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Be Careful What You Wish For

Red Sox fans who think that it would be swell for the Yankees to sign Cliff Lee for a gob of money over several years since it will hamstring them down the road should do it twice. The fact is that the Yankees can absorb a couple (or three, maybe four) bad years at the tail end of the deal, no matter what they pay him. They have only a few commitments past 2015 (albeit big ones), but in the short term Lee and Sabathia are a fearsome duo, and that doesn't include Hughes with AJ Burnett as a fourth or fifth starter. If the tandem lefties lead them to a Series or two and a championship that will be at the expense of the Sox, something us SFs should reject.

Count me as one Sox fan who wants Lee as far away from the AL East as is humanly possible. I just don't see "overpaying" for Cliff Lee keeping the Yankees from fixing that problem in 2015 when (and if) it might arise. I am just not interested in finding out how bad a 7/160M deal is for the Yankees books in 2016.

Go to Texas, Cliff. PLEASE.

29 replies on “Be Careful What You Wish For”

I’m strangely ambivalent about the potential Lee signing. On one side, I recognize that the Sox now have a beast of a team on paper and are the current favorites. Adding Lee probably evens it up, giving the Yanks a team well built for short postseason play. Also, a Lee, CC and Pettitte rotation seems especially well matched for the Sox lefty-heavy line-up. That’s a minor point, I guess, but I would want to see how it played out.
On the other hand, losing out on Lee will push Cashman to younger and cheaper alternatives, who might very well be better in the long term. The Yanks are supposed to have a lot of exciting pitching in the farm. Will they be a part of the Yanks’ plans?

Cliff Lee won’t block anyone. He won’t keep youngsters from coming up. He takes up one spot, and if you believe his cost is ridiculous then that makes it even more likely that they Yankees try to fill out their rotation with Hughes 2.0, or some other youngster. Maybe they tire of AJ and eat part of his contract and open up a spot. I have no reason to believe that Cliff Lee will keep any uber-talented Yankee pitcher from cracking the squad in a year, two years, or three. There are five rotation spots, and Lee, Sabathia, and Hughes only take up three of them. Pettitte might play this year, but who knows about 2012, and AJ could be discarded.
Lee doesn’t limit the Yankees or a youth influx, in my opinion.

I concur with SF. Crowing about how hefty a contract will be four years from now is pretty hollow.
On the other hand, if losing out on Lee means the Yankees swing a trade for Greinke…

“Crowing about how hefty a contract will be four years from now is pretty hollow.”
What if it’s three years from now?
Personally, I prefer they go the Greinke route. I think in Jesus Montero they have the most tradeable prospect in the history of Yankee uber prospects. Where is he going to play?

I do think Lee is somewhat overrated. He had the monster season in 2008, of course, then has been a steady 130 ERA+ pitcher for two straight seasons, which would be cause for all sorts of optimism if he were 29, still theoretically in the prime of his career. But he’s 32.
I guess I’m not sure what makes Cliff Lee better than Johan Santana at this point. Santana is viewed as a disappointment with his big-time contract, this despite being the same age as Lee AND having been marginally better over the past three seasons.
This makes me think either Santana is now underrated because of how dominant he was as a young pitcher or that Lee is being overrated because of his phenomenal SO/BB ratio, which has led to excellent, but not particularly earth-shattering, results.

I think a Lee signing would be all about the post-season. Is it obnoxious to just presume you’ll make the post-season? Yes. But I think the Yankees largely do, and the most exciting pitching prospect then for them is someon who is a proven commodity in those pressure-packed October moments. Lee is that. And I completely agree with SF re: Lee not blocking young upcomoing talent…on the contrary, I think the Yanks are much more likely to trade that talent away before it is major-league ready if they lose out on Lee and feel pressed to add other proven starters to their rotation.

Hello all, it has been awhile…
Nick, I don’t think the Yankees have anyone close enough to being ready that they would fill any void (?) left by the Yankees not signing Lee. I am with you though that I really don’t care it either way. He’d obviously be great to have on the team and I couldn’t care less about how much he’d make in 2075. He’s a pitcher that relies on control, there’s no signs to say he couldn’t pitch to 39 years of age and still be successful. He’s not a thrower like say Beckett or Burnett.
The Yankees will not trade for Greinke. While they may match up well (even though MLBTR says differently) he’s got the make up of a guy perfect for Washington, San Diego, Pittsburgh, places where there he can pitch under little to no scrutiny. Too many red flags regardless of talent.
Montero is going to catch until he proves he cannot catch Nick. Even if the Yankees sign Martin today (fingers crossed) he will still split time with Montero for sure. If he wasn’t traded in July I don’t think he’s going anywhere now.
Paul, I miss this…Lee is somewhat of a different story than Santana (Even though the K #’s are similar as of late) Santana has always relied on the strikeout and Lee has only begun to be that guy since 2008, 2009-ish. Also, Lee is more of a contact pitcher as you can tell by his H/9 and lower BB total. Overtime Santana’s health (knee, arm, etc…) has really hampered him from being that strikeout guy. Players need to adjust over time, less velocity means more complete pitching. Lee is a complete pitcher, like Roy Halladay. Of course I am not saying he’s as talented, but at 32 he gets what it means to be a complete pitcher. Whether that was due to his stint in the minors or just coming with age, the bottom line is he’s a pitcher with command of what it means to be 32 and still be this good. I think you are really underestimating just how good he is. As I said above, who’s to say he can’t pitch this way for 7 more seasons? Sure his K’s will go down, but at worst he’s Andy Pettitte. The same Andy Pettitte the Yankees are going to pay $10-$15 million to pitch in 2011 if he so chooses. Lee is a top 5-7 pitcher in the game and should be that way for at least 3 more seasons. What happens after that is really TBD, but I don’t see him falling off the map and it turning into an AJ Burnett situation. Barring injury he will be more than adequate for years 4-7 for whichever team he chooses. Look at his numbers after the minor league stint, he’s only gotten better.
This could all change tomorrow if his arm falls off, but that goes for all pitchers.

In 2010 only 22 pitchers had more K’s than Lee…Not one of them had fewer walks (18). Not one of them other than Roy Halladay (30) was within 35 walks! After Lee and Halladay the next guy (in the top 25 K’s) is Jered Weaver with 54, Adam Wainright (56) and Liriano (58). I’d say that qualifies as being pretty close to “Earth Shattering” if you add in a respectable 7.84 K/9 (better than CC) and an ERA of 3.17 (better than Sabathia)…

“I think a Lee signing would be all about the post-season.”
Which is the single most important thing about him yet somehow left out of a lot of the criticism on here???
per baseball reference:
Career postseason-
2.13 ERA
3 CG’s
76 innings
54 hit
22 runs (18 earned)
2 HR’s
80 K’s/8 walks
very underwhelming…

Joel Sherman speculating that the Phillies could be the “mystery team” that’s supposedly courting Lee.
I highly doubt it, but can you imagine?
Literally the greatest rotation ever.

Part of Lee’s rising K rate is also attributed to the fact that the rest of MLB realized that he’s not going to walk anyone, and that they have to swing at nearly every pitch, and since his stuff is just flat out nasty, contact isn’t made.

All I know is I’ve been in the stands twice now when Cliff Lee has pitched to the Yankees in October. Taking these two together (G1 of the ’09 WS and G3 of the ’10 ALCS) he delivered two infuriatingly non-chalant and yet dominant performances, totalling 17 IP, 8 hits, 0 ER, 1 BB, 23 K. I’ve been psychologically scarred from being at the scene of these two maulings. I don’t want to watch another one. Unless of course he’s wearing the right uniform.

I remember during the post-season last year, it was mentioned that Lee seems to thrive on the big stage, Krueg playoff stats and IH’s first hand account both seem to prove that. And what bigger stage is there in MLB than on the mound at Yankee Stadium?
Come on Lee, sign in Texas, you know you are a country boy at heart. I really don’t want to worry about facing you 33-4 games in the season with the potential of facing him in the ALCS.

Looks like the Phillies are the mystery team. Sounds like Lee would have to leave some money on the table to go there but loved his time in there and would love to have the chance to form a top 2 with Halladay. Gotta say this wouldnt bode well for the Sox chances to win it all, despite the fact it would help with their quest to make it to the WS next year. That would be a hell of a staff…

Could they have made a “finish what we started” offer to Lee? It would be tough to lose to anyone in 6 games in the WS with that rotation.
It’s being reported that Philly is offering 5 years, must be in the range of 22-25M per. WOW, they jumped over 40M in payroll from 2008 to 2010, adding an additional 20+, that 60M+ payroll increase over 4 seasons is by far the biggest jump in MLB.
Still think Yankee’s are favs with Rangers second.

Per ESPN just now…the Yankees are OUT of the Cliff Lee sweepstakes. I haven’t been able to find anything to confirm but that’s what they just opened SportsCenter with…

Yep…i’m seeing tweets that he might be going back to Philly to rejoin Doc. Cool. Go back and hide in AAAA.
He must really hate NY, huh?
OK Cash, what do you have up your sleeve man. Time to earn your paycheck!!!

good…like i said, i really thought we could get more value doing something, anything, besides cliff lee…i don’t think he has the stones to pitch in ny, despite his post season resume and the supposed ice water in his veins…[see world series, last year, for balance]…the phillies?…really?

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