Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lee's waiting game reminiscent of CC wait

The New York Yankees are waiting for Cliff Lee, the same way they once waited for CC Sabathia, who proved to be worth the wait by leading the Yankees to their first World Series title in nine years.

According to Brian Cashman, Sabathia hesitated to join the Yankees because he didn't want to play in a clubhouse where the players hated each other (during the Derek Jeter/Alex Rodriguez cold war). That shouldn’t be an issue for Lee as I’m sure his pal CC has given him reports about the clubhouse atmosphere in the Bronx. For Lee, the non-monetary factor seems to be the proximity of Texas to his Arkansas home.

Cashman ultimately sweetened the pot for CC with another year and several million more dollars to get him to the Bronx. But the longest offer to Lee, if the reports are accurate, is already quite generous and would put him on par with CC as the highest-paid pitcher in the game. If Lee is holding out for more cash than the seven-year, $160 million offer that’s on the table, then he's just a mercenary and the Yankees should let him walk.

Baseball people generally do see Lee as a mercenary and think he will sign with whichever team offers him the most money. I don’t believe that’s entirely true, but if the Yankees did believe that, they wouldn't be so nervous about him signing on the dotted line.

I have absolutely no problem if Lee and his family are seriously contemplating an offer from the Texas Rangers because of their surprising postseason run in 2010, the ability to shuttle himself and his family back and forth relatively easily and a belief that the Rangers will thrive under new owner Nolan Ryan and in a weak division that the Angels have lost their grip on.

Will Lee ultimately make the same choice his pal CC made two years ago? I hope so, to the exact same result: a quick, victorious return to the World Series.

Thanks to Red3biggs via Wikipedia for the photo.

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