“We’re five months away from free agency,” said Braunecker, “so I think that’s the most likely scenario at this point.”
“We’ve not really had any significant discussions with Seattle. I wouldn’t anticipate a deal [with the Mariners].”
This is great news for the Yankees because they are likely to have to replace Andy Pettitte, Javier Vazquez, or both in next year’s rotation. If Lee is on the free agent market then that gives them a very strong option to plug into their rotation.
This was not a forgone conclusion either as the trend in baseball lately has been to extend big name pitchers before they hit free agency. We’ve seen it with Roy Halladay, Johan Santana, and Josh Beckett. The fact that it appears that Lee will hit the open market should have the Yankees front office salivating.