Yankees general manager Brian Cashman responded to an invitation to meet with free agent Cliff Lee by flying to his house in Arkansas.
No offer is expected, but Cashman is trying to make a good impression on Lee and his wife early in the free agent process.
Here is more from Joel Sherman of the NY Post confirmed the MLB Trade Rumors report:
Cashman made contact with Braunecker (Lee’s agent) on Sunday night, shortly after teams were allowed to talk in a significant way with outside free agents. At that time, Braunecker suggested a meeting in either New York or Arkansas. The Yankees figured it would be beneficial to show respect by going to meet Lee on his turf. As a finishing move in the Sabathia negotaitions, Cashman visited the Sabathia family in northern California during the December 2008 Winter Meetings.
Cashman clearly wants to get a better feel for Lee while also putting out any potential fires with Kristen Lee. During the Yankees-Rangers ALCS, she complained about the horrible behavior of Yankees fans.
However, the Yankees also know the Lee family was excited in July to come to New York when it appeared a trade was going to be finalized that would have sent the veteran lefty from the Mariners to the Yankees. He was traded to the Rangers instead and helped them reach their first World Series.
We keep hearing that the Yankees are not going to go overboard on the contract offer, but they can do other things, like this, to impress upon Lee how much they want him. He is the key to their offseason, without signing him it’s going to be very hard to make this a productive offseason.
The Yankees haven’t made a an offer yet, but considering that this is expected to take a long time making an offer now probably wouldn’t give them an advantage. I expect Cashman to go Ninja Style (Cash’s patented style) and wait to the end before getting aggressive, similar but not exactly like how they signed Mark Teixeira.
By being aggressive late instead of early they can wait to see what other teams are bidding so they don’t have to bid against themselves.
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