Those big, bad Yankees fans that hassled Cliff Lee’s wife during the playoffs apparently haven’t put off the free agent left-hander to any great extent. The 32-year-old’s agent, Darek Braunecker, was more than happy to take the Yankees’ call on the first day of free agency Sunday.
Of course, Braunecker also reportedly accepted feelers from the Rangers, Nationals, Phillies, Brewers, Cubs, and Angels, all of which indicated that a quick-strike offer like the 2008 offseason’s seven-year, $161 million whopper that landed CC Sabathia would not work this year. Lee, who could well end up back on the AL champion Texas Rangers’ roster, reportedly wants six years at $23 million per.
Lee probably won’t make his decision until early December at the winter meetings. But with so many teams interested, the Yanks will probably have to pony up even more than they gave Sabathia to land the playoff ace only the World Series champion San Francisco Giants proved was less than invincible. The Yankees task will be tough, especially with the Rangers' checkbook at the ready, and with steady reminders of how New Yorkers hooted down Lee's wife.