A lot of people are under the assumption that the New York Yankees will sign Cliff Lee. While it is certainly a possibility, I am not about to concede it. There are four major front runners in this I have heard; New York, Texas, Philadelphia, and Boston. I have stated before I believe Texas is the favorite right now. My reason being Nolan Ryan is completely committed to winning, and I think he will do whatever it takes to re-sign him. But as I said before about New York, that is not exactly set in stone. So, do the Red Sox really have a shot at him? And if so, will they pursue him?
When people see a big free agent name, they assume the Yankees will sign him because they have billions to spend. That is not always the exact truth. True, they went out on the shopping spree two seasons ago, but that was a more desperate team. The Yankees of 2010 were World Series contenders, and if they do not do another thing they still are.
However I can see the reasoning's they would sign him. Andy Pettitte might retire, and then the Yankees lose most pitching depth. They have CC Sabathia, and after that who else? Phil Hughes has good stuff, but he seems to wear down after about the fourth inning. AJ Burnett can have good seasons, but I would not want to have to rely on him. So, are the Yankees contenders for Lee?
Texas stole Lee from the Yankees, so that actually may be another reason the Yankees want him. Seattle ended up trading Lee to Texas for Justin Smoak and two lower level prospects. The Yankees were willing to trade Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, and Gary Sanchez. I did not understand why Seattle did not take that deal at the time and I still do not know.
Without Lee, the Rangers do not go to the World Series. They already had a very good team, but Lee pushed them over that edge with the presence of an ace. And Nolan Ryan has to love a guy like Lee. He wants his pitchers going deep into games, and that is what he got in Lee. That is one reason I think Texas will fight to keep the left handed ace.
But the Phillies are an older team, with Polonco, Ibanez, Ruiz, and Utley has been hurt. Rollins has been hurt. So then I realized they might want to go for it all next season. And what better than sign the top guy on the free agent market? The Phillies should kick the tires on this one- But I still do not know how committed they are to signing him.
We all thought the Red Sox had three aces this year. Turns out they had two, and one of them was not who we expected. I have been surprised every time I hear Lee is on the Red Sox radar. I would love to have him here, trust me, but I do not see Theo signing another pitcher long term, not after the Lackey and Beckett deals.
The Red Sox main focus this offseason will be Victor Martinez and Jayson Werth. Is Lee a possibility? Yes, with a market like Boston, every free agent is a possibility. But are they really serious about giving all they have to sign him? I doubt it.