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Sabtu, 11 Desember 2010

Rangers Take Their Offer To Lee, But Can They Top The Yankees? – USA Today

Rangers take their offer to Cliff Lee, but can they top the Yankees?

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — And the happiest place on earth — for one very talented pitcher, at least — is about to move west.
Cliff Lee made it through the night unsigned — unlike Carl Crawford — and with the Winter Meetings wrapped up, the center of the baseball universe moves from Walt Disney World to Little Rock.

That’s where Lee lives and that’s where the Texas Rangers are headed — their third visit in the wooing of the pitcher they don’t want to let get away. Owner Chuck Greenberg heads this delegation to Lee and agent Darek Braunecker. Just as important is the message they carry: Is it seven years? Is it six with a higher dollar amount?

Bottom line, so to speak: Does it match up with what the Yankees have offered?

Yankees GM Brian Cashman said this morning that Lee knows what that offer is and there’s currently no need to visit, but also made clear he’d go to Arkansas, “if necessary.”

Getting Lee might have become more necessary for the Yankees in light of Crawford’s late-night, seven-year deal with Boston. With Crawford and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez locked up by their arch-rival, the Yankees have nowhere else to turn for a quantum leap in the talent level on their roster.

“I don’t think you can increase (the Yankees’ interest) any more,” Cashman said. “We have significant interest in Cliff Lee.”

What the Yankees can do increase is their offer, always the impending hammer for the game’s richest franchise. No matter how strongly the Rangers, especially Greenberg, profess their willingness to be big-time economic players, everyone has a limit.

That limit for Texas might be closer than a Lee decision, though the two are interconnected.

“We have to be concerned,” Rangers co-owner Nolan Ryan said this morning on ESPN Radio. “Seven years for any contract is really stretching it out. I don’t know how you predict how anyone is performing six or seven years from now. Everything has a ceiling. … And it doesn’t make economic sense after a certain threshold.”

By Paul White

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