Is Today the Day?

Both the Yankees and Rangers have presented formal "menus" of offers to Cliff Lee, presumably with varying years and dollar mounts, plus options and incentives. How much more is left to decide? I suspect today will end with the Yanks getting their man.

In other news, the Sox and Yanks have both been after erstwhile Dodger catcher Russell Martin, with the Sox reportedly making an offer yesterday. The Sox also no longer have to worry about giving up a first-round pick for a middle reliever, thanks to signing Carl Crawford. That would seemingly clear the way for a full-fledged pursuit of Scott Downs, a signing of whom would have the dual benefit of keeping him away from New York.

Will we see all these deals done today, or will we have to wait through the weekend? Comment away on all the hot stove action here.

107 comments… add one

  • It better be because I CAN’T TAKE THIS MUCH LONGER!!!!
    I am CRACKING UP!!!!
    breathe krueg, breathe…
    The worst part is that it seems the Lee is gumming up the works for us. Nothing else is getting done via trade either while he takes his sweet-ass time deciding between the Rags and Yankees…really Cliff??? The Rags???
    I need a drink.

    krueg December 10, 2010, 10:05 am
  • Well, to be fair, no Rangers fans have spat on his wife, and the man does live in Arkansas.
    This is what I cling to anyway.

    Paul SF December 10, 2010, 10:15 am
  • no Rangers fans have spat on his wife
    They will when he signs with the Yankees.

    SF December 10, 2010, 10:23 am
  • In my mind, the whole “his family lives in Arkansas” thing (as a concept, not for Lee) takes a hit when you are talking about a) being able to afford private travel under all circumstances, b) could live in a city with three major airports and a couple of minor ones nearby, and c) play every fifth day and are not a position player.
    Times have changed, I think, with the dollars and the world of aviation.

    SF December 10, 2010, 10:25 am
  • One more thing – my sense is that this wait is not consternation on Lee’s part but rather gamesmanship by his agent, trying to extract whatever he can from the Yankees. If I were the Yankees and Crawford were available still I’d consider putting an expiration date on the offer. So I think the Sox gummed that up. Still, if the Yankees offer is big, they might be wise to tell Lee he has a limited amount of time. They are good enough to win without him, in my mind, though not as good without him obviously.

    SF December 10, 2010, 10:27 am
  • Well Dallas is only 4.5 hours from his home in Benton, so it’s an easy drive. Taking a plane is a hassle these days, even if it’s fiscally affordable.

    Atheose - SF December 10, 2010, 11:15 am
  • I do think this negotiation shows something of a difference between how the Yankees and Red Sox go about their business, despite efforts to paint them both with the same broad brush.
    For one thing, while the Yankees have used budget constraints as a reason not to pursue free agents (Carlos Beltran, for example), they haven’t failed to acquire a free agent they’ve seriously wanted in what? Twenty years?
    In this case, we see why: Even though the Yankees value Lee at a certain price, they have topped that price. They were simply not going to go beyond six years — until the Sox signed Crawford, after which they added the seventh year.
    The Sox, on the other hand, are notorious for refusing to go beyond a certain range (I doubt it’s as firm as a distinct line) on players — Johnny Damon and Pedro Martinez being the least controversial examples, though some would cite Mark Teixeira (I tend to take the side that Teixeira had chosen the Yankees before the Sox even made an offer, based on his own remarks at his introductory press conference) and Alex Rodriguez (that situation was so screwed up, it’s difficult to say, though it is an example of the Sox not wanting to simply taken on an exorbitant contract without adjusting it).
    So while the Yankees and Sox both set a value, the Sox generally stay close to that value while the Yanks, certainly in this case, generally do what it takes, regardless of where they assess the player’s actual worth to the franchise.
    Call me crazy, but I think that’s a significant difference in how the ballclubs operate. It just so happens that this year, the Sox’ and Yanks’ needs didn’t overlap to any significant extent, allowing the Sox to be perceived as “joining” the big-spending Yankees’ league, even though they aren’t raising payroll and are likely to sign both players to reasonable contracts (as opposed to the insanity of the Werth and eventual Lee deals).
    Put another way, if the Sox had been successful in pursuing Teixeira in 2008 and had only signed Crawford this offseason, I doubt we’d be seeing all these comparisons between the clubs. It would simply be business as usual: the Sox have plenty of money, which they allocate fairly liberally, but they don’t have as much as the Yankees, and they don’t spend it the same way.

    Paul SF December 10, 2010, 11:22 am
  • “Taking a plane is a hassle these days, even if it’s fiscally affordable.”
    Not when its a private jet.
    It should also be noted that Lee’s team seemed to be a bit annoyed at the Rangers approach throughout this whole thing. They essentially asked Lee to make an offer to them to which his agent responded thats not how it works, the team makes the offer to the player.
    Im also not really buying the whole attachment to Texas thing. Lee spent like 4 months there and may have enjoyed the time as the team went the world series but he is signing a long-term contract and can settle down wherever with his family now that he knows he wont be moving for the foreseeable future. A major plus for a guy who has been on 4 teams in 2 years.

    sam-YF December 10, 2010, 11:27 am
  • As to Paul’s point, I agree with the general broader points you are making but I dont think its clear which of the two approaches is a better one. In fact, I think that in any given case, either approach could be better depending on the particulars of the situation. I do believe that the Yankees can and do set a value that they are willing to go to but its often higher than what they are offering. There is no doubt that the economic situation for the yankees is 100% unique from all of the other teams and the calculus that goes into their financial decisions is just plain different. I believe the Sox are also operating in a different way then the other 28 teams, its just at a different level from the Yankees.

    sam-YF December 10, 2010, 11:32 am
  • Come on, Nolan. Dig deep.

    Brad December 10, 2010, 11:37 am
  • well nobody goes into a negotiation with their “final offer”…that’s why they call it “negotiating”…the yankees have made some missteps and so have the sox…i don’t see the value in attempting to determine which approach is better, since both are fairly successful, despite the clunkers and missed opportunities…one is just a little more conservative than the other…other than that, they’re very similar…one team just spent [or will] $300m on 2 players, and the other is about to spent at least half that on 1 player…pretty similar if you ask me, and attempts to spin it any other way seem like a waste of effort…

    dc December 10, 2010, 11:44 am
  • i don’t disagree with you, Sam.
    It should also be noted that Lee’s team seemed to be a bit annoyed at the Rangers approach throughout this whole thing. They essentially asked Lee to make an offer to them to which his agent responded thats not how it works, the team makes the offer to the player.
    I doubt they were annoyed. It’s just business. As I recall, Boras and Teixeira told Henry and Epstein what it would take to sign Tex, at which point the Sox determined they would not be able to afford him. I’m not sure if the Sox had made an offer before that or not, though.

    Paul SF December 10, 2010, 11:45 am
  • “…allowing the Sox to be perceived as “joining” the big-spending Yankees’ league, even though they aren’t raising payroll and are likely to sign both players to reasonable contracts (as opposed to the insanity of the Werth and eventual Lee deals).”
    I know Paul…the Sox are small market and in no way in the same ballpark. I wonder if fans of the other 25 teams agree with your homer-centric opinion.
    Whatever makes you feel superior dude…poor, economically challenged Liverpool, I mean, Red Sox ownership.
    Are you now going to start talking about what “genius” Theo is too by outspending his competition in much the same way Cashman does?
    Round and round we go.

    krueg December 10, 2010, 11:49 am
  • There is not a single Pirates or Rays fan sitting at home watching the Sox sign (or agree) to the two huge contacts they have this off-season saying “gee the sox just gave $300 million in contracts, more than we can ever spend, but its fair and doesnt matter because the Yankees spend another 20% above that.”

    sam-YF December 10, 2010, 11:55 am
  • Understand your points, guys, but I don’t think Paul is making equivalencies between the Sox and the Pirates, but just rather discussing methodologies. In the context of this site it’s a reasonable discussion, whether you agree with his view or not.

    SF December 10, 2010, 12:00 pm
  • the pirates and the rays don’t have any fans, but for different reasons…their teams on the other hand must be salivating in anticipation of their next windfall from the revenue sharing and luxury tax pools…

    dc December 10, 2010, 12:04 pm
  • Its a reasonable topic indeed and as I said I agree with the broad strokes of the argument. But there is some degree of homerism as Kreug pointed out in saying:
    “likely to sign both players to reasonable contracts (as opposed to the insanity of the Werth and eventual Lee deals).”
    They are reasonable from which perspective? From the Sox because they can afford to give them. From the Yankees, sure they could also sign these contracts. But from most other teams, its not as ‘reasonable’. Ask the Angels, who the Sox outbid by a considerable margin for CC services for the better part of the next decade.

    sam-YF December 10, 2010, 12:04 pm
  • “In the context of this site it’s a reasonable discussion, whether you agree with his view or not.”
    Yeah, so we shouldn’t post our disagreements? I’ve been having this comversation with Brad and others for YEARS! So should I clam up?

    krueg December 10, 2010, 12:05 pm
  • Ask the Angels, who the Sox outbid by a considerable margin for CC services for the better part of the next decade.
    Wait, Arte Moreno is a billionaire, something like the 600th richest man on Earth. And he couldn’t afford the extra $3M a year to ink Crawford but instead lowballed him? No sympathy here…
    (I say this for the most part in jest, mostly because I believe it isn’t fair to commingle Moreno’s businesses outside the Angels with the Angels themselves. And this has been brought up with the Sox and John Henry incessantly, ad nauseum.)

    SF December 10, 2010, 12:10 pm
  • i will give theo and co. credit where it’s due, and that’s in locking up guys like pedroia and youk to contracts while they still could be had for relatively lower amounts than they might get as free agents…much like cano with the yankees…who knows how much these guys could’ve had on the open market…they opted to take a smaller, secure, payday now, rather than hit free agency later…theo scored big time with that strategy…and that as much as anything has helped the sox keep their payroll lower, even as they prepare to add a very yankee-like $300m for just 2 players…

    dc December 10, 2010, 12:12 pm
  • So should I clam up?
    Of course not! I am trying to moderate things (I am, after all, a moderator – I don’t want this discussion to spiral downwards) – Paul is pointing out a difference in the Sox and Yanks, in his mind. He wasn’t comparing the Sox to the Royals. I have no issue with you taking issue with Paul on the merits.
    Oh, and the first person who tries to create an equivalency between the Red Sox and Royals, from a financial standpoint, gets banned!

    SF December 10, 2010, 12:13 pm
  • “I believe it isn’t fair to commingle Moreno’s businesses outside the Angels with the Angels themselves. And this has been brought up with the Sox and John Henry incessantly, ad nauseum.)”
    But this is exactly the point. How can the Yankees be vilified for spending ON THEIR TEAM…while other teams, with owners that according to Forbes are actually MORE wealthy than the Steinbrenners, are given a free pass at best/cry on TV about the Yankees at worst? Which of course trickles down to the fans…
    The only thing that separates the Yankees from the Sox is that Yankee ownership spends whatever it takes to win…while other ownership groups call the Yankees the ‘Evil Empire”, then go out and buy a soccer team…right?

    krueg December 10, 2010, 12:17 pm
  • “Of course not!”
    OK
    “I don’t want this discussion to spiral downwards”
    It won’t. :)

    krueg December 10, 2010, 12:18 pm
  • “…So should I clam up?…”
    hell no…i love clams…littlenecks are my favorite…and i make an awesome clam chowder…most people say it’s better than anything they’ve had in bahston, the cape, anywhere…
    paul doesn’t need you to be defending him again sf…if he’s going to start posting again he should expect moments where folks agree with him, and moments where they don’t…krueg and sam have valid points, as do i, that don’t happen to agree with paul’s on whether the sox are spending yankee-like money, at least in this offseason, and whether one club’s “approach” is better than the other, even though they’re both too similar to distinguish…the attempts to present it differently or to defend it just feels like spinning to me…

    dc December 10, 2010, 12:19 pm
  • Krueg – I don’t think I ever wondered about Steinbrenner’s shipbuilding business or horses impacted the Yankees. Currently the big thing with the Yankees is the team, their real estate, and the YES Network. The Sox have their own conglomerate with NESN (Sox’ media) and the team/park. For me that is the core business and core revenue generation. Not Liverpool, not John Henry’s hedge funds, not Hal Steinbrenner’s stock that he owns personally in Kraft or Apple or whatever else.
    This may be simplistic, but the accounting is already so opaque that I can’t fathom looking at it another way. I own an architectural firm. But it has nothing to do with my (tiny) IRA account, or my collection of antique beer mugs, or whatever other assets I have on my own ledger.

    SF December 10, 2010, 12:22 pm
  • and i make an awesome clam chowder…most people say it’s better than anything they’ve had in bahston, the cape, anywhere…
    It better be cream-based (and have bacon in it) or you are down another notch, dc!!!

    SF December 10, 2010, 12:24 pm
  • why the shit would you cook the clams? Jesus…talk about ruining them. Get your chowder from a restraunt or Cambells…if you have raw clams in the kitchen, eat them!!!

    Brad December 10, 2010, 12:29 pm
  • Just thinking about clams makes me want to vomit. :(
    All I’m saying SF, is that these owners that cry about the Yankees (as well as fans) love to blame the Yankees for their own failures. But much like politics, it’s a shell game.
    If Henry makes/has/hides/etc has the money, which he does, to complete with the Yankees (or outspend every other team) yet decides he would rather spend his money elsewhere…fine. But to try and say that he can’t compete is untrue. He can, just chooses to spend his money elsewhere. (Liverpool) So, if I were a SF, I would be more upset with ownership for not landing a player because of money. Same for all the other teams.
    Is Minny a small market? Hell no. But they sure play the violin as if they are. Their owner, had WAY more money according to Forbes than Steinbrenner. But he chose not to spend it on his team. Fine. But how is that the Yankees fault? It isn’t.
    So, by you focusing on just what the Sox ownership puts into the team, and not their entire portfolio seems ridiculous to me? Except that it is easier for these rich guys to deflect from the fact that they don’t do everything they can to get the players they want. Instead, they pocket the luxury tax money, cry foul and buy another yacht. (or soccer team :))
    Am I completely off base with this line of thinking?

    krueg December 10, 2010, 12:32 pm
  • “Am I completely off base with this line of thinking?”
    Not at all. The yankees have made a business decision to go for the win every single year (more or less). This decisions must to some degree eat at the bottom line of the team. They certainly need to keep the winning brand of the team up from a business perspective but its hard to imagine they couldnt make cuts in some areas and make even more money.

    sam-YF December 10, 2010, 12:37 pm
  • “…It better be cream-based (and have bacon in it)…”
    yes and yes….
    no, you’re not offbase krueg, but perhaps where the critism comes from is that the yankees and teams “like them” have larger revenue streams from baseball and baseball related operations…i don’t think we have any way of telling how much, if any, of steinbrenner’s personal, non-baseball, fortune gets funneled back into the team, but it’s a reasonable assumption that they top the majors in baseball related revenue, i.e. tv rights, attendance, etc….

    dc December 10, 2010, 12:38 pm
  • I know Paul…the Sox are small market and in no way in the same ballpark. I wonder if fans of the other 25 teams agree with your homer-centric opinion.
    This is a strawman, and I’ve decided I’m only going to respond to posts that deal with the merits of what I say (as Sam has), as opposed to the merits of what others imagine I said. It’ll keep things in a better place, I think.
    They are reasonable from which perspective? From the Sox because they can afford to give them. From the Yankees, sure they could also sign these contracts. But from most other teams, its not as ‘reasonable’.
    Well, when I say “reasonable,” I mean from a value-per-win perspective. The Sox are going to pay $20 million per year each for a pair of 5-win players in a market in which wins are going for $5 million apiece. Likewise, both players seem as likely as any player could be given the lengths, to perform reasonably well over the duration of the contract.
    Werth fails both those tests, and while I think Lee might be worth whatever dollar value he commands for the first year or two of his deal, it’s a pipe dream to expect him to last seven years, given his age.
    Let’s remember which teams are creating this $5 million-per-win market. It wasn’t the Sox and the Yankees. It was the Tigers with Victor Martinez, the Marlins with John Buck, the Nats with Jayson Werth. It was whatever fool team signed Joquin Benoit to a three-year contract. If smaller-market teams find the cost of free agency “unreasonable,” then they need to focus their ire on the mid-market teams awarding big contracts to second- and third-tier players.
    I don’t doubt that to a team like the Royals, they see the Sox spending this kind of money and think, “Just like the Yankees.” What I’m saying is that is an overly simplistic view because the Sox remain closer to the Tigers, Dodgers, Cubs and Mets than they are to the Yankees. The difference is they have slightly more money and are much better run than those other teams while they are differently run than the Yankees as a result of the financial gap between them. It’s far more complex than the “Just another Yankees” meme I’ve heard the last few days, not that I should expect complexity and nuance from most sportswriters.

    Paul SF December 10, 2010, 12:40 pm
  • on the other hand, a percentage of that revenue is shared by the so-called “have not” small market guys…we’ve spent a lot of time here discussing what happens vs. what should happen to that shared money…

    dc December 10, 2010, 12:41 pm
  • “while I think Lee might be worth whatever dollar value he commands for the first year or two of his deal, it’s a pipe dream to expect him to last seven years, given his age.”
    And you assume that Carl Crawford will be a 5 win player at the end of his contract too? Thats a pipe-dream as well. The Sox are paying for his decline years just the same as the Lee winner will be doing so for him. As much as I respect your analysis in general Paul, I really do believe that you dont look nearly as critically at the Sox front office moves as you do for others…

    sam-YF December 10, 2010, 12:47 pm
  • “Am I completely off base with this line of thinking?”
    Yes and no. Yes, these guys are wealthy, and can devote personal resources to their teams if they so chose. However, as individual businesses they have a fiduciary responsibility to their lenders, their partners, etc., and they cannot commingle dollars. It’s really complicated, and I am probably simplifying here terribly, but I don’t think it that simple.
    The Sox and Yanks have tremendous baseball-driven resources, the team, real estate, and media. Anything outside those elements, at least to me, doesn’t really figure into my assessments. For either team.

    SF December 10, 2010, 12:48 pm
  • ” It’s far more complex than the “Just another Yankees” meme I’ve heard the last few days, not that I should expect complexity and nuance from most sportswriters.”
    Yes but at the same time, the Yankees MO is greatly simplified by almost everyone as “just throw money at free agents” which is also incorrect. It happens all around.

    sam-YF December 10, 2010, 12:50 pm
  • And you assume that Carl Crawford will be a 5 win player at the end of his contract too?
    I don’t assume anything (I realize this was addressed to Paul), Paul can tell you what he assumes. But couldn’t a win in 2015 might be worth $7M? What was a win worth six years ago, payroll-wise? Hasn’t it been argued, well, that Crawford’s skill set ages better (speed vs. power), not worse? So it’s not inconceivable that he will be worth more than his contract now, less than his contract then, but over 5-7 years be worth what he was paid.

    SF December 10, 2010, 12:52 pm
  • But couldn’t a win in 2015 might be worth $7M? What was a win worth six years ago, payroll-wise?
    Absolutely, but in his statement, Paul basically said the Crawford contract is reasonable because Crawford wont get worse as he ages and the Lee contract will be an Albatross since its a pipe dream to believe he wont get worse as he ages. How is that not at least to some degree homerism?

    sam-YF December 10, 2010, 12:56 pm
  • Paul basically said the Crawford contract is reasonable because Crawford wont get worse as he ages and the Lee contract will be an Albatross since its a pipe dream to believe he wont get worse as he ages.
    I think Paul should offer his response, not me.
    If I had to guess, I’d say that Crawford, turning 29 this year, is in the prime of his career, while Lee, turning 33, would be a big factor in his judgment on that front. Also, track record with skill-set retention for each type of player, career arc, etc. But I think Paul should respond, to be honest.
    Is it “homerism”? No idea – if it’s just based on the laundry and not data, history, patterns, and a reasonable explanation, then yeah, sure. But I am guessing Paul has some good reasons – let’s hear them!

    SF December 10, 2010, 1:26 pm
  • All Im saying SF is that Ive seen articles that argue that Crawford’s speed are a reason to expect a decline from him and the fact that Lee is not a power pitcher, his stuff can last longer than most. (see: Moyer, Jamie)

    sam-YF December 10, 2010, 1:34 pm
  • Jamie Moyer is an outlier. But I totally understand what you are saying.

    SF December 10, 2010, 1:39 pm
  • But to try and say that he can’t compete is untrue.
    I’m pretty sure nobody on this site has every said this dude.

    Atheose - SF December 10, 2010, 1:39 pm
  • Fact is, in four years, Crawford will enter the season at 32 years old, as he doesn’t actually have birtday till late in the year (he just turned 28) For the next four years, you’re going to get what you see now.
    Lee is in that season now. Trying to predict if a speedy outfielder is going to fare better than a pitcher (even a control pitcher: see thousands of other guys not named Jamie Moyer) at age 38 is pointless. Especially because at 38yrs old, Crawford will be 3 years removed from his time in Boston.

    Brad December 10, 2010, 1:42 pm
  • And you assume that Carl Crawford will be a 5 win player at the end of his contract too? Thats a pipe-dream as well.
    Crawford is also 3 years younger than Lee. The final 3 years of his contract he’ll be 33, 34 and 35. The final 3 years of Lee’s contract he’ll be 36, 37 and 38. That’s an enormous difference.

    Atheose - SF December 10, 2010, 1:43 pm
  • That being said, both sides are paying up front for what you may or may not get back on the ass end.
    As is the case with Jeter, Tex, ARod, CC, and Posada and Tek’s last contract.
    If I had to write a 140M dollar check to either of them, it’s the younger OF who would have to have something horrible go wrong for him to not play at some level. A pitcher can become worthless fast: Zito was also a control pitching ace with excellent playoff numbers.
    It can go either way for both sides.

    Brad December 10, 2010, 1:46 pm
  • Absolutely, but in his statement, Paul basically said the Crawford contract is reasonable because Crawford wont get worse as he ages and the Lee contract will be an Albatross since its a pipe dream to believe he wont get worse as he ages.
    Um, what?
    I said, referring in part to Crawford: Likewise, both players seem as likely as any player could be given the lengths, to perform reasonably well over the duration of the contract.
    That’s not saying he won’t decline; it’s saying (well, not explicitly saying this obviously) that his body type and skills are such that Bill James and others who have studied these things have shown that he should age “reasonably well.” (In fact, James published that study publicly, then did another one specifically for the Red Sox in relation to Crawford before the signing, according to Gordon Edes today.) It doesn’t mean that Carl Crawford at age 35 is going to be putting up the same numbers he will at age 29. Is that really what you thought I meant? I hope not.
    But I’ll refer you to Dave Cameron’s post at Fangraphs, which factors in a decline of half a win per year for Crawford over the length of the contract. He finds baseball inflation need only increase 6 percent per year for the deal to hold its value, even in year 7. That convinced me that this is a reasonable deal. Expensive, yes, but reasonable, especially in light of the Werth contract.
    Also, if Cliff Lee were 29, I’d be more hesitant about calling his durability through seven years a pipe dream. But the man is going to be 40 in his final season of that deal. Hey, it’s happened that a 39-year-old pitcher can pitch effectively over a full season, but it’s extremely unlikely.

    Paul SF December 10, 2010, 1:47 pm
  • To expand one what Brad said: pitchers tend to have much higher rates of injury as well.

    Atheose - SF December 10, 2010, 1:47 pm
  • But, lucky for NY, they don’t have any intention of him being productive seven years from now..They need him now, not down the road. Down the road, they’ll worry about down the road.

    Brad December 10, 2010, 1:50 pm
  • Thats all good and fine. Im not saying that Lee will end up great at the end of his contract and Crawford will crash and burn. We truely have no idea even if history suggests one or the other.
    My point is that making blanket statements about the reasonableness of a contract and using that to compare the approach of two teams to free agency is a flawed methodology. To me it seems that the argument is often framed as why the opposing team’s free agents will fail and the contact was bad/dumb while the opposite is true for your own team’s free agent.
    Frankly, I really dont see too much of a difference in the approach of the sox or the yankees which to me is basically “sign the best available free agent when the money is available to do so.”

    sam-YF December 10, 2010, 1:50 pm
  • I do wonder what kind of insurance policies are carried for these deals, what can actually be insured. I imagine Lee’s premium is higher, which means something since actuaries are almost always right. That is what makes them such good Vegas linesmakers.

    SF December 10, 2010, 1:52 pm
  • Apparently today is not the day: Neither the Yankees nor the Rangers expect a decision from Lee for the next couple of days. Sigh.

    Paul SF December 10, 2010, 1:56 pm
  • Actually, I disagree:
    Per Rosenthal:
    Cliff Lee and his agents were just seen entering the players parking lot at Texas Stadium.

    Brad December 10, 2010, 1:57 pm
  • Actually,
    I’m totally kidding.

    Brad December 10, 2010, 1:57 pm
  • Legit question:
    Would the SFs here who are pretty sure that Lee will be a bad contract for the Yankees thus be happy if he takes a 7/$161 contract from the Yankees as it will hurt them in the long run?

    sam-YF December 10, 2010, 2:12 pm
  • Sam, nobody is saying it will be a bad contract for the Yankees. It’s a bad contract regardless of where he goes, and the problems with it are lessened by the fact that the Yankees can afford it.
    To answer your other question: it will hurt in the short-term (the first 2-3 years where he’s an ace) but the last 4-5 years won’t be too bad.

    Atheose - SF December 10, 2010, 2:20 pm
  • @ Sam: Yes.
    That being said, I don’t think it’s going to happen.
    Take a few seconds, and read through this article with Lee’s wife. Regardless of what most of the single guys around here think, this matters. A lot.
    http://www.thirdage.com/news/cliff-lee-wife-struggle-through-sons-leukemia-diagnosis_10-20-2010?page=6#ixzz17jb2e2mW

    Brad December 10, 2010, 2:21 pm
  • Right atheose, i realize that the same things will be said if the rangers or the yankees ink the contract…but if the yankees do sign him, will you be happy?

    sam-YF December 10, 2010, 2:22 pm
  • “I know Paul…the Sox are small market and in no way in the same ballpark. I wonder if fans of the other 25 teams agree with your homer-centric opinion.
    This is a strawman, and I’ve decided I’m only going to respond to posts that deal with the merits of what I say (as Sam has), as opposed to the merits of what others imagine I said. It’ll keep things in a better place, I think.”
    Yes of course Paul…same MO as always. I’ll refrain from questioning your sweeping, and always 100% accurate posts moving forward.
    Must be nice living in your ivory tower.

    krueg December 10, 2010, 2:24 pm
  • I will only be happy inasmuch as what their roster v. dollars scenario looks like in 2014 or 2015.
    But I’ll be happy for another reason as well: good baseball right now. If they sign Lee the next years series is going to be off the damn chart.
    I’m actually thinking that Theo is waiting on any more moves to see where Lee goes. If Lee stays in Texas, I think Theo stands pat with hitters. If Lee comes to NY, I think Theo signs Magglio Ordonez and makes another trade involving Ellsbury.
    I seem to be the only guy that thinks that, but that’s how I see it playing out.

    Brad December 10, 2010, 2:25 pm
  • “”Am I completely off base with this line of thinking?”
    Yes and no. Yes, these guys are wealthy, and can devote personal resources to their teams if they so chose. However, as individual businesses they have a fiduciary responsibility to their lenders, their partners, etc., and they cannot commingle dollars. It’s really complicated, and I am probably simplifying here terribly, but I don’t think it that simple.
    The Sox and Yanks have tremendous baseball-driven resources, the team, real estate, and media. Anything outside those elements, at least to me, doesn’t really figure into my assessments. For either team.”
    Thanks SF for at least trying to explain why my reasoning may be incorrect, instead of condescending. I appreciate that.
    Isn’t the value of the team, and all the baseball-related activities, part and parcel to the owners actual value? How can the two be separate?
    I don’t see how you can just remove a big part of what these guys are worth when talking about the business expenses of running the teams they own? But then turn around and say that you can’t look at the rest of their worth in terms of the money they can put back into their teams? Aren’t profits…profits? No matter where they come from? (and profits would be after all the expenses, including paying out dividends to stockholders?)

    krueg December 10, 2010, 2:30 pm
  • Not funny Brad…I almost had a heart attack.
    ;)

    krueg December 10, 2010, 2:31 pm
  • Are you guys unhappy with the actual contracts…i.e “that guy shouldn’t be making that kind of money playing a game!”

    krueg December 10, 2010, 2:33 pm
  • I’ll have mixed feelings, Sam. I’ll be unhappy for the first 2-3 years because the Yankees are absolutely a better team because of him. But the last 4-5 years I’ll be happy because he’ll be pretty old then and probably league-average.

    Atheose - SF December 10, 2010, 2:33 pm
  • Yes of course Paul…same MO as always. I’ll refrain from questioning your sweeping, and always 100% accurate posts moving forward.
    Must be nice living in your ivory tower.

    Seriously, Krueg? Are you really going to bring the conversation down like this?

    Atheose - SF December 10, 2010, 2:34 pm
  • Yes Ath…I’m the asshole because of everyone’s reverance of Paul.
    As I said, no more commenting on Paul’s stuff. Cool?

    krueg December 10, 2010, 2:47 pm
  • No Krueg, but you’re the only one bringing down the conversation by attacking individual users and calling them names.

    Atheose - SF December 10, 2010, 3:10 pm
  • Hug it out, boys. We all have opinions.
    And hopefully, Lee has the opinion that he likes Texas more than NY.
    On another note, how funny would it be to hear that LAA finalized a deal behind everyone’s back? Or worse yet, Washington!
    Lee would go from the precipice of hatred to the admired man in one quick penstroke.

    Brad December 10, 2010, 3:27 pm
  • As a lurking Sox Fan, I don’t think any contract for any amount could be considered a bad contract for the Yankees. Like the Sox, they have the ability to absorb those types of contracts. Listening to Cowherd on the way to lunch today he was saying that A-Rod will be owed what $25M in 2017 along with Lee’s $23M in 2017.
    I’d like to see what the Yankee’s 2015-2017 salary structure will be compared to the Sox based on what is known today.
    It’s not like the Yankees will start losing money in the next 5-7 years so these type of deals will hurt them in the long run.
    Now, I’m sure this will probably hurt the Rangers. Committing about 20-25% of their payroll over 6-7 years must be tough to swallow.

    BillsBurgSF December 10, 2010, 3:30 pm
  • Now, I’m sure this will probably hurt the Rangers. Committing about 20-25% of their payroll over 6-7 years must be tough to swallow.
    They’ve done it before!

    Brad December 10, 2010, 4:18 pm
  • “No Krueg, but you’re the only one bringing down the conversation by attacking individual users and calling them names.”
    Understood Ath. Sorry I offended your sensibilities and I’m pretty sure I have capitulated at this point.
    As I said, I’m refraining from commenting on his posts.
    Anything else?

    krueg December 10, 2010, 4:23 pm
  • Still no word…although I heard Buster Olney on ESPN at lunch say he thought we would know something in the next 24-48 hours.
    *fingers crossed*

    krueg December 10, 2010, 4:24 pm
  • i’m confused…do sox fans want lee to sign a bad contract with the yankees that they’ll regret years down the road, or do they want lee to sign with texas to keep him away from the yanks?…i’m getting mixed messages…
    i don’t think the yankees are worried about cliff lee in years 5-7…by then they’ll have a $300m payroll, the cheapest tickets will be $1000, and a beer will be $25…and aj burnout will be off the books…are the sox worried about gonzo’s shoulder or carl’s knees?…
    krueg is just a little frustrated…i don’t blame him, and i share his frustration more often than not…we all have opinions and none of them are sacred…and frankly, none of them are wrong, just different…what gives this site its juice is that when you say something, you can and should expect to be challenged…as long as it doesn’t get personal…paul does have a problem with appreciating opinions that don’t at least run parallel with his, and all krueg did was call him on it…i don’t see a problem…

    dc December 10, 2010, 4:36 pm
  • let’s not forget the true cost of gonzo…lets say 7 years $154m, plus 4 prospects, which depending on how they are rated, and i don’t care, might be costly in the long run…i’m sure none are of the hanley ramirez kind, but generally the sox prospects are highly prized, at least as long as they remain in the sox organization…

    dc December 10, 2010, 4:42 pm
  • I don’t want Lee to sign with the Yankees because he is a good pitcher.
    The contract stuff is fun to talk about, though, and also very interesting. But boiled down, I fear the pitching quality.

    SF December 10, 2010, 4:56 pm
  • If anyone wants a reference point for what the Yankees can and cannot absorb, bear in mind that this year they will be paying $4,000,000 to KEI IGAWA.

    SF December 10, 2010, 4:58 pm
  • If Lee signs with the Yankees for, let’s say, $24M per season or so, in 2015 the Yankees will have $95M committed to 4 players (Tex, A-Rod, CC, and Lee). The Sox, if they sign Gonzo, will have $41M committed to two players (Crawford, Gonzalez) with a club option of $15M for a third player, Pedroia. Those are the two teams’ only commitments in 2015.
    In fact, if you look at the Cots future salaries you can learn a lot just by seeing how salaries fall away, for the Sox it is a crystal view into why they may have jumped at players like Crawford and Gonzo, in their primes. They never would have signed these guys had they been a mere two years older, in my opinion.
    For reference
    Sox – http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=tz8qHiYrIzlFtVnly7gibjw&output=html
    Yanks – http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=tpQLwiiQL4kzEzLhsUqVjLQ&output=html
    I’d say neither team is all that constricted mid-decade, in any way, by who they signed or will sign during this month of December.

    SF December 10, 2010, 5:06 pm
  • Please respond to my last post to you SF? Not trying to fan any flames, I’m interested in your thoughts?

    krueg December 10, 2010, 5:51 pm
  • Isn’t the value of the team, and all the baseball-related activities, part and parcel to the owners actual value? How can the two be separate?
    I don’t see how you can just remove a big part of what these guys are worth when talking about the business expenses of running the teams they own? But then turn around and say that you can’t look at the rest of their worth in terms of the money they can put back into their teams? Aren’t profits…profits? No matter where they come from? (and profits would be after all the expenses, including paying out dividends to stockholders?)

    I guess as a business owner, though on a completely different and minute scale (I think my company’s annual billings are what Henry makes in a good quarter hour of trading), I get the separation. My own assets do not mix with my company assets. And only in a state of emergency would I address a shortfall in the business with personal assets. It is different when starting up a company – my initial contribution to the company was my own money, my own sweat equity as well. But once the company is viable, the personal contributions diminish and only in case of an emergency would I consider depleting personal assets for this purpose. And if the business is profitable then there is a decision about how much to plow back into the company versus how much to take out. I think this is probably the murky territory in which Henry, Hal/Hank lurk – how much do they plow back in to the business. And even in this case they can’t cavalierly just decide to plow everything back in (or even almost everything) just so they can sign a shiny new toy. As I stated earlier they have limited partners and fiduciary responsibilities.
    So yes, Henry has a ton of money. And a lot of it may be liquid enough for him to say “hey, I really want to sign Bar Refaeli to play shortstop for the Sox, even though she costs eleventy trillion dollars to do so”, but as a good businessman with responsibilities to the company he probably wouldn’t ever do that.
    Unless she’d play half-dressed, of course.

    SF December 10, 2010, 6:01 pm
  • That is a great explanation. Being that you actually own a business, and I don’t, I wanted to hear what you thought and that makes sense to me…
    So the real question is, how much of the “Steinbrenner” money do they put back into the team as opposed to how much of it is “Yankee” money and does the twain ever meet?
    Could this harken back to the old adage, “you have to spend money to make money?” Or would the risk of putting their “personal” money back into the team not necessarily mean more success but instead additional risk to their own profits?

    krueg December 10, 2010, 6:20 pm
  • So after reading SF and krueg’s posts, now I’m curious about the worth of the Steinbrenner bros and John Henry in terms of assets they own and how much is intermingled with the teams they own.
    John Henry’s is an futures and foreign exchange trader (thanks wikipedia) that owns the Sox, NESN, LFC, Rousch racing (NE Sports Ventures).
    The interesting thing is the Steinbrenner googling turns up stories about him dying at the right time to avoid the estate tax (like anytime is a good time to die) but they show his worth at $1.1B and Wikipedia shows John Henry’s worth at….wait for it….$1.1B. Very interesting.

    BillsBurgSF December 10, 2010, 6:39 pm
  • And I should have added the Hank/Hal own Yankees, the Stadium, YES (right?). Anything else?

    BillsBurgSF December 10, 2010, 6:40 pm
  • Oh and I more, of course I had to Google Bar Refaeli images. WOW.

    BillsBurgSF December 10, 2010, 6:42 pm
  • another way to look at this is that when steinbrenner bought the yankees, he presumably used his “own” money, whatever that means, and whatever pocket it came out of…the ongoing operation of the team presumably is financed by revenue generating baseball “activities”, whatever they are…i don’t think it’s out of the question for an owner to step up and use whatever funds available to sign a game-changing type of player…depends on the appetite for risk, and the desire to succeed…this notion was just suggested on espn with regard to cliff lee…a team might have an operations budget, funded by baseball related revenue, for the other 24 players, with an “exception” funded from non-baseball revenue for the 25th guy…why not?…

    dc December 10, 2010, 6:46 pm
  • “And I should have added the Hank/Hal own Yankees, the Stadium, YES (right?). Anything else?’
    My heart.

    krueg December 10, 2010, 6:55 pm
  • dc – isn’t that what the Nats are doing? Ted Lerner is worth over $3B, that will buy a lot of talent. I’ve heard radio media suggesting that Jayson Werth’s contract was a result of the owner having so much $$$$ at his disposal.

    BillsBurgSF December 10, 2010, 7:35 pm
  • Oh krueg, you romantic fool!!

    BillsBurgSF December 10, 2010, 7:36 pm
  • They complete me…

    krueg December 10, 2010, 7:43 pm
  • Single game Sox tix go on sale tomorrow at 10AM, Crawford presser tomorrow at 10AM, coincidence, I think not!
    Question is how fast they sell out.

    BillsBurgSF December 10, 2010, 8:55 pm
  • Some interesting pics from Ortiz’s annual golf charity tourny in the DR.
    Good camera angle or Papi looks in pretty good shape for early Dec:
    http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/gallery/2010/12_07_ortiz_golf?pg=14
    And my God, Pedoria is freaking short, in this one Tiant looks taller that Pedy.
    http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/gallery/2010/12_07_ortiz_golf?pg=8

    BillsBurgSF December 10, 2010, 9:16 pm
  • Great action around here lately fellas. Just back from 2 weeks abroad but have been following as much as possible. I think Paul’s comments which started the bulk of the discussion on this thread are certainly reflective of his homerism, which is all fine and good given that we are all here due to our homerism, but it’s homerism in my view nonetheless.
    How, for instance, one can assert with any certainty that a team has gone over its internal limits to sign a player is beyond me. Unless you’re sitting in the room with Cashman, Hal, and Randy L during their strategy sessions, how can you possibly say that the Yankees “were simply not going to go beyond six years — until the Sox signed Crawford, after which they added the seventh year”. How do you know they set a hard cap on six years and then just blew through it? Because there were reports that they were to stay at six (while in the midst of a negotiating process no less – we all know the degree to which statements and leaks made during such processes should be relied upon)?
    And then the generalization, “the Yanks, certainly in this case, generally do what it takes, regardless of where they assess the player’s actual worth to the franchise”. Are you privy to the Yanks’ internal assessments of player-value? If not, you simply are in no position to make this statement.
    This is quite apart from the almost-throwaway statement that Crawford’s contract is reasonable, as if this is simply accepted fact. A team that has hugely elevated OBP as a way to evaluate player-value just gave the 10th richest contract in baseball history (both in terms of total value and in terms of AAV) to a guy with a career OBP under .340. And has signed for 7 years a guy whose value on both sides of the plate – albeit truly considerable – is hugely dependent on his legs. If you combine his lack of slugging and his low OBP (his .781 OPS ranks him 84th in the league) there is no way – had the Yanks landed him with the exact same contract – that we wouldn’t have been hearing about these less flattering indicators of how “reasonable” or not the terms are.
    To be clear, I fully expect Crawford to make the Sox substantially better for the next 4 and maybe 5 years, in no small part because he will be a menace on the basepads. And I would much rather the Yanks had signed him than Boston, even for the same exact terms.
    But to blithely assert that this is a reasonable contract, to presume knowledge of a rival teams’ valuations of player talent and their internal limits — and to use both of these dubious assertions to compare and contrast the two teams’ approach to FA in such a way that makes the team you happen to root for look more reasonable is pretty unconvincing to put it mildly.

    IronHorse (YF) December 10, 2010, 10:50 pm
  • I love you IH.

    krueg December 11, 2010, 12:03 am
  • how ’bout that?
    it’s kinda what we said krueg, but much more eloquent-a-elegantly…welcome home IH

    dc December 11, 2010, 2:54 am
  • Amen IH! This was essentially the point i was trying to make in a much more elegant and clear manner.

    sam-YF December 11, 2010, 8:01 am
  • Incidentally, Carl Crawford has never been a five win player in his career. His WAR last year was 4.8 and was close but was also his career high. He is also just three years removed from a 2.9 year. He had similar years before and after that too. ( one of which was effected by injury). The pont being he has had some variation in production in his 20s and there is no reason to assume that he is just a five win player and will be for next 7 years, especially insight of the fact that he has never been one. The so called reasonableness of the contract will appear much different if he puts up a bunch of sub 4 win seasons.

    sam-YF December 11, 2010, 8:24 am
  • For the record I was using WAR I found on baseball ref for that post.

    sam-YF December 11, 2010, 8:29 am
  • IH is like Yoda…only better looking.

    krueg December 11, 2010, 10:23 am
  • Does WAR include defense?

    SF December 11, 2010, 11:13 am
  • Answered my own question, the magic of the Googles.

    SF December 11, 2010, 11:18 am
  • Tks for the welcome-backs dc, krueg, sam — the yoda comment made me laugh out loud…though I think if anyone holds a candle to yoda on this site it’s got to be AG.
    Further to the debate re: whether the Yanks always get their man (sorry don’t know how to hyperlink in a comment): http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/12/sports/baseball/12yankees.html?_r=1&ref=sports.
    I’m inclined to agree with assessments by krueg and others that the longer this drags out the less likely it seems to me that Lee is coming to NY, which would make me bummed over the next 3-4 years. Not so much after that.

    IronHorse (YF) December 12, 2010, 12:03 am
  • That article should be retitled “Once, Nearly Two Decades Ago, The Yanks Didn’t Get Their Man”.

    SF December 12, 2010, 6:15 am
  • Well to be fair SF the article does list 6 players who passed up lucrative offers from the Yanks to go elsewhere, though yes, they were all after the ’92 season. Building a dynasty does wonders for your recruiting pull. This is rarely as acknowledged by Yankee-detractors as the sheer dollar signs. The article reflects that the combination of money and building a perennial winner are the ultimate attraction – so much so that guys like Beltran offer the Yankees a discount to play for them over other teams who also have tons of cash.
    I imagine that a big part of the Lee-recruitment strategy by the Rangers is not just about trying to come close to matching the Yankee’s salary offer, but also trying to convince him that something so special is being built in Texas that he is as assured as he would be in NY of winning one or more WS over the course of his 6 or 7-year deal. And they may actually have somewhat of an argument there given their young talent, the division they’re in compared ot the AL East, and their new ownership. Regardless, I do believe that it’s simply not just all about the money for a fair number of players, especially those who are going to be made crazy-rich no matter which option they choose.

    IronHorse (YF) December 12, 2010, 11:30 am
  • AG is more like Han Solo…witty and dangerous!

    krueg December 12, 2010, 12:26 pm
  • Just ponder for a moment how historically poor of a negotiating position the Yankees have gotten themselves into here. Their division rivals have fully loaded with arguably the best rotation in the AL and arguably the best on-paper offense in the majors (though a righty bat is clearly still desirable). Their own rotation, especially if Pettitte retires, is – at best – 3/5s secure, and that includes AJ coming of an historically awful season. And they have no discernable plan B to landing Cliff Lee to shore up that rotation. The supposedly second best option out there (Pavano) is a guy who everyone knows the Yankees will never ever sign again. I don’t think they suddenly suck if they don’t land Lee, but for a team that wants to be a WS contender each and every year, they’ve certainly put themselves in a pretty weak position from which to maneuver here. Bleh.

    IronHorse (YF) December 13, 2010, 10:26 am
  • “Their division rivals have fully loaded with arguably the best rotation in the AL…”
    I think this is the great falacy of baseball. Is their rotation really THAT great? Besides Lester…none of their pitchers scare me. Beckett? Lackey? Dice-K? I don’t know but it seems we light these guys up more often than not…
    Their offense certainly got better but ours is solid. Led the majors during a down year.
    I have to think that Cash has a couple contingency plans in the works if this all falls apart, which I’m starting to think it might…who saw Graderson coming last year?

    krueg December 13, 2010, 11:21 am
  • Uh, Buchholz?

    SF December 13, 2010, 11:28 am
  • Buster Olney:
    The Yankees have continued to be aggressive on C Russ Martin; would not be a surprise if we heard at any time of an agreement.
    Does this mean something is up with Montero? Martin is an all-star and I doubt he would come in to back up? Maybe Lee signs, then trade Montero for Greinke too???
    CC, Lee, Hughes, Greinke and AJ. Wow.

    krueg December 13, 2010, 11:28 am
  • Martin hasn’t been an All-Star for three years, krueg, and he’s coming off surgery. I think Martin is a depth signing – it allows them to at least consider trading Montero but by no means indicates they will trade Montero.
    Would Cervelli be the guy who could go, a serviceable young catcher who may have some upside and is at minimum? Or is a catching threesome of Posada (playing DH a lot) with Martin and Montero just too risky?

    SF December 13, 2010, 11:39 am
  • Yeah…Clay is good too. Not as good as Lester but certainly better than the other three in my humble opinion.
    So Martin isn’t good enought to start? I have to think that Cervelli is the odd man out. He was pretty bad last year and we have some depth in the organization at catcher from what I’ve read.
    Wishful thinking I guess!

    krueg December 13, 2010, 11:48 am

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