Update 7:30: Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York is reporting that the Yankees are going to meet with Lee’s agent tonight and are prepared to make a ‘very lucrative offer’.
“I’m willing to get serious,” said Cashman.
Update 6:24: Heyman is now reporting that there are two teams who are willing to make 7-year offers to Lee. No word on who they are. The Yankees have been said to be stuck on a 6-year offer.
These rumors are, at the very least, questionable. The Yankees have still not even made a single offer. Not because they don’t want to, but because they’re still waiting for the go-ahead from Lee’s agent. It seems highly unlikely that there are two teams that have 7-year offers on the table, but the Yankees don’t even have one. It may just be that teams are saying that they are going to make a 7-year offer, but I doubt one has actually been made.
Original post: Lot of stuff out there on Cliff Lee today. Coming into the winter meetings it seemed like a two horse race between the Yankees and Rangers, but late last night there was a rumor of a seven-year deal and whispers that it might be the Washington Nationals that were offering it.
That was last night and a lot has been said since then so here we go. I’m going to try to go through all of this in chronological order. There is a lot here so sorry if I mess something up, I’ll correct it.
At about 8:00am Joel Sherman of the NY Post reports that the Yankees will not go beyond a 6-year offer or exceed the $161 million that they offered CC Sabathia. He guesses that they’ll top out between $144-$150 million over six years.
At about 10:00am Heyman reports that teams are getting the understanding that contract length is the most important thing to Lee.
At about 10:00am Buster Olney of ESPN reports that there is speculation that the Nationals were going to offer Lee a “HUGE number”.
At about 11:00 Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News reports that the Nationals were going to offer Lee a 7-year deal, but that the Yankees were unwilling to go beyond six.
At about 11:00 Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that the Nationals supposed 7-year deal for Lee is “not happening”.
Later Kilgore reports that the Nationals shouldn’t be ruled out for Lee, but that they weren’t offering a 7-year deal.
Then Kilgore reports that he is hearing that there is nothing to the Nationals and Lee.
At about 12:25 Heyman reports that the Nationals were not looking at Lee and had their attention on other pitchers.
At about 12:30 Heyman reports that the Nationals are not in on Lee, but that a 7-year deal might be lurking out there.
At around 1:00pm Kilgore changes his story and now directly quotes Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker who said he and the Nationals are “maintaining a dialogue”.
At about 1:00pm Heyman reports that Lee has “at least one 7-year offer for $20-$25 million”, but it wasn’t from the Nationals and the Yankees were stopping at a 6-year deal.
At 2:09 Feinsand reports that a 7-year offer “won’t affect what we do.” They’ll offer six years.
At 2:17 Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the Yankees are frustrated with the slow pace of the Lee talks.
At 2:57 Jeter press conference over and Olney reports that the bidding process for Lee hasn’t even started yet. Yankees expected to open with six year bid.
Quick recap: So far there does seem to be a team that is willing to offer Lee 7-years, but nobody knows who it is. It’s not the Nationals and the Yankees seem to hold the line on a 6-year deal. The Rangers sound like they are banking on a shorter deal, maybe around 4-years, and more money. It is doubtful that they are the mystery team offering 7-years.