yankee, actually stating so during his free agency courtship. It’s just that the Yankees went a different direction (a stupid one, at that) and Curt ended up not appreciating that so much.
Thats not true, he had Theo over for Thanksgiving Dinner and was all set to “go to Boston and break some curse” he was never going to New York.
I’m not sure about that. Curt Schilling did say he’d wave his no-trade clause to pitch for the Yankees, but it was Arizona who basically prevented it from happening.
The Yankees did try to trade for Schilling when Arizona was looking to move him in late 2003, and Schilling said the Yankees were his first choice and he was prepared to waive his no-trade clause. The Yankees were also intent on dealing for him, but Arizona’s owner, Jerry Colengelo, really disliked George Steinbrenner (frankly, they were birds of a feather) and didn’t want him to go to the Yankees, so they asked for a player package from the Yankees that they knew the Yankees would reject. It included at that time Alfonso Soriano, their young second baseman at the time who was making league minimum at had hit 39 and 38 HRs in back-to-back seasons, and the Yankees top prospect in Nick Johnson, and several other minor leagues. They asked the Sox for a package led by Brandon Lyon, Casey Fossum, someone named Michael Goss and Jorge de la Rosa, he of the lifetime 5.02 ERA. It was considered a weak offer at the time and history has shown it to be even worse. There was no way Schilling was ever going to be a Yankee, even though the Yankees wanted him, and Schilling wanted to be a Yankee.
At the very least, Red Sox fans should send Colengelo a fruit cake every Christmas!
Maddux turned down more money from the Yankees to sign with the Braves after the 1992 season when Larry Himes made it official that he was one of the dumbest individuals to ever run a franchise.
Griffey said it numerous times, its why it stung Seattle traded him to Cincinatti to appease A-Fraud for one year for him to fleece the Rangers into bankruptcy.
Ahh okay. Well didn’t bother me, we were fine with Bernie 🙂
Of course i knoew Bernie is no Griffey, but you get my point.
Didn’t they outbid the Yankees on Tex? And look what happened there…
Some play for money, some play for winning, some play where their family is, and some play for a combination of those among other things. Not all players are the same.
Don’t get me wrong I want him to go to the Nats. But I just don’t see why he would choose the Nats over Texas if the money is similiar.
or the Yankees…
Lee’s numbers in Texas are horrible. Maybe he wants a real chance at winning.
Yeah, he only got them to the WS. Nothing special eh?
His W-L wasn’t great, but he did have a 1.06 WHIP and an 8-1 SO to BB ratio. Hardly “horrible” numbers.
wish there was a love button…wins and losses are a horrible stat to judge a pitcher
You know, i am sick of hearing wins not a good stat, i can understand if a pitcher has an ERA of 6 or something and has a ton of wins but seriously if you arent in the 15-16 win area i feel you are a crappy pitcher who doesnt deserve ace like money, its a certain pitcher that goes out there and has his whole team say to themselves “we are going to win” thats a good stat to have IMO.
well thats a terrible opinion. see Hernandez, Felix. Top 5 pitcher in the league..
If you go a CG an allow 2 earned runs and lose, consistently how could you fault a player for that? because its a certain pitcher “we are going to win” mentality. Please what a joke.
PLEASE!!! dispite the fact that he lost as many games as he won (12) you can discount the fact that he was on a team that could NOT get a single run across, so besides the FLUKY Mariners Felix isnt in this discussion, your counter argument is a joke because we know Felix can win more games when he actually has a team that can beat a T-Ball team, how about John Lackey? not enough offense? how about AJ Burnett? still not enough? those pitchers who just cant win to save their lives are the pitchers im talking about how they get this super star status even though they are mediocre at best.
Who considers Lackey or Burnett to be Superstar pitchers? I certainly don’t, and most people I know don’t either. You seem to be the only one.
so if a pitcher has a 2.5 ERA and a 1.00 whip, but wins only 11 games, you say he isn’t an ace? Look at Johan. Bullpens blow games dude, that isn’t the starters fault. Wins are only good for a team, not an individual.
all i am saying is an ace should win at least 14 or 15 wins, and to discount the fact if he is on a crappy teams like the Mariners, ok? is that hard to understand?
hahaha YES, it is hard to understand! Shouldn’t you get a clue when everybody here disagrees with what you’re saying? Wins mean NOTHING. Wins have absolutely no impact on how good or bad a pitcher is. Santana wins like 11-13 games a year, when Braden Looper won 15 a few years back. So I guess Looper is the better pitcher because he has more wins? Can anybody say Matt Cain? The guy has more losses than wins in his career, so he must be terrible, right?
lol new to baseball??
you were debating that pitchers should be judged on wins, but then go on to say felix IS an exception cuz he has a bad offence (which is the whole point)
but what about lackey and burnett… well again thats why you don’t measure W-L for pitchers, because AJ probably would have went 2-18 on a team like the mariners.
yeah im new to baseball, thats why every time i make a comment on a trade rumor im always so far off its ridiculous!! oh wait, what i say makes a lot of sense and rarely am i wrong? by golly geez maybe im NOT new to baseball you just dont read entire posts
Want to explain Felix Hernandez to all of us then?
FELIX was on a team that was dead last in just about every offensive category, lets look at teams that are at least average to be considered into the argument, you know the Royals werent such a hot hitting team and how many wins did Zack Greinke win? oh yeah thats right 16, now am i saying they should win 18-20? NO!!! but 15 to 16 YES!!! how does that NOT make sense to anyone?
who made it to the world series? im pretty sure it was the rangers….and they have a very young team meaning they will only get better….if the new rangers GM is legit and willing to spend we might see a power shift in the AL…I would say the rangers next season give cliff lee the same chance to win if not slightly better
I hear ya, it’s definitely not in the Nat’s favor, that’s for sure.
Don’t forget the family factor with Cliff Lee, either. His wife had those comments bashing the New York fans, and of course they live near Texas currently. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him back with the Rangers.
I hope Lee snubs the Yanks for after how their fans harassed his wife at the ALCS. If the Nats make a big offer like the did on Tex, then I can see Lee taking it to snub NY for how they treated his better half.
They also harrassed me. Cliff lee is going to think about me too.
I get what you’re saying, but this time around it’s different. The Nats have a plan in place and signing top of the line players to blend in with the young successfull players they have will become easier.
I hope you right.
If I’m Cliff Lee I’d go to the Nats over the Yankees, but the Yankees always find a way. I would hope that Strasburg/Zim/Harper will be enough to lure Cliff Lee to the Nations capital, but I just don’t know.
considering how Strasburg probably misses all of next year and Harper isn’t ready for 2 years at least as well (could be 3), why would that be incentive? He wants to win now, and even with those guys, who says the Nats are ready to win?
how do you know how long harper will take? This kid is supposed to be the chose one right? If he has a good enough AFL and a good enough Spring Training I would not be surprised to see him starting next season, if anything to get asses in the seats considering strasburg is out all year….
EDIT: if harper was going to stay at catcher yes then it would take at least 2 years…but the fact that he was drafted as Right Field It wont take as long….think about this gordon beckham made it to the bigs at 3rd after playing his entire college career at SS in less than a full season. And thats with changing positions and with playing in the infield which is harder than the out field
I disagree. Harper basically comes right out of high school. Even the best high school bats take some time. Justin Upton who’s one of the best recent high school bats took two full years and a month. Even if the last month was a service time thing it’s still two full years. I think that’s more along the lines of what we should expect from Harper.
Because the nationals want to be smart and not rush the future offensive star of the franchise?
Nats season ticket holder since ’05… I don’t see a plan…
And where is the organizational depth that Rizzo is referring to?
The Nats were willing to offer him $200 million as opposed to the Yankees $180, except the Nationals offered it for 10 years and the Yankees did for 8 years.
I really hope he can go to a team like the Nats. Not only will it keep him from being a Yankee, but it’s really, really good for baseball. Granted the ratings for this past World Series were probably very low, I very much enjoyed seeing two teams that weren’t annual contenders duke it out for the top prize. That, to me, is baseball.
It’s never good for baseball to have its best players play for irrelevant teams. The Nats won’t be any good until Lee isn’t any more.
Pitchers with a lot of hype are good for the franchise though. I went to a game Strasburg was supposed to pitch in, it didn’t feel like an irrelevant team that night.
I love it when people say the Yanks are bad for baseball.
How is it flattering when a player like Lee goes to the Yankees? Everytime that happens it pretty much ruins the chances of the Orioles and Blue Jays for another 5 years.
Bull. The Orioles have just been terrible at developing their own talent for quite some time, while the Blue Jays had a similar problem but have recently followed the Rangers way of drafting.
The Rays didn’t need any major signings to take the AL East from the Yankees.
ya they only had to finish dead last for 10 years.
Good for the TV ratings and good for the health of the game on the field are two different things.
Please explain to me how putting the majority of top-tier free agents on one team is good for baseball? (whether it be the Yankees or any other high payroll team). Are you saying you’d rather have the entire baseball fan base have to count on those high-payroll teams to win instead of their home town team?
On top of that, baseball organizations are a business. They need money to be productive, and the only way they can make a substantial amount of money is from the fans. If you have no fans = you have no money. When a team doesn’t have any money, what happens? The team usually can’t compete and is usually forced to move to a new location where “hopefully” they can establish a bigger fan base.
Who wants to watch Goliath beat David every time anyway?
Your first sentence is something which a lot of people DO NOT understand, especially Yankee haters.
The Yankees do not break any rules by signing free agents, if you hate how the system goes, you should just hate baseball overall then. It’s not the Yankees fault, they follow the rules, if you want a change e-mail Selig
Your first sentence is something which a lot of people do not understand, especially Yankee haters.
Sorry I thought my first post didn’t work so I just shortened it the 2nd time.
I hate to burst your bubble…but the Yankees haven’t won every World Series since ever. In fact, while the span is a little less than before Free Agency came into effect, the Yankees have won less of a percentage of the World Series played since Free Agency came into effect than before.
Actually, I wasn’t referring to the Yankees in particular, notice I said “(whether it be the Yankees or any other high payroll team)”. But you and MB923 chose not to read that part.
I did read that part, and I wasn’t exactly calling you out, just making my own statement in response to yours. And you are correct.
I do wish I could contact the commissioner though, in all honesty. We should all start a petition at MLBTR
I’m down haha.
You are referring to the Yankees, whether or not it be in particular, if you word the sentence that way.
Had you said “any high payroll team,” you’d be right.
thank you for saying that….yes the yankees have more money than god. But remember the 10 years when they were signing huge contracts to guys (giambi, johnson, pavano) and didnt win the world series…just because you go out and by the top tallent at the time does not mean you will win….boston this season…
Kind of funny when the Yankees won it all last year, many people say they won because they buy their championships. Yet when the Rangers win, all they say is “Money doesn’t buy championships”
Well which is it folks? Can’t be one or the other lol
Not that I’m asking you personally jwsox lol
I say yes they do, but so does every other team in baseball unless there’s a team out there who plays for no money, I’d be interesting in knowing who that team is if such a team exists.
Whether you buy a $15,000 car or a $150,000 car, you still buy a car. Whether you have a $200 million payroll or a $60 million payroll, you’re still paying for talent. Some overpaid, some underpaid.
Just don’t go assume the one that has the most money is the most successful.
so by the logic of if you have not fans you dont make money thus you cant spend…dont be mad at the teams be mad at the fans…
It’s a double edge sword. If you don’t win, you don’t have fans. But if you don’t have fans you don’t have money so you can’t get the talent (sometimes). Organizations like that have to wait out their draft picks and hope they can get them going together at the same time to form a good team with a low payroll (see TB Rays). It doesn’t happen often, but it can happen. But even in their case their fans still didn’t watch them play for whatever reason, even when they were winning.
“If you don’t win, you don’t have fans”
Cubs, Mets, Brewers, Tigers, Cardinals, Astros, M’s, White Sox, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Red Sox and Padres all drew over 2 million fans despite missing the playoffs
I think the only team that applies to much is the Blue Jays, Orioles and A’s
I can name other teams in other sports that still go to games despite their team being averge as well but there will also be way too many to list
Point is, your statement is way off.
Although you make a strong point for most of the teams you mentioned, there’s always going to be the die-hard fans. Just speaking from experience, when Boston really started winning recently (around ’03) the number of people dishing out money for tickets expanded tremendously. A lot of these same people go to the games because “it’s cool” to be seen at Fenway. They’ll pay the exuberant prices to go to the game, increasing profits for the ownership.
Yeah, teams like the Cubs will always have those types of fans that go whether they win or lose, but all the small market teams that have a hard time just getting fans to show up can benefit from the “pink hats.” (hate the term, but as they call them in Boston) Yeah, those types of people are certainly not the ones I’d like to see at a game if I’m a real fan, but if it gives my team the chance to pick up an impact player I think I’d be willing to put up with it.
How are the Yanks “Good” for baseball?
I would love this, and think its a possibility.. a team like the nats might be able to give a a year or 2 longer then the yanks or rangers feel comfortable giving.
I believe their owner is the richest in baseball too, so I hope I don’t hear the “They can’t afford him” crap
Two World Series appearances with two different teams, and no rings. He’ll get a top-notch offer from a legitimate contender, and my bet is he goes there.
And whether anybody likes it or not, that team is going to be the Yankees.
everyone talks about the nats as a dark horse, but what about the phillies? If they catn resign werth(I personally dont think they should with brown in the fold) The phillies could use that money to go after lee….could you imagine halladay-lee-oswalt-hammels?….thats the single best rotation probably ever
I’ve been saying the same thing for weeks, but apparently, that makes me crazy. Lol. The Phillies have the money to sign either Jayson Werth or Cliff Lee, and both players have expressed interest in playing here at some point in their careers. In my opinion, Lee would rather play for the Phillies than the Nationals, just because of their rotation, let alone that the offense is poised to bounce back, with or without Werth.
There’s going to be much more than just the Yankees involved. I believe it will come down to 4-5 teams and Lee with ultimately have the same amount of money in each place (give or take 5M) and the decision will come down to where he truely wants to go.
Montero and Betances to the Jays for Marcum and Arencibia…
I know it sounds absurd, but it makes sense for the yankees if they don’t land lee.
and although having to see marcum and arencibia in the division would sting, having betances and montero added to the core of young players already established to the jays would be huge..
AA would have the stones to do a trade like this
This works on many levels for both teams, but I think the Yankees value Montero more highly than that. They might consider that deal without Betances, but even then I doubt they’d accept.
The Jays would immediately move Montero to first base though.
Overall, I think that the Yankees could probably do better talent-wise for Montero.
I very much doubt it. Marcum is cheap, under control and established and a sub 4 era pitcher in the AL east. I doubt they’ll do better then that.
Montero is a great prospect, but the market for good starters is really thin
why trade one power hitting prospect catcher for another power hitting prospect catcher
because arencibia can actually stick as a catcher, where as montero cant..
Montero can be move to 1st for the jays to plug up that hole, and arencibia can catch for the yankees to plug up that hole
Yanks, tigers, angels, ants, mets, phillies, rangers, and even some dark horses like dodgers or brewers could be in the mix….what about the twins?
Why not the Giants? They could corner the market on pitching. lol
Wouldn’t that be something.
Because they don’t need him and should spend that money locking up their other young players?
wrong…adding lee to that rotation would be flat out scary and their young tallent all have 2-3 more years untill arb…
How’s that wrong? Adding Lee to that rotation would definitely make for a dominant rotation, but they’ve got plenty of young talent that eventually is going to be locked up for large amounts of money, and for a team that is already having some payroll concerns, adding Cliff Lee to a rotation that is already at least 5 men deep is foolish.
Buster Posey and Tim Lincecum are eventually going to become two of the highest paid players in baseball, and when you’ve got other things to worry about, like signing Jonathon Sanchez, Brian Wilson, half the bullpen, a bat… Cliff Lee seems to be the least of your worries.
I missed the part where we were talking about Fantasy Baseball.
The organization did draft him so maybe he could go full circle.
Not much remains of the Expo days other than history. It’s basically not even the same franchise at this point.
Just curious, when the last big free agnet sigining to chose a lesser contract? I know we always talk about the players preference to east or west coast, small or large market..but I can’t think of one of the TOP free agents to choose anything but the money…..
Beltre had higher offers last offseason but declined and came to Boston.
I am talking about the players with nothing to prove, the TOP free agensts from each class. The Holliday, Sabathia, Texiera, Arods, and this year Lee, Crawford, Werth. Do those guys ever accept less money? I can think of Bonds and Maddux in the mid ninties but who recently? Should we just look at payroll commitments and needs to determine who goes where?
Belte took a one year deal in a situation that would set him up for the big payday in 2010. Wasn’t a top free agent.
Beltre was the top third basemen on the market. He struggled in Seattle but bounced back with a new enviornment. Beltre is a premiere player so I’m not so sure what you’re referring to. He turned down multi year deals worth millions.
The only reason he signed in Boston last year was to prove that he’s healthy and able to compete at the level he was accustumed too, so that he could get more money on the free agent market THIS year. He had offers from both the A’s and Phillies for 3 years / 24MM, but decline to rebuild his value in Boston, for significantly less.
He’s saying that he isn’t talking about players coming off of injuries, etc, trying to re-establish value, but guys that are already performing at the top of their game, taking less money to play for a different team.
To answer your question, yardisak, I’m sure there are, but with so many offers undisclosed, it’s almost impossible to know for sure.
There was one offer for Teixiera that was higher, but not by much. Carlos Beltran’s agent, Scott Boras, actually came back to the Yankees and told them they could have Beltran for less than what the Mets offered, but the Yankees said no. Still have no idea why, since they actually needed a CFer at the time.
tori hunter, the white sox out bid the angles by a lot actually but he wanted to be out west, i believe thats where his family is
Should have been posted as: Lee’s agent will take a page out of the Bora’s handbook in an attempt to drive up his clients cost. In most cases an agent’s job is to make their client to most money so I see no problem with this but we all know that won’t be a National.
The Lerners are loaded, the Nat’s have a large market (not counting what they share/give to the Orioles, thank you very much Bud) and they obviously want to be taken seriously as a destination spot for premier free agents. They have the money and the desire, it’s really all up to Cliff Lee. The Yankees have a limit, remember that for every dollar they pay Lee they pay $.40 cents to the luxury tax, so Lee is prohibitively more expensive for them than he would be for anyone else. Yes, they have more money than anyone else and they are willing to spend it but the Nat’s and a few other teams are in a position to outbid them every now and then for a single player. No one competes with the Yankees on the overall free agent market but on an individual case they can be beaten.
^^^ $.40 cents into the luxury tax for every dollar they spend over the limit, I don’t know if that’s the exact amount but that’s what’s stuck in my head and it’s probably a good approximation so I’ll go with it.
I’m sure Cliff Lee remembers when he was on the indians and he was sick, but no one knew who he was because he played for the indians…..yeah, i don’t think he wants to re-live those memories in DC. I got a hunch he likes pitching in the playoffs.
Lee said he would go to Siberia if he gets the most money so I guess this makes sense.
well obviously he’ll listen, if they offer him a 10 year 200 mil deal (they won’t, im just using an example), he’s not going to turn it down.
Get him, and trade for Greinke and I will be one very very happy Nats fan