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Yanks Continue to Discuss Going After Cliff Lee



By Frank Russo ~ June 4th, 2010. Filed under: New York Yankees.

We were told by our main Yankees source down in Tampa on Thursday that the Yankees have been having internal discussions in regards to trading for the Mariners Cliff Lee. As we have reported numerous times over the past year, the Yankees have long had an interest in Lee, and actually tried to acquire him “several times” over the past two years. Trade talks, both with Cleveland and Philadelphia, never panned out due to the fact that both franchises wanted demanded that Brian Cashman “overpay” for the former Cy Young Award winner.

So why are the Yankees thinking about making a move for Lee now? We were told that there are many in the Yankees organization that feel it would be better to trade for Lee now and try to convince him to sign an extension. The Yankees would save money by not having to bid on Lee on the open market, where they would have to go up against other teams, (possibly the RSN or Anaheim) to acquire his services.

So would Lee change his mind and consider signing a contract extension if he were traded to the Bronx? Our source told us that the answer is a definite “yes” especially since he would be reunited with his best friend CC Sabathia. “They’ve been planning in a reunion since the time C.C. was traded, and what better place to have a reunion than in the Bronx.”

Our source also told us that the Mariners would be most demand one of the Yankees prize catching prospects to be included in any deal for Lee. We were told that the Yankees have no intention of trading Austin Romine at this time. This leaves either Jesus Montero or Brandon Laird as New York’s primary trading chips.

Also, I wanted to address age issues regarding Lee and a long term contract. Our source told us that Yankees management “is not worried at all” about Lee’s age, (he’ll turn 33 on August 30), and believe that acquiring him would be the final piece to having the most dominating starting staff in all of baseball.

Passing Thoughts

I tried to warn anyone who would listen to me this past off-season that the signing of Randy Winn was a huge mistake. In fact, many posters to this website, especially members of the advanced metrics community, went out of their way to tell me that I didn’t know what I was talking about in regards to Winn, even though my information came directly from a good friend who just so happens to be a front office executive with the San Francisco Giants. My friend warned me that the Winn signing was a “very bad move” because, in his opinion, he was almost “done as a player.” It was the main reason why the Giants, a team starved for offense, didn’t bother to resign him this past winter. If you remember, this is the same executive who opined that Nick Johnson was “about as sturdy as a cupcake” and “could hurt himself going to the bathroom.”

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Frank is a resident of East Brunswick, NJ and former radio announcer. He is a 4th generation Republican and Yankees Fan. He also enjoys listening to talk radio. His favorite announcer is Shawn Hannity of “Hannity” on FOX and enjoys reading about military history. In addition to rooting for the Yankees, he also has a passion for the New York Islanders. You can enjoy Frank’s work at The Dead Ball Era and his book “Bury My Heart at Cooperstown”. Check out his “Rants and Raves” on New York Baseball Digest.

9 Responses to Yanks Continue to Discuss Going After Cliff Lee

  1. Joe from NC

    Weren’t the SF Giants the ones who were in the Johnson sweepstakes? …

    Giants, Mariners join Johnson chase — 12:13 p.m.

    “While the Yankees remain interested in Nick Johnson, the Giants have increased their offer and the Mariners remain in the mix, according to a major-league source.

    Johnson, as reported by the New York Post, is discussing a one-year contract with the Yankees. The Giants, too, are offering one year, but have raised their offer to the $5.5 million to $6 million range, the source said. ”

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/121409-Latest-MLB-buzz

  2. Frank Russo

    Joe,

    My friend told me that, yes, they were interested in Johnson, but he himself was not in favor of it due to Johnson’s injury history.

  3. Dermot

    Bobby (New York)

    Jayson, what are the chances Cashman goes against his grain of the last few years and offer up Montero for Lee? Or do they try and grab Carmona from Cleveland? I know the rotation has been soild in the front 4 and Vasquez has come on lately, but you never know what happens between now and July.
    Jayson Stark (1:19 PM)

    No chance. The Yankees will be all over Cliff Lee when he gets out there into free agency. But they’re not planning to deal for a starting pitcher unless some major injury changes their plans, from what I’m hearing.

  4. Dermot

    I personally kinda doubt they’ll do it, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if they made the move. I’d give it a 25% likelihood imo.

  5. Howard Megdal

    “I tried to warn anyone who would listen to me this past off-season that the signing of Randy Winn was a huge mistake. In fact, many posters to this website, especially members of the advanced metrics community, went out of their way to tell me that I didn’t know what I was talking about in regards to Winn, even though my information came directly from a good friend who just so happens to be a front office executive with the San Francisco Giants.”

    Frank, what advanced metrics did anyone point to? Winn was a corner outfielder with an OPS+ of 75 last year. No one I know, sabermetrically, made a case for signing Winn. Do you have a link to someone who did in response to one of your pieces?

  6. Frank Russo

    Howard,

    I should have clarified, I should have said that the majority of posative feedback that I recieved in regarding the Winn signing reached me via email, and I do know that a lot of advanced matricians liked ths Winn signing because they felt that he was better defensively than Damon. I’ll try to look for some links.

  7. Mike Silva

    I also remember talking about it on Twitter the whole runs saved concept.

    Fact of the matter is Winn couldn’t hit anymore and, despite the UZR ranking, he was less than impressive in the field (positioning cost them in the Boston game).

    Kevin Russo seems to have a livelier bat and can play multiple positions. Winn is valuable in name only as there are plenty others that could serve the same purpose (Dwayne Wise??)

  8. Mike Silva

    Dermot

    Check out Joel Sherman’s piece from earlier in the week

    http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/yankees/yankees_likely_will_make_c4N3HmHxrlnrvWgHP0tzlI

    Yes, the likely scenario is they wait till the offseason, but as Sherman points out Vazquez could change things. Also, as Frank points out, it may be cheaper to trade for him now and sign him before he even hits free agency. Don’t give him a chance to be rented by another team and fall in love with that city.

    We have been on this Clifff Lee thing since December and I feel confident on this information that Lee to the Yanks has a lot of smoke and fire.

  9. Howard Megdal

    Mike, I’m just surprised anyone was making the claim that a corner OF with a 75 OPS+ was valuable, no matter the defense (and he isn’t Franklin Gutierrez of RF/LF or anything). That really happened?

    As usual, NoMass.org was correct, incidentally.

    http://nomaas.org/2010/05/randy-winn-bad-idea-from-the-start/

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