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Yankees wait on Cliff Lee, Mets finalize staff

Cliff Lee

Cliff Lee Photo Credit: Getty Images

Cliff Lee had yet to make a decision as of late yesterday on where he’ll pitch next season, but that hasn’t stopped Yankees general manager Brian Cashman from pushing his agenda to the 32-year-old ace’s camp.

Cashman has spoken to the Rangers left-hander’s agent since Thursday, according to The New York Post, but only to tell him that the Yankees will not sweeten their already diabetic seven-year offer reportedly for up $160 million.

It is believed the true decision for Lee lies between the Yankees and the Rangers, despite a bit of mid-week gamesmanship from the Red Sox. Just before Boston signed the Yankees’ other major free-agent target, Carl Crawford, Boston made a cursory seven-year offer  to Cliff Lee for some $20 million less.

Texas manager Ron Washington told the Dallas Morning News that, in his gut, he believes Lee will take slightly less money and stay with the Rangers. If that happens, the Yankees may possibly have to dangle star catching prospect Jesus Montero in front of Seattle to acquire Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez. Such a trade would be easier if the Yankees pick up free-agent catcher Russell Martin, as they were reportedly close to doing yesterday.

One way or the other, the Yankees feel they must come away with at least one elite starting pitcher. But the longer Lee delays, the better it is believed it looks for Texas.

The Mets, meanwhile, remain quiet after signing budget-friendly reliever D.J. Carrasco and catcher Ronny Paulino at last week’s Winter Meetings.

New general manager Sandy Alderson had expected to devote some of his offseason to watching those Mets playing in the winter leagues. But he said he’ll wait until spring training to  deal with left-hander Oliver Perez, who is currently struggling in the Mexican League.

The Mets did finalize new manager Terry Collins’ coaching staff, adding managerial candidate Ken Oberkfell as bench coach, former fan favorite Mookie Wilson (right) as first base coach, Dave Hudgens as hitting coach and Jon Debus as bullpen coach.

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