So. Reports indicate that the Yankees have offered Cliff Lee a 6 year deal worth $140-150 million. Brian Cashman has confirmed an offer has been made, but gave no details about terms. Discussions are expected to continue after the Winter Meetings (which end tomorrow), but it sounds like this situation will resolve itself in the next week to ten days.
We are at what we can colloquially call nut-cutting time. The Rangers have made it clear they want Lee back, and seemingly are willing to do at least $20 million per year. They supposedly don't want to go more than four years, but are willing to go five years.
I think the Rangers had to come into this knowing that, to sign Lee, it was probably going to take a six year deal, and you just had to hope the Yankees weren't willing to go seven years. I also think the Rangers had to come into this knowing that C.C. Sabathia got $23 million per year from the Yankees, and that Lee and his agent were probably going to use that as their benchmark for annual salary.
So...6 years at $23 million gets us to a $138 million package. You can include a $2 million signing bonus or something, if you want, to get it to $140 million, a nice round number. And there's got to be a no-trade clause.
I think if the Rangers want to sign Lee, that's what they are going to have to do. I think that less than that isn't going to get it done. And I think that the Yankees are going to be reluctant to go much more than $23 million per year, given that C.C. Sabathia has an opt-out clause in his contract, and if Lee gets $25 million per year, Sabathia is going to say, I'm going to exercise that opt-out clause and you need to at least match that.
That said, maybe the Yankees do. Maybe they go 6 years, $150 million, which is $25 million per year.
And if they do, I think the Rangers have to say, okay, Cliff, it is your call. $10 million more if you go to New York -- which isn't an insubstantial sum, but one which is going to be more than eaten away by taxes and cost of living issues up there.
Or you can stay here, be close to home, be in a more comfortable environment, and finish what we started in 2010.