• Why Cliff Lee Passed On Yankee$ Offer

    Posted by on March 14th, 2011 · Comments (25)

    Via the Post three days ago -

    Cliff Lee thought the Yankees were too old for him.

    The former free agent left-hander told WIP Radio in Philadelphia that the Rangers were his second choice behind the Phillies because “some of the Yankeee guys are getting older.”

    “Texas probably finished second to be honest with you. Just as far as the quality of the team and the chance to win a World Series ring, I think they’re a better team. That’s just my opinion,” Lee said Thursday, according to a transcript on SportsRadioInterviews.com.

    “The Yankees can do anything at any moment to improve and they’re not afraid to go do things. That was part of the decision-making process, too, but I felt like with what the Red Sox had done and it seems like some of the Yankee guys are getting older, but I liked the Rangers.”

    Lee, 32, signed with the Phillies for less money and fewer years than the Yankees offered, choosing five years, $120 million over seven years and possibly $154 million.

    “I enjoyed it. It was interesting to see how that process went,” Lee said. “I was curious to see how that process went. It was definitely interesting.

    “For me there wasn’t a whole lot of negative things that could come out of that. Whichever way I chose I felt like it was going to work. I tried to remove all the money and the smaller things and which team would give me the best chance to win.

    “Then I talked to my wife and kids about it and where did they think they would be the most happy and here I am in Philly.”

    So, Lee just played the Yankees to raise his value on the open market. Too bad the Yankees front office didn’t do their homework on this one – and had all their eggs in one basket hoping to get a player…who, in the end, had no interest in joining their team.

    Comments on Why Cliff Lee Passed On Yankee$ Offer

    1. Raf
      March 14th, 2011 | 9:42 am

      Cliff Lee thought the Yankees were too old for him.

      Courtesy of B-R, avg age of hitters and pitchers
      PHI: 31.8, 31.1
      TEX: 28.3, 27.6
      NYY: 30.3, 30.4

      “Texas probably finished second to be honest with you. Just as far as the quality of the team and the chance to win a World Series ring, I think they’re a better team.

      AL Wins
      NYY: 95 (2nd in AL)
      TEX: 90 (4th in AL)
      PHI: 97 (1st in NL/MLB)

      I tried to remove all the money and the smaller things and which team would give me the best chance to win.

      Finally, something that backs up his claims. Philly represents his best chance to win, what with that rotation, and no serious challengers in the NL East. Of course, nothing is guaranteed in the playoffs, as witnessed by the Phils not getting past the Jints, as well as Lee’s performance in the WS.

      Too bad the Yankees front office didn’t do their homework on this one – and had all their eggs in one basket hoping to get a player…

      They did their homework, hence their offer.

      The Yanks will be fine. They would’ve been better with Lee, but it isn’t the end of the world that they don’t have him.

      who, in the end, had no interest in joining their team.

      “For me there wasn’t a whole lot of negative things that could come out of that. Whichever way I chose I felt like it was going to work.” – Cliff Lee

      Doesn’t sound like someone who has or had no interest in joining the Yankees.

    2. Corey Italiano
      March 14th, 2011 | 12:09 pm

      This to me is pretty obvious…

      Join the phillies and have a potential rotation of the ages, with the stiffest competition coming from the Braves (weaker offenses, plus the pitcher hitting a few times a game)

      Join the Rangers, and have a playoff calibur team in the AL West where there aren’t many playoff caliber teams (and he gets to face weaker offenses).

      Join the Yanks, where the Red Sox got two of the best offensive players in the game, and you still have the Rays who are were the AL East champs, the Jays who had one of, if not, the best offensive clubs last year, and the orioles who are no slouches themselves, offensively.

      With all the competition in the AL East, it makes sense that Lee would choose a team with an easier route to the playoffs. Then add to that the potentially epic rotation the Phillies could have, and with all things equal, I’m not shocked he decided to go that way.

    3. redbug
      March 14th, 2011 | 5:22 pm

      I guess I’m not shcoked he’d choose the Phillies w/ that rotation. But, I am shocked that he’d diss the Yankees players by talking about their age. Really unnecessary. I hope the Yanks get to jam their age down his throat.

    4. Evan3457
      March 14th, 2011 | 7:27 pm

      Which great pitcher on the free agent market did the Yanks miss by “chasing Lee?”

      Garland? Pavano?

      Just wondering what putting “all their eggs in one basket means”, considering there was only one pitching basket worth buying in this market.

    5. Evan3457
      March 14th, 2011 | 7:28 pm

      Oh, and what does “not doing their homework” mean, in this context”?

      They didn’t hire a telepath to read Lee’s mind?

    6. mondoas
      March 14th, 2011 | 7:42 pm

      Well, if all else fails, blame A-Rod right Steve???

    7. RobertGKramer@AOL.Com
      March 14th, 2011 | 7:46 pm

      I think Charlie Manual was another factor. Everybody loves the guy!!!

    8. Raf
      March 14th, 2011 | 8:23 pm

      redbug wrote:

      But, I am shocked that he’d diss the Yankees players by talking about their age.

      It isn’t so much a diss, than an observation. An incorrect one (Phils have a higher average age than the Yanks, Rangers are younger than the Yanks), but an observation nonetheless.

    9. KPOcala
      March 14th, 2011 | 9:48 pm

      Come on Steve, are you saying that the Yankee brass has a cadre of men who stare at goats? In the long run, maybe even the short run, the Yanks and their fans will be glad about the ‘one that got away’. We’re not talking about Steve Carlton here.

    10. MJ Recanati
      March 15th, 2011 | 11:53 am

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      the Jays who had one of, if not, the best offensive clubs last year, and the orioles who are no slouches themselves, offensively.

      Jays lost the 2010 version of Vernon Wells and won’t get the same year out of Jose Bautista. Frankly, the Jays are looking at a last place finish this year.

      The O’s — if everything breaks their way — might win 84 games this year. More likely they’ll finish 80-82, a few games ahead of Toronto.

      The AL East is still a three team division, at most. People are grossly overrating the Jays and O’s.

    11. Corey Italiano
      March 15th, 2011 | 5:46 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Jays lost the 2010 version of Vernon Wells and won’t get the same year out of Jose Bautista. Frankly, the Jays are looking at a last place finish this year.

      I still think that the Jays can outhit most of the NL East teams, and definitely more than half the AL West teams. And that’s potentially the worst team in the AL East. That’s my point..all things equal, I’m going to the path with the least resistance.

    12. Corey Italiano
      March 15th, 2011 | 5:47 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      The O’s — if everything breaks their way — might win 84 games this year. More likely they’ll finish 80-82, a few games ahead of Toronto.

      The AL East is still a three team division, at most. People are grossly overrating the Jays and O’s.

      I think you’re overrating a lot of the NL East and AL West

    13. MJ Recanati
      March 16th, 2011 | 7:54 am

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      I think you’re overrating a lot of the NL East and AL West

      Not quite seeing how I’m overrating two divisions that I didn’t even mention or talk about in any way.

    14. Greg H.
      March 16th, 2011 | 9:17 am

      Or maybe Cliff Lee just doesn’t like the Yankees.

      We beat his beloved Phils in the ’99 series. He only pitched twice in that series, despite being the only starter that could stop the Yanks, while watching CC, Andy and AJ pitch on three days rest through the entire post season. It would have been interesting to know how a conversation would have gone if it were Girardi instead of Lovable Charlie Manuel “asking” Cliffy to strap it on like he did Andy and CC.

      That word series performance was the one where he snagged a pop-up in the most flippant way possible. That action caused my teenage son to wish him off the Yanks forever, saying “I don’t care how good he is, I don’t want him on the Yankees. I don’t want to ever have to root for that guy.” There’s a big part of me that agrees with this sentiment. Seven years of Cliff Lee??

      I am aware that I may be reading way too much into this. But I’m just sayin’… I don’t think he ever liked the Yankees, and I don’t think he ever intended to play for the Yankees.

    15. YankCrank
      March 16th, 2011 | 11:49 am

      I’m very much ready and willing to let the Cliff Lee and Yankees talk die.

      The man was traded three times in two years, found a situation in Philly that would pay him well and give him many chances to get to a World Series and he jumped on it. Good for him.

      That’s one less extremely talented, oft-injured, 30-year-old+ player the Yankees have to pay $100 million+ to over the next six to eight years. Call me crazy, but I’m ok with that.

    16. MJ Recanati
      March 16th, 2011 | 12:00 pm

      YankCrank wrote:

      That’s one less extremely talented, oft-injured, 30-year-old+ player the Yankees have to pay $100 million+ to over the next six to eight years. Call me crazy, but I’m ok with that.

      I’m a little less OK with it than you are but, yeah, the Yankees will go on and that’s that.

      I don’t agree with the whole “oft-injured” part because he’s given his teams 200+ innings in five of the last six years and averaging 29 starts per season over that time. I’d hardly call 3-4 missed starts per year, on average, evidence of an “oft-injured” player.

      But, besides that little quibble, I agree with your point.

    17. YankCrank
      March 16th, 2011 | 12:10 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      I don’t agree with the whole “oft-injured” part because he’s given his teams 200+ innings in five of the last six years and averaging 29 starts per season over that time. I’d hardly call 3-4 missed starts per year, on average, evidence of an “oft-injured” player.

      That’s probably me overstating the yearly rib/oblique injury he has every pre-season, so the disagreement is justified.

    18. BOHAN
      March 17th, 2011 | 12:23 am

      i dont care about cliff lee anymore… when he tweaks is oblique or something stupid like that philly fans will see how much of a bitch he is and that he not worth 5 years and whatever absurd amount they gave him

    19. BOHAN
      March 17th, 2011 | 12:29 am

      and didnt we already know he used the yankees to drive up the price???

    20. MJ Recanati
      March 17th, 2011 | 8:14 am

      @ BOHAN:
      Why would tweaking his oblique make Cliff Lee a bitch? Cliff Lee is one of the 5-10 pitchers in baseball. There’s no sense discounting his talents just because we don’t like him anymore. He’s a stud.

    21. Raf
      March 17th, 2011 | 8:27 am

      BOHAN wrote:

      when he tweaks is oblique or something stupid like that philly fans will see how much of a bitch he is

      This is his second time around with the Phils, I think they have an idea as to what they’re getting.

    22. BOHAN
      March 19th, 2011 | 4:17 am

      @ MJ Recanati:
      i never really liked him to be honest

    23. MJ Recanati
      March 19th, 2011 | 9:07 am

      BOHAN wrote:

      i never really liked him to be honest

      Fair enough. To be honest, he rubs me the wrong way too. But that wouldn’t have gotten in the way of me being happy if the Yanks had signed him.

    24. 77yankees
      March 19th, 2011 | 10:43 am

      Bottom line is, he didn’t want to come to the Yankees as a FA – period. And he’s trying to cleanse his rep by concocting this “The Yankees are too old” jive as his reasoning. Good riddance, I say.

    25. YankCrank
      March 20th, 2011 | 3:26 pm

      @ 77yankees:

      He can continue his trend of being on the World Series losing team for the rest of his career, won’t bother me :)

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