• Cliff Lee Rejects Yankees Dollars, Cashman’s Plan To Improve Rotation Fails

    Posted by on December 14th, 2010 · Comments (26)

    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.

    Comments on Cliff Lee Rejects Yankees Dollars, Cashman’s Plan To Improve Rotation Fails

    1. Evan3457
      December 14th, 2010 | 8:01 am

      Actually, Burnett is, in fact VERY likely to rebound, at least somewhat.

    2. Evan3457
      December 14th, 2010 | 8:02 am

      Oh, and Hughes was lucky to win 18 games last year. On the other hand, normal maturation should mean he’ll pitch better overall this year, but with fewer wins.

    3. JeremyM
      December 14th, 2010 | 8:07 am

      So after weeks of speculation, I’m confused- did he likes Pennsylvania’s income tax laws better, or is it closer to his Arkansas home?

      Actually looks kind of like the Yankees were plain old out-bid, at least in terms of AAV. But how in the world are the Phillies going to pay for it all? I don’t really see teams lining up to take Blanton and Ibanez’s contracts off their hands at full value, but I could be wrong.

      Well, we’re going to see how good-or bad- Cashman really is. A Javier Vazquez type move won’t get it done this time.

    4. clintfsu813
      December 14th, 2010 | 8:11 am

      Credit to Cash here. He didnt grossly overpay this time and now has good money to make some smarter moves. Let the Phils/Sox be the buyers of Championships for once. When/If we win it this year it would actually be looked at as an upset. Like the sound of that.

    5. samsonmedia
      December 14th, 2010 | 8:59 am

      After someone in the Yankee Stadium home crowd spit on Lee’s wife during the playoffs I knew he’d never go to New York. I’m a life-long Yankee fan but I was embarassed by that incident.

    6. Corey Italiano
      December 14th, 2010 | 9:02 am

      Oh Montero…we hardly knew yee…

      I was looking forward to his arrival for years, and now he’s likely gone.

    7. clintfsu813
      December 14th, 2010 | 9:07 am

      @ Corey Italiano:
      I disagree. I think we start seeing what these youngsters can do. A great year from Jesus and Phil and the possible emergence of a Killer B and no one will give a crap about Cliff Lee. Spend the money on the pen and bench.

    8. Corey Italiano
      December 14th, 2010 | 9:16 am

      @ clintfsu813:
      I think we can all agree that they need another starter…

      it makes sense to sign Martin, and trade Montero at this point, unfortunately.

      Then you wait a couple of years and you see if Sanchez is just as good.

    9. Corey Italiano
      December 14th, 2010 | 9:18 am

      If Cashman says he’s going to stick with what he’s got rotation wise, you can book the trade at the moment.

      Bubba Crosby is our starting Cfer.

    10. December 14th, 2010 | 9:23 am

      @ clintfsu813:
      What credit, exactly, does Cashman deserve here? He was going to overpay for Lett, but he couldn’t get the deal done. He shouldn’t get any credit for that.

      And a team with a $200 million payroll will never win in an upset.

    11. antone
      December 14th, 2010 | 9:27 am

      This means they should be able to sign whatever relievers and bench players they want. Seems like Kerry Wood is who they want in the pen. I would like them to go after Scott Hairston to play against lefties as a 4th OF.

      They are either going to eat the money they were gonna spend on Lee or trade for a starter and then extend him, since there are pretty much no high-upside starters that they could sign for the back end of the rotation.

      I wonder what the Phillies would want for Blanton. He wouldn’t be bad as a 5th starter if you could get him for nothing.

    12. antone
      December 14th, 2010 | 9:29 am

      Nevermind the f’ing Red Sox traded for Blanton probably just so they Yankees couldn’t get him.

    13. Scout
      December 14th, 2010 | 9:40 am

      I’ll pass on Blanton, thank you very much. I think the A.L. East would chew him up and spit out the bone fragments.

      Cashman and the organization deserve neither credit nor blame. They put the best offer on the table, one that would have left them open to serious second-guessing had Lee accepted it. The contract would have burdened them going forward in the final 2-3 years of the deal. The Yankees already have several such contracts, notably A-Rod’s deal.

      Count me among those who favor patience here. Effective, even top-of-the-line starters become available in-season every year; recall that Lee and Oswalt moved last year. Cashman will have his opportunities. The rotation now is not of championship caliber, but it also is not the one the Yankees will put out there for much of 2011. Whether an upgrade involves dealing Montero or other prospects remains to be seen. We will learn whether the Yankees really have developed within the assets they need to put a play-off-bound team on the field next summer.

    14. antone
      December 14th, 2010 | 9:52 am

      Scout wrote:

      I’ll pass on Blanton, thank you very much. I think the A.L. East would chew him up and spit out the bone fragments.

      Maybe so but if you got him for nothing (which I’m assuming the Sox did) he adds depth at the very least. Also, he pitched in Philly which is a launching pad, so I tend to think he wouldn’t be that much worse in the AL. If he did suck then you just flip him back to a desperate NL team looking for pitching later in the season.

      Will be interesting to see if the Sox move him or Dice-K. One of them would have to go I think.

    15. G.I. Joey
      December 14th, 2010 | 9:55 am

      @ Scout:

      Well put. Now is not the time to go into panic mode when the sharks smell the blood in the water. Being patient will allow us to makeover our rotation for a playoff push when teams are looking to dump salary or trade for pieces they are lacking.

    16. Raf
      December 14th, 2010 | 10:33 am

      G.I. Joey wrote:

      Now is not the time to go into panic mode when the sharks smell the blood in the water.

      Only the fans are panicking.

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Then again, Cashman believed that Hughes and Ian Kennedy were the answer in 2008 – and we all know how that worked out.

      FWIW, they allowed less runs in 2008 (4.49 r/g) than they did in 2009 (4.65).

    17. MJ Recanati
      December 14th, 2010 | 10:38 am

      antone wrote:

      Nevermind the f’ing Red Sox traded for Blanton probably just so they Yankees couldn’t get him.

      Red Sox haven’t made a trade from Blanton yet. There were reports that it happened but every Boston media source is denying that a trade is in place.

      In any case, whether Boston gets him or not, Blanton is garbage. He’s owed $17M over the next two seasons and, beyond being an innings eater, isn’t worth the trouble or headache. If Boston wants him they can have him. He and Dice-BB are the same strikezone-challenged back-end starter.

    18. ken
      December 14th, 2010 | 10:39 am

      Kerry Wood = Ramiro Mendoza

      That is, middle relief, setup guy, emergency closer, emergency/spot starter.

      I would sign him now.

    19. MJ Recanati
      December 14th, 2010 | 10:42 am

      @ Corey Italiano:
      I don’t agree. I really don’t think the Yanks are trading Montero simply because their offense is no longer as dynamic as it was two seasons ago (Jeter, A-Rod, Teixeira, Posada all showed significant deterioration). If the Yanks want to make the playoffs in 2011, it’s going to be with the sticks and Montero is expected to be a big part of that.

      I argued in favor of trading Montero two years ago but now that they’ve stuck with him, I think they’re going to stay the course. In fact, I think Gary Sanchez represents this line of thinking: he’s still far enough away that the Yanks can trade him without guilt or regret but still enticing enough a prospect after an amazing 2010 debut that he can be a nice piece to any potential deal. A good start to 2011 for Sanchez and I’d bet he’s the guy the Yanks trade, not Montero.

    20. Raf
      December 14th, 2010 | 10:44 am

      JeremyM wrote:

      Well, we’re going to see how good-or bad- Cashman really is. A Javier Vazquez type move won’t get it done this time.

      Why not? The team is built towards offense, and the past couple of years, Cashman has tried to shore up the defense.

    21. MJ Recanati
      December 14th, 2010 | 10:49 am

      @ ken:
      Kerry Wood walked 6.2 batters per 9 innings last year and an unsustainable percentage of runners stranded.

      Everything about Kerry Wood on the Yanks says regression to me. The Yanks shouldn’t overpsend on Kerry Wood, especially on a multi-year deal. Long-term deals for non-elite closers just don’t work out and that’s been proven over and over.

      Unless the Yanks can get Wood for 1Y/$5M, I say pass. Let someone else sign him to be their closer…

    22. antone
      December 14th, 2010 | 10:52 am

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      In any case, whether Boston gets him or not, Blanton is garbage. He’s owed $17M over the next two seasons and, beyond being an innings eater, isn’t worth the trouble or headache. If Boston wants him they can have him. He and Dice-BB are the same strikezone-challenged back-end starter.

      I disagree. Blanton averages 2.5 BB/9 over his career and Dice-K averages 4.3 BB/9. Blanton has a K/BB ratio over 2 for his career as well. His career xFIP is 4.36, which would be solid for a # 5 starter in my mind and certainly an upgrade over Nova. Again it all depends what you give up for him and if the Phillies eat any of the contract.

    23. Corey Italiano
      December 14th, 2010 | 10:53 am

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Unless the Yanks can get Wood for 1Y/$5M, I say pass.

      agreed

    24. BOHAN
      December 14th, 2010 | 11:45 am

      Why not call up the Mariners and see what it’ll take to get Felix Hernandez? I know its a long shot but why not at least call and see what it’ll take? We got some pretty good chips in our farm system might as well see if they can bring in a CY Young winner.

    25. Evan3457
      December 14th, 2010 | 12:07 pm

      Blanton is a tolerable 4th starter, but is a bad fit for the Yanks (wrong league, wrong division, wrong park, throws with the wrong hand, HR rate is way too high).

      I Wood be very cautious re-signing Kerry as well. His BB rate, and his injury rate make him both a regression risk and a health risk.

    26. MJ Recanati
      December 14th, 2010 | 12:12 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Blanton is a tolerable 4th starter, but is a bad fit for the Yanks (wrong league, wrong division, wrong park, throws with the wrong hand, HR rate is way too high).I Wood be very cautious re-signing Kerry as well. His BB rate, and his injury rate make him both a regression risk and a health risk.

      Agree with everything you said. Absolutely right, in my opinion.

    Leave a reply

    You must be logged in to post a comment.