Thursday, December 16, 2010

Insight into the Lee Negotiations

And you thought the Cliff Lee posts were done.  How foolish of you…

Earlier today, Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram shared some interesting information regarding the negotiations between Cliff Lee and the Rangers:

CEO Chuck Greenberg and general manager Jon Daniels said that the Rangers were at their limit last week when Lee was offered a six-year contract worth $138 million -- some of which was deferred -- and a vesting option for a seventh year that would have paid another $23 million.

Agent Darek Braunecker, though, told the Rangers that Lee would sign with them if they guaranteed seven years.

The Rangers passed, and Lee will sign a five-year, $120 million contact with the Philadelphia Phillies. "In this instance, it was simply a matter of us saying, 'yes,'" Greenberg said. "But it would have been a matter of us saying 'yes' on terms that we weren't comfortable with.

"This was not a matter of Cliff making a decision not to come to Texas. He was willing to remain a Ranger, but it was on terms that we felt went beyond the aggressive parameters within which we were already operating."

A seven-year deal for the Rangers would have been a heck of a ledge to be out on for Texas.

Wow.  I’m not sure how the Rangers were able to resist that kind of temptation, but they did.  Bruanecker told the Ranger front office exactly what it would take to retain Lee, and they chose to stand pat.  While it was probably one of the most difficult decisions they’ll ever make, it was absolutely the right one.  Yes, they lost out on Lee to the Phillies, but guaranteeing the seventh year would’ve crippled the club long-term.  Teams should never go beyond their comfort zone when signing a player.  When teams do go beyond their comfort zone, big mistakes tend to happen.

I think article’s biggest surprise is the Yankees appear to have finished a distant third in this race.  That’s kind of surprising considering how well Cashman handled these negotiations.   When was the last time the Yankees finished third for any free agent they openly coveted?  

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