Report: No Cliff Lee for Yankees
When I last wrote about Cliff Lee, it was in response to Peter Gammons’ claim on WIP in Philadelphia that there was a “possibility” the Yankees would trade for the veteran left-hander.
During the middle of this month the Phillies were on that precipice of either buying or selling at the July 31 trade deadline. That non-waiver deadline is fast approaching and the 45-57 Phillies are clear sellers. A team that’s made the playoffs every year since 2007, winning the World Series in ’08 and the NL pennant in ’09, is a season-high 16.5 games out of first place in the NL East, and 12.5 out of the Wild Card spot.
The Phillies’ standing has fueled speculation that players including Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, Joe Blanton and Lee are on the block with parties qualifying interest within these next 24 hours. The Rangers were considered a leading candidate to bring Lee back to the city where he pitched in 2010 – he was nearly a Yankee before Texas sweetened its pot to the Mariners’ satisfaction – before ESPN.com reported that Philly’s asking price is prohibitive.
Signed to a five-year, $120 million deal with the Phillies after the ’10 season, Lee is currently 1-6 with a 3.95 ERA. To be fair, the Phils have averaged 4.94 runs of support in Lee’s 17 starts, second-lowest in the NL, but Lee has thrown his share of stinkers. His June ERA was 6.12 and in his last start on July 24 surrendered four solo home runs against the Brewers. Lee also turns 34 next month, and has three years and $75 million left on his contract after 2012 with a vesting player option for 2016 worth $27.5 million.
When I conducted this survey, the majority of Yankees fans were overwhelmingly against seeing Lee in pinstripes due to age, performance or sour grapes over him turning down the Big Apple for the City of Brotherly Love. There are others, however, who subscribe to the philosophies of 1) You can never have enough pitching and 2) It’s Cliff Lee!
My stance has always been that Lee wouldn’t end up in the Bronx, which was confirmed (at least for now) by this ESPN New York report. He’s better than his record indicates, but the Yankees weren’t going to take on that contract or surrender any top prospects for the left-hander, especially having to make room in the books for Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson by 2014.
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