Movement at Winter Meetings: Cliff Lee Edition

The Yankees number one priority Cliff Lee has many other teams intrigued. Among the teams who have been reported to have interest are of course the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers along with the LosAngelas Angels of Anaheim, Philliadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals. This is how the teams stand currently:

Yankees: The Yankees are the favorites to land Lee, they are believed to have the ability to outbit any competitor and he is their number one target. Yet the Yankees have already set guidlines. They Yankees according to many sources, do not want to offer a contract for more that six years guaranteed. Joel Sherman of the New York Post speculates they will offer him a contract for six years that tops out around $144-$150 million. According to many sources, Brian Cashman is waiting for the go ahead to get in serious negotiations with Lee, and have a very lucrative offer they are set to present him with.
Texas Rangers: Cliff Lee always wants to be on a team that he can be succesful on. He carried the Texas Rangers into the 2010 playoffs similarly to how he carried the 2009 N.L. champion Phillies, just to fall short once again. The Rangers want Lee back desperately, and Nolan Ryan according to many sources is more confidant this week than he was last week that Lee will resign. As of yesterday the Rangers were only willing to offer a four year contract, they will have to up that if they want to be in the running for Lee.

L.A. Angels: The Angels are very interested in Cliff Lee, but as of now it seems as though the price is too high. They would have to be the team to offer seven years to Lee, to be in the running for him. Though today, Angels G.M. Tony Reagins denied they were the team rumored to have already offered Lee a seven year deal.

Philladelphia Phillies: The Phillies had Lee for their 2009 playoff run in which he went unbeaten, defeating the Yankees twice in the World Series. The Phillies aquired RHP Roy Halladay via the free agent market, and realized that Cliff Lee would be a free agent after the 2010 season, so they might as well get some prospects back now, especially while his value was what they presumed at his peak. Phillies G.M. Ruben Amaro Jr. has since admitted his mistake, as having a 1-2 punch of Halladay and Lee, even if it was to be for just one season, could have made the difference in the playoffs. Now, the Phillies should be interested!

Washington Nationals: General Manager Mike Rizzo has created quite a stir in the last two seasons. It all started in 2009 when the Nationals were given the first pick in the Amateur Draft, in which they selected flamethrowing RHP Steven Strausburg from San Diego State University. Although ending his season on the D.L. and undergoing Tommy John surgery, which will force him to miss the entire 2011 season, Strausburg definately caught some attention, striking out many and walking few, dominating the National League. Then in 2010, the Nationals were once again given the first pick, and they chose Bryce Harper, who, as proclaimed by Sports Illustrated, is going to be “baseballs LeBron.” Then Rizzo made the biggest splash thus far in the freeagent market by inking Left Fielder Jason Werth to a 7 year $126 million dollar contract. Many dont belive the Nationals are serious players, even Rizzo acknowledges its a long shot, but he met with Lee’s agent Branueker for the second time this week, and there is a growing skepticism around Major League executives that the Nationals are ready to shell out another huge contract.

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