No news overnight, but in the past day there’s been a bunch of interesting comments from national and New York writers that I thought might be worth sharing.
A big league executive told Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus: “The numbers have gotten to a point where Cliff Lee is a bad contract for either the Rangers or the Yankees.”
Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated notes that Chuck Greenberg “took an almost unprecedented step of calling a press conference call Thursday night to express optimism that Lee would still stay, but unless the Rangers up their offer yet again, just about everyone else in baseball will be surprised to see Lee remain with Texas.”
Newsday’s Ken Davidoff, in my opinion as reliable and unmelodramatic as any of the New York beat writers, paints a slightly different picture, at least in the halls of 1 E. 161st Street:
“When Yankees bigwigs huddled in early November, they brought in their own information, speculating how much Texas would bid on Lee and expressing confidence they could top it. They offered this one caveat: If Rangers money men Ray Davis and Bob Simpson dipped into their own pockets to fund the agreement, all bets were off.
“Well, Davis accompanied Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg and assistant general manager Thad Levine to Lee’s home Thursday. If Davis isn’t reaching into his reserves, he’s at least presenting the appearance that he might be.
* * *
“I can’t remember ever sensing this mood with the Yankees. They’ve raised the stakes so much on every season now, what with their new ballpark and the accompanying prices, that this Lee pursuit feels like it’s do-or-die.
“I still think this ends with Lee agreeing to join the Yankees. But if Lee does choose Texas, it’ll be fascinating to see what plan the Yankees design to recover.
* * *
“The Yankees have nowhere else to turn, and Lee does. There is tension in the Bronx. Very shortly, it will change to either relief or full-blown panic.”
But this one might be my favorite, from outspoken Yankees Senior VP Hank Steinbrenner, as told to the Associated Press regarding Lee and shared by Mark Feinsand (New York Daily News):
“For somebody of that stature, it would certainly behoove him to be a Yankee.”
A couple thoughts:
1. Behoove? Really?
2. It’s that exact mindset, that attitude, that turbo-off-putting self-importance, that makes me hunger for that organization’s failure.
Feinsand adds: “As Lee drags the process into the weekend despite the Yankees’ robust offer, the feeling among industry sources is that the lefty might be pondering a return to Texas for less money. ‘If it was all about the money, he wouldn’t have much of a decision to make,’ one source said.”
I can’t wait until this ends. Like most others have said, both possible outcomes have a strange win-win (and lose-lose) feeling to them, as crazy as the winning proposal will end up being, but I’m ready for an announcement, one way or the other.
And I’ve got to admit, as juvenile as it might be, at this point one peripheral reason I’m hoping this ends up with Lee staying in Texas is just to see how Hank Steinbrenner and some of the beat writers and columnists in that market react.