The Wire

Cliff Lee ESPN Special Tonight?

I must admit that Lebron's decision last night to choose the path of least resistance and join Wade and Bosh made me think for a second: Is this what it's like to hate the Yankees?

Well, never mind that. The rumor mill is milling and it looks like Cliff Lee could be a Yankee very soon. The M's are asking for Jesus Montero and two other prospects. 

Lee, Sabathia, Hughes: The Big Three! And Pettitte's not too bad either. Call it the Big Four.

35 replies on “Cliff Lee ESPN Special Tonight?”

Is this what it’s like to hate the Yankees?
Nah, it’s not comparable to the Yankees. The Heat now have two superstars and another all-star, and have to fill out the roster with a mixture of minimum-wage guys and barely-above minimum guys. Their successes rest on these three guys and whatever they can squeeze out of the remainder of their roster. If this were comparable, the Heat would also have added Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and traded scrubs for Tony Parker. They have a LOOOONG way to go to being the Yankees of the NBA. They had a brilliant week on the free agent market, inarguably, but the salary cap makes their ascension to Yankee-like status an impossibility.
As an aside, who the hell is advising LeBron? Dumbest PR/image-management idea ever, the way they had him roll out his decision.

Maybe, SF,but the NBA is such a superstar league, and roster depth doesn’t have near the value it has in mlb. I mean, look at the Celts’ success. They won the whole thing after adding two stars. Rondo’s emergence was a surprise, and the role players were, until the stars arrived, thought of as scrubs. Obviously, this isn’t exactly comparable because there is a salary cap, but I was more getting at the idea that the Heat, through rather artless means, are now the favorites much like the Yanks are perennial favorites by throwing money this way and that. By the way, the Heat managed to add Mike Miller to the mix yesterday. So two insanely great players (lebron, paul, wade, kobe are my top 4 in that order), one pretty great player, one good player, and 8 more spots to go. I say they win 65 games and take on the Lakers in the finals.

My only issue with the move is that neither Lebron or Dwade is going to be themselves again. The days of watching each go off for 40 are over. There isn’t enough basketball without one taking a seat to another, I think. I could be wrong, but year, they’re going to be gross. I’ve always hated Kobe, but I couldn’t be rooting any harder for him at this point.
Plus, I feel that there are a lot of older guys, like Shaq, who will want to play for this team and will take much less money to do so. I think 65 is being conservative, Nick.

Maybe it will be better though Brad…like the NBA used to be. I think MJ kinda ruined the NBA in a way because he made it a one-on-one league. A game of individuals. It may be more fun watching the new “Big 3” playing actual team basketball? I’m actually interested to see and I haven’t really watched the NBA since the 90’s…

You could be right, Brad. I just read a piece by Kevin Pelton, who is a great basketball writer, and the Heat look like a dynasty now. He made comps to the ’95 Bulls.
Yeah, and I totally agree about your first point. If I had to guess, based on their games, Wade is going to be the scorer, and James is going to take on a more Pippen-like role. I mean, probably fun for Heat fans to watch, but I can’t help but think the full range of what these guys can do won’t be on display.

but I can’t help but think the full range of what these guys can do won’t be on display.
Exactly. They’re both going to have to curb their talents to accompany the other’s.
I can’t see any way this isn’t going to be an issue. Lebron is not Pippen. He’s lebron, and the same can be said for Wade.
I’m a fringe basketball player at best, so I don’t know enough about any of it to say for sure.

Rondo’s emergence was a surprise, and the role players were, until the stars arrived, thought of as scrubs.
Partly true, partly not true. The Celts in 2008 had a reasonably deep squad, 8 deep, anchored by the big three. The Heat will need to go 7 deep to compete with the Lakers as currently made up (see what happened when the Celtics lost Perkins for a game? Imagine that vacuum for a season), though in the East 5 or 6 deep should get them pretty far.
And I may be a contrarian, but maybe LeBron will be even better with Wade and Bosh. Maybe he can put up triple-doubles every night, maybe he doesn’t have to get the ball every trip for the shot or drive, making him Magic Johnson? Am I alone in thinking that even though this may be a tricky scenario to navigate for the Heat, there is a possibility that LeBron gets even better because of this?
I think it is ironic that often we hear of fans complaining that players just go where the biggest contract is. In this case, LeBron took less money for the chance at a title. Yet he’s being vilified. If he doesn’t botch this from a PR standpoint I think the story being written would be different. His handlers (and James himself) ought to be pilloried for his delivery of the decision, but not necessarily for the decision itself.

> In this case, LeBron took less money for the chance at a title. Yet he’s being vilified.
Not by me. Yes, it’s less money than Cleveland. It’s also not as much less as one might think due to Florida not having a state income tax. And regardless if they win a title, who knows how much more he will end up keeping in endorsements. Good for him. It’s going to be fun to watch.

The thing is that the Heat’s Big 3 is better than the Celtics’ Big 3, even when Garnett first arrived in Boston. I mean, seriously, Lebron and Wade are probably the best two players in the league. So the need for depth is mitigated. But my other point is that the Celts were thought of as basically the Big 3 and nothing else. There wasn’t even the idea that they had any depth. At the time, the players were considered scrubs, worthy of the league minimum. That was the worry among Celtics fans: this was a top heavy team with nothing beyond the stars.
The lesson of the Celtics, however, is that going for superstars is a viable way to a championship. Part of it is that a lot of scrubbish players can actually be useful role players on these types of teams. So the Celtics turned out to be 8 deep, but it was only because these previously poorly-regarded players we used well.
As to the Magic Johnson comp, I could certainly see that happening. I could also see him being as great as ever, with advanced metrics showing him to be even more valuable in his new role. That said, I do think the way he is viewed as a player changes. I guess I saw/see him as the best player since Jordan, who was set to have a Jordanesque career, which meant he’d be clearly the leader of his team. I don’t see that happening in Wade’s Miami.

I can’t believe virtually all the comments here have turned to basketball. This potential move by the Yankees is huge. Sabathia, Lee, Burnett, Pettitte (exp. 2010 version), Hughes + whatever they get in return for trading Vazquez? Hard to fathom. Curious to see if the Rays enter the fray to try to block this.

Good for KP. Good for the Knicks. They will get an awesome GM with a knack (Knick-knack?) for fixing a team that has lost its way, and somehow keep things running even when everything goes horribly wrong due to happenstance.
There are very few people who are not one of the b/m/illionaires that run Vulcan Inc — owners of the Blazers — that hasn’t been walking around thinking, “what the f*ck?” since draft day.
Actually, I got that wrong. People are walking around saying out loud “WHAT THE F*CKING F*CK!”
Maybe some people that wanted Durant over Oden hang that decision on KP’s head. But I doubt it.

I think the only way the Werth deal happens is if the Yankees eat Javy’s contract, which isn’t going to happen. Well, I mean, it’s not out of the realm of possibility, but the Phillies are going to go with younger guys with team control.
The Red Sox should step up and offer Ellsbury and Dubront, and call it a day. At least then there is another competent bat in the lineup right now.

Curious to see if the Rays enter the fray to try to block this.
Not a chance. Not unless they include upton and a pitcher with stock. Plus, the Rays wont sign him to CC money, so why even bother with a rental. It’s why no other team is in the mix…they know NY is going to give him the contract.
I’ve been wrong before though.

Krueg, I don’t really want to talk about baseball, frankly. The Sox’ injury situation is wearying, totally. It’s one thing as fan to have to deal with a couple of marquee names going down, life goes on and bad luck happens to everyone, but these last few weeks have just murdered enthusiasm.
The Sox have some prospects down in the minors who may be exciting some day, but they aren’t even ready enough to step in such is the depth of the injury problem. That might have made this situation a little more exciting as a fan, to see the new blood, but all we are getting is a guy named Niumann Romero, a trade for a guy who couldn’t make it on the A’s (Patterson), and Kevin CASH every day.
Back to the World Cup.

Apparently, the whole thing is now rumored to be in stall anyhow, as the Mariners have balked at the offer of Monetero, Adams and a third prospect.
Aparently, the M’s are going in a “different direction” according to Sherman, whatever the hell that means, and cites that ‘another team’ has aggresively entered the discussion.
I wonder whom?
MLBTR for that info.

Just listened to Sherman on ESPN 1050 with Kay, sounds like it’s completely fallen apart. Yankees were ready to rock, M’s wanted to switch out the third part, Yankees told them to go fuck themselves, we’re out…
Everyone can relax now. It’s over.

Makes sense. The Yanks had about the best BATNA for this deal so not surprising they drove a hard bargain.
So can Lee get shipped out before he starts vs. the Yanks tonight please??

Their BATNA was what, sitting pat and risking the Rays got him, right? As such, another team in competition with them, a direct threat potentially, got him. Let’s see what the Yankees do with Montero now – they may use him for a different piece, though will that piece be as big a name as Lee? And won’t Lee garner a first rounder when he walks in the offseason? I am not sure why the Yankees didn’t make a deal here, he would have potentially locked up a repeat for them. Though they may repeat anyhow (diminishing returns from Lee, perhaps?).
A contender just got a guy who can beat any team in the playoffs twice in a series. Certainly a good move for the Rangers. And for hecks’s sake they are also getting PAID to take Lee.

Yeah – no one can argue that getting Lee for a prospect who the Yanks are NOT likely to bring up anytime soon because they’ve got another who they value similarly at the same position would have made sense. But the other side of that BATNA is the starting 5 that the Yanks now have. A decidedly better starting 5 than last year — a year in which they did win it all and against a team that started Lee against them twice.
But the flirtation with Lee raises the Yankees #2 slot. Burnett is such a scary #2. The gap between his A-stuff and his B-stuff performances is so wide that in a short series it can really screw you if you catch him on an off-day. Even if Pettitte slips a little in the second half from the career-best year he is having to-date, he is so much more reliable as a #2 man.
The Rangers are pretty scary actually.

IH, I wonder about the Yankees’ staff in the second half. There are a few real possibilities – Hughes starts to wear down (yes, I know they are protecting him, so who knows) as his innings pile up – he’s in new territory here. Pettitte regresses slightly to the mean, so is not nearly as good. Burnett improves (or doesn’t), to what you term “scary”!. That leaves CC and Javy. So that really leaves CC.
Yes, they won it all last year with the same-ish staff, but I can see a scenario where Hughes and Pettitte don’t perform nearly so well as they have, and all of a sudden not trading for Lee becomes a big regret. I don’t get why the Yankees didn’t make this deal, if we are to believe what we are reading. It would have been a crazy staff, and if everyone kept chugging along Lee would have had incremental benefit, but staffs are a bit tenuous, particularly old guys (AP) and young guys on innings limits.
This was a no-brainer insurance policy to me, and I am very surprised the Yanks didn’t make the move. This also leads me to believe the reporting isn’t accurate at all.

The reporting is that the Mariners pulled out and the Yanks very much wanted to make the deal and now the Yanks are livid with the M’s. It seems as if Seattle preferred Smoak to Montero and were gunning for him the whole time.

>The lesson of the Celtics, however, is that going for superstars is a viable way to a championship.
Really, Nick? That’s the lesson you take from the Celtics? Maybe in 2008, but not at all in 2010.
In the 2010 playoff run, which fell just four points and a slew of late foul calls short of another banner, just the opposite occurred. The Celtics ran the tougher gauntlet to the finals, through the Cavs and Magic, thanks to depth.
On any given night, opponents who went in with what they thought was a sound gameplan found themselves stymied by the Celtics’ depth. If Pierce or Garnett had an off night or were shut down, Allen or Rondo stepped up. Even if all those four stumbled, suddenly Baby or Nate or Sheed put in a stunning performance. (Too bad Scalabrine was sidelined, because he probably would have made the list, too.)
Thanks to that depth, the Celtics could suss out the opposition’s plan early on, and shift the weight of their own in another devastating direction.
Meanwhile up until the very end and his foul/injury woes, no commentator seemed to notice how central he was to the Celts’ success. Perkins has a lead hand, but his steady presence on D kept Boston in it almost to the end. Just another example of the remarkable depth that team had.
I doubt they’ll be able to go so far again with that crew, if only because even a slight drop-off due to age means a great deal in a league this competitive. But the 2010 Celts were a model of a distributed, deep, unselfish team approach.

A question for SFs:
With all the Sox money available this off-season, why shouldn’t the Sox pursue Lee? Imagine a rotation of:
Now that’s pitching and defense I could believe in. Seriously, they could afford to offer Lee a $25M AAV. Why won’t they?

I can’t help but think that the Yankee Gods intervened today. Like when the offer was available to trade Mo and Jorge for David Wells. Or when they almost let Bernie go for Albert Belle.
Praise be to Jesus!
(Why can’t the kid play RF if he has a powerful arm?)
But seriously, let’s see the Sox sign Lee and Werth.

SF, I can’t argue with your logic. I think the chances for regression for both Hughes and Pettitte are indeed high for the reasons you note – though Pettitte has traditionally been a second-half pitcher as has CC.
And I would prefer to have Lee for Montero + change, even if the Mariners wanted that “change” to be slightly richer than what the Yanks initially offered.
Having said that, I sort of see the difference in their rotation with and without lee as “a lock” vs. “extremely strong”, so I’m not feeling very concerned. Of course, if CC goes down, or Pettitte falls off a cliff, all yfs will certainly regret the one that got away.

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