That's the question every baseball fan is asking themselves at the current moment. As the last truly big name free agent on the market, Cliff Lee is main attraction everyone wants to hear about. He could crush the hearts of Texans everywhere and leave for the Big Apple, or he could spurn the Yankees and their huge offer in order to return to Arlington and make the Rangers a possible perennial power in the American League. His decision could change the face of the American League for the next few years.
However, why is Lee still deciding? He received the last offers from each team last week, and the Yankees is reportedly much higher (as much as 7 years, $161 million). Clearly, Lee's decision can't be all about money, because if it was he would be a Yankee already. Texas may have more of an edge than people thought and Lee could be having a hard time choosing between more money in New York or a better fit in Texas.
Or, as both mlbtraderumors.com and the New York Post's Joel Sherman have reported, there could be a third team involved in the hunt for Cliff Lee. Granted, this is very unlikely because today it's almost impossible to keep something like that quiet. However, it still could be a possibility. Apparently the Nationals are out of the running, so Lee won't end up in Washington. Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman thinks the offer may be from a place that Lee loves, but that it will be a lot lower than the Yankee's offer. Sherman throws out two teams in his post recent blog post, the Phillies and the Cubs.
If the Phillies signed Lee, watch out. They would have one of the best rotations of all time. Who the hell would want to face Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels and Lee (in whatever order) during a four game series? The Phils have dumped a lot of salaries over the offseason, but have yet to make any big moves.
If the Cubs got Lee, it would be the best moment of my year. But being a Cubs fan, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that there is no way the Cubs will get Cliff Lee. Sure, the Ricketts family is rich and could offer him a lot of money, but still, not gonna happen. If it did though, the Cubs could easily compete in an NL Central division that is pretty weak. Since there is probably only about a 3.56% chance of this move happening, the Cubs may want to focus on free agent pitchers they can actually sign, like the great Kevin Millwood or the ever reliable Brandon Webb.
The question is then, how long will we have to wait to know if there was a mystery team involved? I'm guessing that we may never know, and that Lee will end up signing with the Rangers or the Yankees. Since he is taking this long to decide, even when New York has a bigger offer on the table, I'm leaning towards the Rangers.
Iam going to opening night at Fenway again next year on April 8 -- the Yankees are in and I hope we don't face Cliff Lee. The Sox open in Texas a week earlier -- I actually hope we DO face Cliff Lee. It will mean that he signed with the team of my choice!ReplyDelete
Phenomenal post. I agree that the time it's taking Lee to make the decision does not bode well for the Yankees; however, I am happy it is taking this long. Knowing that Lee is taking his time to make this decisions makes me believe if he does choose the Yankees, then he really wants to be there, he won't just be coming for the money. Whatever happens I'll still respect him, but I'll only like him if he comes to the Yankees.ReplyDelete