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Five Reasons Why the Yanks Will Sign Cliff Lee

By Frank Russo ~ October 25th, 2010. Filed under: New York Yankees.

There has been a lot of talk lately regarding the Rangers, (now World Series bound) and their chances of resigning Cliff Lee. While Lee to the Bronx is not a given, (nothing in life is), New York is still the odds on favorites to sign the lefty ace in the off-season for several reasons. Here now are my top 5 reasons why Cliff Lee will sign with the Yankees this winter.

Reason 1. The Money

Yes, Texas has new found resources from its new cable contract with FOX Sports Southwest, with reports having them receiving $3 billion over 20 years. While that’s a huge deal, it still does not surpass the revenue of the YES network. To quote an American League executive I spoke to recently, ”If the Rangers think they can beat the Yankees in a bidding war, they have another thing coming. Yes, Texas has no state tax, but Brian can offer a deal that can supersede anything that Texas offers and also make the state tax thing a non-issue.” Also, Lee can make more money in endorsements in New York than he could ever hope to in Texas, despite the economy.”

I spoke with my main Yankees source down in Tampa on Saturday who told me the following. “You can take this to the bank, unless something drastically changes, Brian will offer Cliffy a deal between $25 and $35 million a year. It’ll probably be a 5 year deal, which means he and CC will be pitching together for the length of their contracts. They’re not, I repeat, not, going to be outbid for the guy, period.”

Reason 2.  Revenge

The Yankees are still incredibly ticked off for the way Mariners GM Jack “Lex Luthor” Zduriencik played them back in July. A good friend of mine, an executive with an NL West team told me the following. “Zduriencik acted completely unprofessional when it came to dealing with the Yankees, but what do you expect. This is the same guy who asked for Austin Jackson for Jarrod Washburn two seasons ago. “Brian is a great guy. He’s honest and a straight shooter. No one should be treated like that. The Yankees have long memories, and now that Lee helped knock them out of the playoffs, I think it will just give them added incentive to sign him, not that they needed any.

Reason 3. The CC Factor

As I have been reporting here for the past year, Lee and CC Sabathia are best friends. They have been looking forward to pitching together again since the day CC was traded from Cleveland in 2008. When the rumors started flying of a possible trade to New York, Lee’s wife Kristen, and Sabathia’s wife, Amber, began looking at rental properties in Westchester. Apparently, that process hasn’t stopped, I spoke to a realtor this past week who confirmed for me that, yes, Kristen Lee has been “eyeing houses” in Westchester County. ”Everyone knows that CC and Cliffy are best friends.” a source told me. “CC is going to be in constant contact with him after the season is over, and will do everything in his power to convince him to sign with the Yankees.”

Reason 4. Tradition

Yankee Haters are not going to like this, but, it’s a fact that New York’s tradition of winning (40 pennants and 27 Championships) and also their commitment to excellence does play a part in free agents signing with them. As one AL executive told me recently, “Cliff has long been intrigued at the thought of playing for the Yankees and their rich tradition. Yeah, the Rangers have an icon in Nolan Ryan, but the Yankees are the franchise when it comes to tradition. “Lee is well aware of who Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio are, and understands what it would means to don the pinstripes.”

Number 5. Learning from his mistakes

As we speak, Brian Cashman is preparing to address his team’s issues. Other than resigning his own free agents, Cash will be looking to upgrade the starting pitching, which is in dire need of help. Unlike last year, when Cashman made the mistake of trading for the mediocre Javy Vazquez, he will now look to rectify the situation and bring in the best possible free agent pitcher possible to supplement his starting rotation. That pitcher, of course, is Cliff Lee.

Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker had made it known to the Rangers that his client has every intention of testing the free agent waters. This is not speculation, it’s a fact. Lee has worked too hard and waited a long time for one huge pay day. To quote one AL executive, “I think it would behoove Cliff to go out there and see what teams have to offer. If it’s about going to the highest bidder and the team that wants to win the most, then I think he’ll be signing with the Yankees.”

So there you have my top 5 reason why I feel Cliff Lee will sign with the Yankees. As I have already stated, things could change, and the Yankees could conceivably drop out of the “Lee Sweepstakes,” or be outbid, but something tells me that this off season is going to look eerily similar to two winters ago, and we all know what happened then.

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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.

17 Responses to Five Reasons Why the Yanks Will Sign Cliff Lee

  1. Stu B

    “The Yankees are still incredibly ticked off for the way Mariners GM Jack “Lex Luthor” Zduriencik played them back in July.”

    Aww. The poor spoiled child didn’t get everything his way. BTW, it’s “completely unprofessional” to whine about such perceived slights. Get over it and yourselves, Yankees!

  2. gene

    Nice post ! Stu must be a Pirates fan.

  3. Stu B

    I’m not, Gene, but one of my best friends is…and it’s still unprofessional to whine, especially for the corporate, super-professional Yankees…

  4. Mike

    I’m sick of this. Seriously Yankees? Can’t handle some freaking competition, so you’ve got to throw money around until teams can’t beat you?

    What a bunch of ass-hats.

  5. Matty t

    It’s also unprofessional to agree to a trade then change your mind literally at the last minute

  6. Frank Russo


    Your wrong about this. Practically every GM agrees with the Yankees that the Mariners acted unorofessionally. That’s a fact. BTW, didn’t you once call the Yankees the “Reich”?

  7. timb

    Frank, outside of the Yankees refusal to call for genocide, what separates them from being a reich?

    they attempt to bully and manipulate the week and destroy competitive balance in baseball. It’s amazing that every two years their pitching sucks so much that they have to go out and drop 100 million on the best free agent on the market. Perhaps, if they kept one of their first round picks, they could draft an ace?

  8. Frank Russo


    My opinion is that compairing a sports franchise with the Nazi Third Reich is wrong, unfair, insensitive, and a slap in the face of the soldiers who fought the Nazi’s in World War 2. I wouldn’t compare any sports franchise, including those I openly root against, like the Red Sox, with the Nazi’s, Al Queda, The Taliban, Fascists, or any other group that this country has gone to war against. I think it’s wrong and in poor taste to use that terminoligy.

    You said that “outside of the Yankees refusal to call for genocide, what separates them from being a reich?”

    The Yankees are not just a baseball franchise, they are also a business. The Steinbrenner brothers, who just like their late father, have been called Nazis, (even though they are half Irish) always try to do what’s best for their franchise and their fans, plain and simple. if that’s being bullies, then I’m sure that most Yankee fans will take that everytime.

  9. Stu B

    Actually, Frank, I believe it was NY Post cartoonist Bill Gallo who evoked the reich image by lampooning George S as “General von Steingrabber” back in the 1970s. While I agree that it’s wrong to compare a sports franchise to a terrorist or totalitarian political regime, it is a funny and somewhat fitting image.

    And however the Seattle GM acted, it’s still highly unprofessional for the Yankees to whine about it. They’ll have the same opportunity to sign him after the World Series that they would have had they made the deal in July and let him reach free agency.

  10. Stu B

    Whining about that just reeks of entitlement…

  11. Frank Russo


    Actually, I saw an interview with Mr. Gallo and he mentioned that the Von Steingrabber cartoon reference for George was ab a homage to Kaisewr Wilhelm, not the Nazis. It doesn’t matter. I still like your posts!

  12. Stu B

    Nothing like a little semi-intelligent baseball talk as the offseason approacheth! I had the good fortune to know Bart Giamatti while I was in grad school – he left to become NL president the year I graduated…I love what he wrote in his Green Fields of the Mind, “It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.”

    I think nobody has better expressed that…

  13. gene


    I guess I missed the whining by the Yankees. Would you be good enough to print the quotes made by people in the Yankee organization and next to the quote the name of the Yankee official who made that quote ?

  14. Stu B

    “The Yankees are still incredibly ticked off for the way Mariners GM Jack “Lex Luthor” Zduriencik played them back in July.”

    I was simply referring to this quote…

  15. Dave L

    Wait a second…so the Cleveland Indians can’t afford to keep one of their Cy Young Award winners, but the Yankees can pay for both? Someone tell me again why anyone should watch baseball?

  16. jeff

    Yankee fans are so ignorant. You bought CC, Burnett, A-Fraud, Swisher, and Texiera. Your best 3 players played for small teams and then you bought them in their prime. You live in the biggest market in the US and have more money then everybody, you should win every year because every single season they have as much talent as money can buy.

  17. Frank Russo


    You said the following. “You bought CC, Burnett, A-Fraud, Swisher, and Texiera. Your best 3 players played for small teams and then you bought them in their prime.”

    Actually your wrong about ARod and Swisher. The Yankees traded Alphonso Soriano for ARod and traded Wilson Betemit for Nick Swisher.

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