Via George King –
The Phillies? Really?
Seven years for a possible $154 million from the Yankees wasn’t enough to land Cliff Lee, according to two baseball executives.
Instead, the 32-year-old free agent lefty took less money than the Yankees were offering and returned to the Phillies, the team he helped reach the 2009 World Series — won by the Yankees.
According to industry sources, the Phillies’ offer was five years for more than $100 million and a sixth-year player option. That’s lower than the Yankees who, according to sources, extended two offers. One was for seven years and $150 million; the other for a guaranteed six years at $138 million with a player option for $16 million in the seventh year that would have hiked the package to $154 million.
The Rangers offered six years with a vesting option, but even that wasn’t good enough to retain their ace, who hurled them to the World Series, but was beaten twice by the Giants.
So, barring a deal involving Cole Hamels or Roy Oswalt, the Phillies have assembled the premier rotation in baseball that is fronted by Roy Halladay with Lee in the No. 2 slot.
Early last night, there was a feeling in the Yankees’ organization that Lee wasn’t landing in The Bronx and that proved correct.
Before midnight they were told by Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker, that Lee “was headed in a different direction.” Minutes later, Texas was informed Lee was going to Philadelphia.
Though many believe the Yankees are ruined without Lee, Cashman isn’t in that choir. Nor does he see a similarity between this situation and after the 2008 season when the Yankees missed the playoffs.
“This is much different than two years ago. We have a top-of-the-rotation pitcher in CC [Sabathia], an 18-game winner in [Phil] Hughes and A.J. [Burnett] will rebound,” Cashman said. “We also have some of the best young pitchers in baseball and a top 10 minor league system. We got a really good team and will make it better regardless of what transpires. I am not panicked by it.”
Well, I guess money can’t solve all of Cashman’s problems, for once, eh? What’s next? Some reports say that the Yankees will look to acquire another starter – perhaps beg Andy Pettitte not to retire? – and then try to improve the bullpen; and, hope for the best. I’ll say this: If Cashman really believes that Burnett will rebound and that Hughes has 18-game winner stuff, he’s going down the wrong road. Even when he was “good” in 2008 and 2009, Burnett was barely an above average pitcher and Hughes was lucky to win 18 games last season. Then again, Cashman believed that Hughes and Ian Kennedy were the answer in 2008 – and we all know how that worked out.