Yankees Were Simply Outbid for Cliff Lee

After it was announced that Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies and not the Yankees all we heard was about the supposedly $50 million he left on the table. But now that the smoke has cleared it appears that’s not how it went down.

The Yankees were simply outbid.

The Yankees offered Lee a six-year deal worth $22 million a year plus a $16 million player option. $22M x 6 = $132M + $16M = $148M or $21M/per.

The Rangers offered Lee a six-year deal worth a total of $138 million with a lot of deferred money. Details are not 100 percent clear, but that is essentially $23M/per.

The Phillies offered Lee a five-year deal worth $120 million with an option. The $120 million includes a $12.5 million buyout so it’s technically worth $107.5 million. The option though is worth $27.5 million and if Lee is healthy should vest easily. That brings the deal to $135 million over six years. Assuming that option vests it is worth $22.5M/per. Even if the option doesn’t vest he still earns $24M/per.

Technically the Yankees offered the most guaranteed dollars and most amount of years, but because their deal was a seven-year offer it actually brings the average annual value down. Both the Phillies and the Rangers deals represented higher AAV’s.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.

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6 Responses to Yankees Were Simply Outbid for Cliff Lee

  1. Brian Burkhart says:

    You can't just look at the AAV though, because by the time a 6 year deal expires, there is little chance Lee will be able to pull down an AAV close to that.

    Phillies were in the ballpark though and to be honest, that's what any Yankee fan should want – Lee still isn't signing cheap and his contract will almost surely be pretty bad in a few years.

    The Yanks could use Lee but the silver lining is they really didn't need another enormous contract like that.

    • Mike S. says:

      Not sure about "just looking at the AAV." After all, isn't the luxury tax based on the AAV? That could say and mean a lot. I could be wrong there, and correct me if I am, but I'm wondering about that AAV vs. luxury tax situation.

      • Yes the luxury tax is based off the aav.

        • Mike S. says:

          Therefore the Yanks could have been looking at that AAV/ luxury tax situation in making their offer and structuring the contract accordingly. Just saying and don't know what difference it made in the negotiations. If Lee's heart was fixed on Philly from the beginning, any offer Philly makes that was going to be close to the Yanks or Texas offers was going to bring him back to Philly.

  2. Lee's health is important because if he gets that option, and he should, the Yankees deal is only $13 million more guaranteed. He could potentially earn that in 2017 if he's healthy.

  3. TC says:

    Well, it's a little confusing, but without getting bogged down in the details it seems to me that Lee wanted to go to Philly so even if the numbers were close, let alone HIGHER in Philly, he was gonna go there.

    I think Lee and Halladay have both already seen there best moments, while our Phil Hughes is ascending and AJ might just make a comeback. I'm not so bothered by all this.

    I do, however, wish Santa would bring us Greinke!

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