It's hard to forget how badly the Yankees want Cliff Lee. They thought they had reached a deal to bring the southpaw ace to the Bronx by sending Jesus Montero to Seattle. Then the Mariners used that offer to leverage more prospects from the Rangers. He certainly looked like he was worth the best prospect from every farm system last night.
While Lord Duggan has made a compelling case against sinking too many dollars over too many years into a 32 year old left hander (even the Yankees' assets have limits), the front office may see Lee as the can't miss piece.
The Yankees, meanwhile, must decide how much to pay their iconic free agents,and . They will shed , who makes $11.5 million, and ($5.75 million), and will have their annual will-he-stay-or-will-he-go discussion with ($11.75 million)
I think the Yankees will go after Lee. Arod's salary begins declining next season, several multimillion dollar role players (Nick Johnson, Randy Winn) come off the books, the bullpen is home grown and looks to stay that way for a long time. There are prospects in the minors ready to fill the backup positions, and in the case of Montero and Romine, ready to take over for an aging superstar.
I think trying to sign Lee should be offseason priority #2 (after resigning Jeter and Rivera), but first the Yankees have to find a way to beat him.
On the topic of pitchers for too many dollars over too many years: AJ Burnett has a plan to get his mojo back:
Burnett last watched video from that 3-1 victory over Philadelphia a few months ago, but he will be holding another viewing party in the coming days. After a season loaded with poor starts, Burnett wants to remember how he felt in the good ones — the best one — as he prepares to rejoin the’ rotation for the American League Championship Series against Texas after sitting out the division series.
I'm opposed to giving Burnett a start at all, because the Yankees can get through the ALCS using Sabathia, Pettitte and Hughes on short rest. At least, I'd use Sabathia on short rest in Game 4, Burnett in Game 5, Pettitte in Game 6 and Sabathia in Game 7, with Hughes in the bullpen.
But I don't get to make the call. I just have to hope AJ finds what he's looking for in the video tape.
I love baseball history, so I love the fact that modern interest in the game is so high, that every play is recorded, tagged and archived for future enjoyment. Throughout the early years of television, so many of the great moments in baseball were limited to an 8 second highlight reel- think how many times you've seen the same footage of Bobby Thomson's Shot Heard Round the World (the swing and the drive, cut to male fans standing to applauding, cut to female fans waving furiously, Thomson leaps into the scrum around home plate as Russ Hodges screams "They're going crazy!"
Hopefully, the archive won't get buried under an avalanche of red tape and property rights- those games belong to the fans, and after a few years, we should be able to explore the archive and watch some of the great baseball moments we've missed.